CommunityPam's House Blend

Ken-babe reaches out to the black folks



Getting on the GOP gravy train with Ken: Harry Alford, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and John Harmon, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce.

This is embarrassing — such an shameless attempt to shave off black votes. I have no faith that the GOP is sincere about any of this; I am certain, however, that the Democrats are going to see those votes shave off — part of Mehlman’s argument has merit. Unfortunately his party is still full of too much bigotry to stand a bum rush of Negroes to the table. [See the redneck post and comments from yesterday.]

I’m waiting for Ken to show up to speak to a gay audience. That would be priceless. (The Trentonian):

Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman said his party must do a better job of reaching the black community in a speech to African-American business leaders in Trenton last night.

I say humbly as a white man that I believe the African-American community is not well-served if one party takes you for granted and the other doesn’t go far enough in reaching out,” he said. In an exclusive interview with The Trentonian before his speech, Mehlman said the Republican party has learned from lackluster minority turnout in the past several elections that it needs more dialogue with the largely Democratic black population.

“I think a lot of folks in the African-American community recognize sometimes the Democratic party doesn’t always represent their values and doesn’t stand up for their interests,” Mehlman said. “This is part of a sustained, systematic, long-term effort to reach out. It’s for votes, but it’s also for building the (Republican) party.”

Mehlman said President Bush and Republican leadership are trying to reduce government-imposed costs associated with opening new businesses and improve education through the No Child Left Behind Act, both of which he said would lead to a larger black presence in business and political spectrums. African-Americans, he said, are currently 50 percent more likely to start their own small business.

During the Civil Rights era, it was the right to sit at the counter,” Mehlman said. “Now it’s the right to own the restaurant.”

[Oh, never mind the GOP didn’t want them sitting there either. And read on for the faith-based carrot dangling…]

The black community, especially in urban areas like Trenton, would be better served if churches could receive funding for social programs as state, city, and municipal governments do. Many of those so-called “faith-based” initiatives are opposed by Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Mehlman was praised by Harry Alford, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and John Harmon, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce, for contacting both organizations first.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding