Race and Republicans

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I was honored to speak today on Arise.tv about the role of African-Americans in the Republican party.

There’s only so much you can say in seconds-long sound bites, particularly when many charges are being leveled at you with machine gun rapid fire. But the one false accusation still resonating with me hours later, one that still has me spitting mad, is that Allen West and other GOP minorities are somehow token poster children for “white guilt.”

On-air, I was (and still am) the first to concede that after “taking one on the jaw” as LTC West put it in his CPAC speech, the GOP is doing some much needed soul searching on a wide variety of issues with respect to its brand image. However, the Republican Party doesn’t need an infusion of “Roots,” it merely needs to reconnect with its (well documented) roots.

Those intimately familiar with the history of the Republican Party know that some of its first elected leaders were Black men. Men freed thanks to the Republican Party!

As this chart from Black Americans in Congress (BAIC) shows, there were no Blacks elected in the Democrat Party until 1935, some sixty years after the first elected Black Republicans:

Congress* Name State Party Service

41st (1869-1871) LONG,Jefferson Franklin GA Republican House
41st (1869-1871) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
41st (1869-1871) REVELS, Hiram Rhodes MS Republican Senate

42nd (1871-1873) DE LARGE, Robert Carlos SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) ELLIOTT, Robert Brown SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) TURNER, Benjamin Sterling AL Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House

43rd (1873-1875) CAIN, Richard Harvey SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) ELLIOTT, Robert Brown SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RANSIER, Alonzo Jacob SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RAPIER, James Thomas AL Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House

44th (1875-1877) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate
44th (1875-1877) HARALSON, Jeremiah AL Republican House
44th (1875-1877) HYMAN, John Adams NC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
44th (1875-1877) NASH, Charles Edmund LA Republican House
44th (1875-1877) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House

45th (1877-1879) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate
45th (1877-1879) CAIN, Richard Harvey SC Republican House
45th (1877-1879) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
45th (1877-1879) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House

46th (1879-1881) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate

47th (1881-1883) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
47th (1881-1883) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House

48th (1883-1885) O’HARA, James Edward NC Republican House
48th (1883-1885) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House

49th (1885-1887) O’HARA, James Edward NC Republican House
49th (1885-1887) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House

51st (1889-1891) CHEATHAM, Henry Plummer NC Republican House
51st (1889-1891) LANGSTON, John Mercer VA Republican House
51st (1889-1891) MILLER, Thomas Ezekiel SC Republican House

52nd (1891-1893) CHEATHAM, Henry Plummer NC Republican House

53rd (1893-1895) MURRAY, George Washington SC Republican House

54th (1895-1897) MURRAY, George Washington SC Republican House

55th (1897-1899) WHITE, George Henry NC Republican House

56th (1899-1901) WHITE, George Henry NC Republican House

71st (1929-1931) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House

72nd (1931-1933) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House

73rd (1933-1935) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House

74th (1935-1937) MITCHELL, Arthur Wergs IL Democrat House

History speaks for itself: Republicans freed the slaves and Republicans championed Civil Rights. With the rise of the Tea Party, Conservatives are reconnecting with our historical legacy, and emerging from our ranks are strong men and women of color like Allen West, Mia Long, Star Parker, Tim Scott and Marco Rubio. These are not “tokens;” these are men and women convinced that limited government and free market solutions provide the best opportunities for all Americans, including those of color.

History has shown the GOP to be very different from the “bigots” the Left routinely paints them to be. Nor are they “anti-women,” as guest host Karen Hunter charged this morning, but rather champions of the rights of women from the womb, particularly Black women, who are more likely to be aborted than born, as a recent statistic out of New York shows.

Ms. Hunter went on to say that former RNC Chairman, Michael Steele was merely a counter-measure to the election of Barack Obama. Now, faithful readers know I have had my fair share of gripes about Mr. Steele, but being a “token” isn’t one of them. During Mr. Steele’s candidacy, did anyone from his party talk about his “Negro dialect” (that he could turn off “at will”) or call him “clean and articulate” (as opposed to what, I’d like to know — “dirty and inarticulate?”). Not only was then-Senator Obama called that, he went on to choose the author of that latter remark as his running mate! Only in the DNC could something like that happen, and yet the GOP is painted with the “raaaacist” brush!

Ah, facts (and the indelible memory of the Internet) – enemies of the Left. The next time you hear that “racist rhetoric” from your friendly neighborhood Lefty, please set them straight, or send them here!

* List does not include Joseph Willis Menard who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1868, but, in a contested race, was not allowed to be seated.

Photo Credit: New York Public Library

A Conservative Summarizes the 2010 Midterm Elections

Historically, the 2010 midterm elections will probably be remembered as just a more than average election for the opposition party to the president during the second year of his administration, but hardly the Tea Party Tsunami for which many were wishing, and many experts were predicting. For example, Michael Barone, the esteemed political analyst for the Washington Examiner, was sending signals that the GOP could pick up as many as 100 seats in the House, and many polls indicated that 10 seats the GOP needed to win the Senate was within their grasp. Alas, it was not to be.

Still, picking up 61 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate, and taking about 10 governor’s seats from the Democrats, give or take, is not bad. In fact, it is good enough to explain why so many on the Right are celebrating midterm election results, while the Left are hanging their heads. President Obama himself even admitted to taking a “shellacking,” and has to console himself with a $200 million dollar a day trip to India. The GOP will hold the House, and will be a big enough minority in the Senate that the Democrats will no longer be able to ram their Big Government agenda down the throats of the American people

However, I am more impressed by the quality of the GOP wins than by the quantity of them. The new faces in the Class of 2011 are some of the most interesting figures elected into statewide and national offices since 1994, perhaps even longer than that. Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Mark Kirk (who won Obama’s old Senate seat), and Rick Scott are among those who will have a significant impact over the next few years, not simply because they are Republicans, but because they are Conservatives.

However, even more significant than these wins are the number of wins by the Conservatives the Left hates and fears the most: minority Conservatives, or candidates who are continuing to contribute to what Ebony magazine described as “the browning of the GOP.” One almost feels sorry for the Congressional Black Caucus, who will no longer be able to enjoy meeting to discuss how dreamy Fidel Castro is without being interrupted by knocks on their door from Allen West and Tim Scott, demanding admission.  Nikki Haley joined Bobby Jindal as Indian-American Conservative governors.  Similarly, Hispanic conservatives did well yesterday too. Susana Martinez won New Mexico,  Marco Rubio’s star continues to rise with his win in Florida, and if Harry Reid is still wondering why any Hispanic would vote Republican, then he can now ask his governor-elect, the Republican Brian Sandoval.

Still, there were some sad defeats on Election night. For every AACON fave such as Jim DeMint, Jennifer Carroll, or Michelle Bachmann who won, there were others – such as Ryan Frazier, Isaac Hayes, Bill Marcy, Charles Lollar, and Bill Randall – who lost. I am especially disappointed by California voters, who actually had a chance to elect such truly impressive people like Star Parker and Chuck Devore, but instead stayed rooted the same progressive candidates, regardless of how hackneyed, incompetent, and even corrupt these progressives had already proved themselves to be. Six more years of Boxer? Four more years of Brown? Really?

Yet in these defeats lies one of the essential questions of the 2010 election: how seriously is the GOP going to take this whole “conservative” thing anyway? The question is an important one because the Republicans did have a legitimate shot at winning the Senate, but seemingly shot themselves in the foot by electing Tea Party candidates who lost election a more centrist Republican may have been able to easily win. Mike Castle of Delaware was expected to easily defeat Coons, but instead lost the primary to Christine O’Donnell, who proved to be a poor general election candidate. (Sharron Angle similarly may not have been as competitive against Harry Reid as some of her primary opponents, though given the reported machinations and manipulations of the voting process employed by Reid, perhaps no one could have defeated him.)

My guess is that the answer to that aforementioned question is “very.”  The nomination of so many Tea Partiers over moderates may have saved the Democratic majority in the Senate, but it is an ominous sign for the progressive agenda in both the Congress and the White House that voters would rather sacrifice a seat to a liberal, and ultimately control of the Senate by their party, rather than support progressivism from either party.

Go along to get along Republicans – who could sit in the clubhouse with the Democrats, and come to an understanding with them on some overreaching, Big Government legislation – perhaps in return for an earmark, or some positive press coverage in the mainstream media, or perhaps some perfunctory tax cut to sell to their supporters – are going or already gone.  I am not sure how well the Republican Party understands this yet, especially if they reelect Mitch McConnell as their Minority Leader, but it is a lesson they will be well served to study before the 2012 elections.

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