Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There's Just No Pleasing Some Editorialists

A few days ago, President George W. Bush spoke before a gathering of the NAACP for the first time in his presidency. Bush opponents had criticized him for years because of the administration's reluctance to arrange a presidential appearance before the organization. It was, they claimed, a sign that (as Kanye West would say) George Bush doesn't care about black people.

Now that President Bush has not only given a speech at an NAACP convention, but spoke in conciliatory, almost pandering, tones, how does the political left feel? If you're a jabroni who writes editorials at the Pittsburgh Moist-Towlette, nothing that the president does short of disappearing from the face of the earth will ever please you about him. Let's tear this sucker apart:

While campaigning for the presidency in 2000, George W. Bush couldn't say
enough nice things about the NAACP.
Mistake. The NAACP may be the most high-profile black special interest group in America, but it is more representative of left wing politics than it is of "Black America". He shouldn't have gone out of his way to be so nice to an organization that represents an opposing political view and will never have anything nice to say about him.

As the standard-bearer of the "party of Lincoln," Mr. Bush reminded minority
voters that it was a Republican president, after all, who freed the slaves. He
also pointed to his own congenial working relationship with black Democrats in
the Texas Legislature.
Historical fact and personal experience are irrelevant when they conflict with strongly-held, biased political views. The NAACP doesn't care about the truth. Truth gets in the way of propaganda.

But when he failed to garner more than 9 percent of the black vote that November, Mr. Bush took it to heart. He expected more support from a group he'd considered susceptible to his amiable charm.
Mr. Bush learned a valuable lesson: It's no use being nice to people who hate you, so why bother? And how do we know for sure that only 9% voted for him? We have a secret ballot, and exit polls are unreliable. I do not trust that number.

For ignoring a wide array of policy concerns important to African Americans,
the Bush administration was condemned early on by the civil rights establishment. Under the leadership of former President Kweisi Mfume and current Chairman Julian Bond, the NAACP frequently issued withering critiques of the president and his plans.
The president's base is more concerned with the administration ignoring a wide array of policy concerns important to Americans in general. We haven't "condemned" him, either; to do so would imply that we want him to be demolished or sent to hell. But the NAACP does! So why, again, would he want to play nice with this bunch.

BTW, does the NAACP really represent all "African Americans"? I sincerely doubt that.

Mr. Bush reacted to the bad reviews by refusing to address the group's annual conventions. Until last week, he risked becoming the only sitting president since Warren Harding to skip the NAACP's conventions. But six years after hostilities commenced between the president and the nation's oldest civil rights organization, Mr. Bush and the NAACP decided to make nice.
"Hostilities"? I know that the NAACP and the administration have had poor relations, but "hostilities" is a word that normally means "violent conflict" in contemporary newsspeak. This is wishful thinking on the part of a medium that thrives on bad news.

A couple of other points about the above passage:

Last week in his speech to the NAACP, he pledged to sign the renewal of the Voting Rights Act and garnered a strong ovation. His other policy initiatives, like charter schools and repealing the estate tax, left the audience cold, however.
Of course it left the audience cold. It was an audience of leftists. Anything that doesn't involve the government's involvement in myriad aspects of American's lives is anathema to these socialists. They don't want to hear that. The president can't say anything to make the group happy, so why bother, especially at this point in his presidency?
Cynics are right to point out that Mr. Bush's low poll numbers have much to do with his sudden willingness to reach out to black folks. If it takes political weakness to make a sitting president receptive to the petitions of people he once ignored, so be it.
Meanwhile, cynics on the Right are pointing out that poll numbers are irrelevant (no one has ever polled me, so I don't trust the polls); that reaching out to "black folks" should mean talking to blacks who are at heart conservative even if they don't vote that way (yet), instead of pandering to a special interest group that has little in common politically with the president; that George Bush is neither apathetic nor indifferent to "the petitions of people he once (allegedly) ignored", because he has a tendency to treat American citizens as equals; and that speaking to the NAACP leads to political weakness, not the other way around, as the Moist-Towelette editorialist states.

President Bush might as well have spoken to the Democratic National Committee. Why bother trying to make friends with someone who has marked you as an enemy for life?

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