'I understand that racism still lingers in America'
U.S. President George W. Bush gestures at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention in Washington July 20, 2006. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Talk to the hand, man. What about your spokesbot Tony Snow, who insists that “racism isn’t that big a deal any more” and “it’s rapidly becoming an ugly memory.”
Besides, actions speak louder than words for the folks attending the NAACP’s annual meeting today as the President bleated a few vague statements about how blacks should come home to the party of Lincoln, and how it’s time to trust the GOP.
Bush lamented the GOP’s rocky relations with blacks. He pledged to improve that relationship and work with the NAACP’s new leader to achieve common goals.
“I understand that racism still lingers in America,” Bush told more than 2,200 people at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s annual gathering. “It’s a lot easier to change a law than to change a human heart. And I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party.”
That line generated boisterous applause and cheers from the audience, which generally gave the president a polite, reserved reception.
“I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historical ties with the African-American community,” Bush said. “For too long, my party wrote off the African-American vote, and many African-Americans wrote off the Republican Party.”
Good grief, does he think the public’s memory is that short?
This is the same president who was briefed about the gravity of Katrina, yet he told the nation that “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees” and that based on his review of the next day’s imaginary newspapers, that he thought that New Orleans “dodged the bullet.” An awful lot of poor folks of color were left behind.
In his speech today, he didn’t mention Iraq, the disproportionately high unemployment in the black community (9% in June versus the national jobless rate of 4.6%). He apparently did mention No Child Left Behind, neglecting to mention that his pet program has been underfunded. Given this was his outreach speech, he could have phoned this one in and sent Ken Mehlman out to tap dance for him.
The sad truth is that the GOP can always count on finding some support in the community, even after Katrina. Look at the Delusional Bush/Mehlman Self-Loathing NegroTM, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the fools at Project 21, or folks like the discredited, former columnist-on-the-govt-payroll Armstrong Williams, and of course, many of the black pastors you’ve read about here on the Blend, who fixate on homosexuality and find common ground with the fundies that make up the GOP Base.
UPDATE: via Echidne; Bush can’t stop manhandling people. I guess we should be lucky he didn’t rub his head for good luck.
U.S. President George W. Bush playfully slaps U.S. Congressman Al Green (D-TX) as he greets delegates following his remarks at the annual convention of the NAACP. REUTERS/Jason Reed.
Dome tip to Ross K., who asked for this thread.