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Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2001 / 15 Teves, 5761

Walter Williams

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Consumer Reports

Election 2000's message -- ELECTION 2000'S racial message is that President-Elect George Bush and the Republican Party shouldn't subsidize political stupidity.

You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" Given Bush's devastating loss among black voters, in some states 95 percent voted for Gore, some political pundits say that his first order of business is to mend fences. But what did George Bush or the Republican Party do to the black voters that calls for fence-mending? If anything, black voters might ponder whether it is they who should be mending fences: for the NAACP's scurrilous attack ads that all but accused George Bush of being an accomplice in the Jasper, Texas, lynching of James Byrd Jr; the Pro-Gore leaflets distributed in New Jersey that showed Bush's face superimposed on a Confederate flag; and Jesse Jackson's preaching that a Bush win would turn the civil-rights clock back to the racist Reconstruction era.

Bush, to use today's politically correct language, made a greater effort at diversiveness and inclusiveness than any of his Republican presidential candidate predecessors, and what did it get for him?

The Republican Party must face the fact that to get large numbers of black voters requires compromise on principles. The GOP would have to support racial quotas, support welfare hand-outs, condone continued destruction of black academic excellence by supporting the public education establishment, and preach racial victimization and pity. In other words, in order for Republicans to capture the black vote they'd have to support what Gallup polls show that most Americans are generally against.

Ward Connerly, writing in a Dec. 18 National Review article titled "The GOP's Black Problem," says, "The black vote will remain captive to the Democratic Party as long as black people see themselves as victims and view the Democrats as the party of 'civil rights.'" Connerly's prescription for the Republican Party comes from an old country song that advises card players that you have to "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em." Connerly's advise to the GOP is to fold 'em -- not because the GOP shouldn't want black support, but a different strategy is required: one of benign neglect.

What does Connerly mean by benign neglect? He starts his explanation by quoting basketball star Charles Barkley's response to a reporter's question about Barkley's support for Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential campaign, "Don't you know that Dole is in favor of the rich?" Barkley replied, "I am rich, you a--hole!"

Connerly suggests that when more black people recognize that the quality of their children's education, the crime-ridden neighborhoods in which many live and the high taxes they have to pay are more important than the remote possibility of being a victim of a hate crime, they'll seriously consider the Republican Party.

While George Bush is morally and constitutionally obliged to be the president of all the American people, he's under no obligation to kiss up ("mend fences") to the likes of race hustlers such as members of the Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the NAACP's Kweisi Mfume. To do so would be counter-productive and confer upon them undeserved legitimacy.

On top of that, it would gain Bush and the GOP nothing in return. These people would be just as vicious and racially divisive in 2004 as they were in 2000, plus it be would a betrayal and insult to black Republicans. The black political establishment has become mean-spirited, power-crazed, intolerant, vindictive and intensely partisan. The black political establishment must not be accommodated; it must be confronted and, in the process, maybe it'll learn that it's stupid to be a one-party people in a two-party system.

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© 2000, Creators Syndicate