Jewish World Review August 8, 2000/ 7 Menachem-Av, 5760
Outreach: Good strategy and long-run
PHILADELPHIA | In the interest of full disclosure, I admit up front that I do not hate
white people. I don't even hate rich white people, some of whom have managed to achieve
enviable lifestyles without genetically superior athletic skills.
Not that all those blandly similar faces pooling into a Caucasian sea on the Republican
convention floor are all rich. Except for a few oil barons at the top, most of the folks
wearing funny hats and dancing badly to salsa music are notably middle class, their
fashions so unhip as to be unacceptable in the circus-sized news-media tents virtually
billowing with cynically good taste and just the right attitude.
Which is: Been there; done that; seen it; hated it; spun it; named it.
They named "it" hypocrisy. And, yes, hypocrisy is not only ubiquitous here in
the freedom city, it is, like the new-improved Grand Old Party, inclusive. As in the
blindfold game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's hard to know on which ass to pin the
By turns, critics (read: the news media) have said the Republican convention is a
masquerade, a charade, a ruse, a Potemkin village, a fake city of diversity erected to
fool the electorate into believing that the GOP loves, oh, just everybody.
The convention podium is more diverse than the convention floor, everyone asserts, as
though this were the sort of revelation that leads millions to slap their foreheads and
exclaim: "I just knew it!" Of course everyone knows it.
Is it possible that television viewers, those insipidly stupid American voters, could
fail to note that only two of the 18 speakers opening night were white, Christian males
while the cheering audience was mostly just that? Does the idiot populace fail to observe
that the GOP's parade of Latinos, blacks and gays is contrived to send a message?
Not likely. And, so what? What is the message? That Republicans are hypocritical or
that Republicans are trying to convey an intention of inclusiveness? Hypocrisy, or
Let's pretend for a moment that we don't hate Republicans or white people or
"rich" white people. Let's pretend for a moment that the GOP wants to change its
face and advance some ideas that cannot in any way be construed as "white"
Fundamentally, those ideas include:
Government botches nearly everything it touches; less is more.
People deserve to have choices when educating their children.
Americans deserve more freedom from government micro-management.
Voters, regardless of race, gender or quota, are smart enough to figure this out.
What about those ideas benefits whites more than blacks and other minorities?
Nothing. Nada. In fact, one could argue that minorities would benefit more than whites
from some of the Republican proposals. When it comes to education, whites already have
more choices than, say, African-Americans. The very people who want to give minorities
educational options already have their kids in private schools.
For the record keepers, Bush's educational programs have significantly improved test
scores for minority children in Texas. Since taking office, 13 percent of Bush's
appointments have been Hispanic, including Secretary of State Tony Garza; 9 percent have
been black. Bush earns 40 percent of Texas' Latino vote. Maybe, just maybe, what Bush's
party is presenting on the convention stage isn't a Potemkin village but a projection of
how the GOP envisions a new party and a new administration. In the short run, Republican
diversity may be a strategy, but, in the long run, it's good policy.
The hypocrites, meanwhile, may be the news-media folks who for years have criticized
the GOP for ignoring non-whites and now criticize them for trying to do better. As veteran
White House reporter Carl Cannon put it:
"You can't beat the crap out of these people and tell them to do different, and
then attack them when they do it. What does the criticism really mean?
"It means they don't want the Republicans to have a successful
JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.
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