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7/25/2004

Bush's Black Outreach: Threats and Bluster

Glenn Reynolds summarizes Bush's speech at the Urban League: "Bush poses questions for black voters." Glenn lists eight reasons for black voters to support Bush.

Does the Democrat party take African American voters for granted?

Yes, perhaps the Democratic Party does. The Democratic Party doesn't work hard enough for the interests of the black community (the F9/11 opening scene comes to mind - when no Senator would sign off on the CBC vote challenges). But at least it isn't working against them.

Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party?

So Bush is admitting that he doesn't represent the African American community? Seriously, this reads like a threat: we'll keep fucking you if you don't start voting for us. He may want to consider approaching things the other way around.

This is standard operating procedure for Republicans though. They will punish businesses and lobbyists that support both parties, they will punish states and cities that are too liberal. They don't represent the American people, they represent the interest groups that vote for them.

Seriously, can anyone imagine Kerry blackballing the Chamber of Commerce? Even after the Chamber came out solidly for Bush?

How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete?

See above. The black community needs political leverage to stop the Republican agenda.

Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community?

Some of them, yes. Regardless, the Democratic party has more than just "traditional" solutions - Clinton had anything but a "traditional" agenda for things like urban policy. And regardless, the "traditional" solutions are certainly better than the Republican solutions - tax cuts for the rich.

Does blocking the faith-based initiative help neighborhoods where the only social service provider could be a church?

This is perhaps the most galling argument. Faith Based Initiatives was never anything more than a political ploy and an effort to subsidize Republican party-building efforts. Former Bush administration official John DiIulio famously coined the "Mayberry Machiavelli" moniker in talking about the policy - Bush was using it to get votes, not to make good policy. In light of Bush's crass politicization of churches and religious organizations, his motives are even more suspect.

If working with churches is an effective way to implement good social policy, then by all means lets do it. Three things to keep in mind, though: 1. We need to make sure the services are available to all, regardless of faith or creed; 2. We need to preserve the integrity of religious institutions, including their tax exempt status; 3. We need to make sure that the policies are well designed, good uses of political and fiscal resources.

Does the status quo in education really, really help the children of this country?

The real question is if the pre-Bush status quo was better than the post-Bush, post NCLB era. For the amount of money we are wasting on silly testing and worse bureaucracy, so many missed opportunities. And the idea that vouchers are a solution, rather than another effort to divert money to Republican party building is a joke.

Does class warfare -- has class warfare or higher taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city?

Lower taxes for the rich obviously haven't helped. Clinton oversaw unprecedented revitalization of central cities, much of it represented in the controversial, but undeniably dynamic, new urbanism. I don't think the rich's war on the poor has helped the central cities much.

Are you satisfied with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness to the problem of the family?

Perhaps he's referring to gay marriage here? Seriously, what the hell has he done on crime or drugs? Democrats at least feign interest in the mattter.

Update 3:21pm EST: Bird Dog, the dim bulb at Tacitus, expands on the Bush arguments. So when did it become acceptable for someone to support another candidate solely because of a religious affiliation? Religiosity is certainly no guarantee of good policy or good politics - some of the most abominable groups in American history have been (and are) based on bastardized Christianity.

The commenter Thelonius responds well to Bird Dog's post. The guy actually thinks it is a good argument (to say nothing of a moral argument) that social security discriminates against blacks because black people die sooner. Any person with a basic sense of decency, a functioning moral compass, would try to reduce the life expectancy gap - not propose privatizing social security.

Republican policies may be "intended" to benefit all Americans. But they haven't, and they won't. Republicans think being trickled on is a benefit, but it makes most people want to take a shower.

 

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