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Dems, what are you going to do about blacks leaving the party?

“Most black people are against Homosexual marriage, or anything of the sort. Many blacks switched and voted for President Bush over this big issue last year during the Presidential election. That and the issue of abortion. Those seem to be the two biggest topics that have dominated news headlines in the past few years. Black people want to keep our traditional values. So we turn to the Republican party.”

Felicia (Fee) Benamon, wingnut political blogger

Just so you know, Fee Benamon actually quotes the Free Republic, if that tells you anything. She may be on the fringe of the conservative movement, but her opinion piece on NC Rumors is exactly what the Dem establishment needs to hear. It’s the sound of the socially conservative, religious black voter taking their toys and going over to the open arms of Ken Mehlman to play. The GOP has been spinning its web of lies for quite some time now, pushing all the emotional political buttons in the black community that are sure to siphon off just enough votes toss races to the Repugs.

President Bush has been the only President in history to ever elect so many people of different racial backgrounds to his cabinet. The more notable ones are Colin Powell & Dr. Condoleezza Rice. She is the first black lady elected as Secretary of State. She is an inspiration to me. She’s a hard worker, very intelligent, and is TOUGH! President Bush saw something in her, she had the qualifications (stellar qualifications might I add) and is doing quite wonderfully now. President Bush sees no color, only your accomplishments. I am glad to see more conservative journalists, and people in the media emerging. Funny how we conservative black people who support the Republican party get labeled as “Uncle Toms, Aunt Jemima, sell outs, etc.” [See the post “Black wingnut Armstrong Williams – whore of the Bush admin] Anything racist like that. What is wrong with thinking for yourself and making a decision what party to support? Everyone assumes that blacks will automatically vote Democrat. Well, not anymore.

You almost don’t know where to begin here, but suspend your knowledge at how completely vapid and ridiculous Condi has been in this admin — just for a minute. If we’re counting colored heads, I will give her that — Bush has made his appointments of color where it counts — in highly visible and powerful positions. The Dems are going to have to explain themselves to a black audience that is now paying attention to a party that has taken this consituency for granted. The message is stale, the politicians only show up at a church to mingle with black folks when the vote is on the line. That’s hard to defend in a sound bite. Actions speak louder than words.

It’s also incredibly hard for Dems to fight back when the pastor in the pulpit is on the faith-based initiative take, Bush’s minions are seducing supposed pious leaders of the community and the joke is going to be on the black community. Otherwise, why you have someone like Fee Benamon saying (I presume with a straight face):

The next time you go to a gathering of Republicans, look around. These are people who are bonded together by their love of family, conservative values & traditions, love of God, etc. It shows mightily. I have seen many people of different backgrounds at Republican gatherings. There is such an atmosphere of love when I attend. It’s not at all like what you hear. I have experienced no racism whatsoever. Only good friendships and a welcoming spirit. The Republican party has come a long way, but it still has a ways of getting out its message to blacks and other ethnic groups. It is definitely a party of inclusion of all people.

Remember, with the country basically divided in half politically, it will only take a sliver of votes from blacks and Hispanics to make the difference in many races. Are the Dems ready to step up and make a real case — an politically attractive case — why minorities should stay in the party?

I have to quote the fabulous Congressman from my state, Democrat Mel Watt, who seems to be one of the few elected officials not afraid of the land mines.

First of all, we allowed Republicans to say we were advocates of gay marriage rather than framing it as a personal liberty issue or standing up and saying we don’t believe in it. We ran away from that; nobody wanted to talk about it, we knew it made people uncomfortable. Instead of having our community engaged in open discussion about it and moving on to other issues or seeing how it related to pocketbook issues, we let the Republicans control the message…You can’t avoid these issues. For us to bury our heads in the sand and say these issues aren’t to be discussed, that’s just unrealistic. We need to be talking about them in our own terms and not allowing [Republicans] to define themselves as the moral arbiters of what’s right and wrong.

…I think they chipped off more black voters than we would have liked for them to chip off. You don’t have to chip off a lot of black voters, Republicans have found over the years. Just as the Democrats have found if they chip off some of that center, you don’t have to move a lot of voters but you have to move some. We haven’t been able to move those voters at the center toward the Democrats. Republicans have been successful in moving some African Americans and progressives on issues of security, religion, abortion, gay marriage. Those issues move enough people or get them wavering enough that they say, ‘Well, the election is too difficult. I think I’ll just stay home.’

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding