Raynard Jackson, a Republican and a D.C.-based political consultant, does a great job of outlining the dilemma of the black Republican in today’s GOP in this op-ed. Much like the Log Cabin Republicans, they feel they don’t get the respect from their communities, who often cleave to the Democratic party (for obvious reasons).
What must be acknowledged is that there has been progress of some sort in the GOP — after all, Dear Leader appointed a record number of blacks in his administration at high levels. Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman made strong overtures to blacks as well (that all fell apart after Katrina, which showed the true face of the party). What Jackson asserts, is this was window dressing — all the people behind the scenes were snow white, and well-known members of the consultant class — few strategists or consultants were of color. If you look at the McCain campaign, it’s clear diversity is not a goal or a guiding principle.
[W]hat Blacks have any power within McCain’s campaign or relevant campaign committees or in the Capitol Hill offices of Republican Members of Congress? When I say “power” I mean either budgetary or hiring authority. The answer is none!
The former party chair, Ken Mehlman, was very committed to getting more Blacks in the Republican Party. But how many Blacks did he have on his personal staff? Zero! How many Blacks worked for the RNC with budgetary authority or the power to hire? Zero.
The GOP has proven to Blacks that it is a color-blind party. Every time I go to their offices I rarely see people of color. So they are either color-blind or just blind to people of color.
More below the fold. Those of you out there who have chastised the LCR for taking crumbs of recognition in exchange for unwaivering support of the candidate regardless of whether they are anti-gay will find this statement by Jackson familiar:
Most Black Republicans have no credibility within our community because they seem weak and afraid to challenge the party’s leaders. We are accused of saying whatever we think the party wants us to say. And in most cases that’s true…We are the only people who will destroy our own for the benefit of another group.
…Black Republicans should stop embarrassing themselves just to be accepted in a party that has shown there is no place for them anymore. This Republican Party is all about taking care of a small group of White operatives and their friends. If Black Republicans make a principled stand, maybe then the party will behave differently. But at the moment, there is nothing grand about this old party!
Amen, brother. As I’ve said about gay Republicans, there needs to be a strong, affirmed presence of traditionally Democratic constituencies in both parties. In fact, the GOP should desire a more diverse voter base. Instead, it has continued to kowtow to The Base of fundamentalists, extremists, and ignoramuses who love to race-bait and foment homophobia and sexism. This is not the way to grow a party, but they are terminally stuck with the bigot vote, and thus professionals like Raynard Jackson are left wondering why the party that they are most compatible on a host of issues rejects true engagement with those minority groups. It’s sad; I have no answer for him.