Politics: Republican Presidential Race

I finally watched the Republican presidential debate sponsored by PBS, moderated by Tavis Smiley. It was held at Morgan State University. Morgan is a historically black college. Debate was held September 2007. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I can watch this stuff at leisure.

More than a half-dozen Republicans are running for President.

A few media declared “front runners” refused to appear. They were as follows: Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Fred Thompson. Those that appeared were: Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, and Alan Keyes.

In case you haven’t heard of these guys, I’ll be brief: Giuliani was Mayor of NYC, McCain is a Senator from Arizona, Romney was Governor of Massachusetts and Thompson was Senator of Tennessee. He often works as an actor. Not much difference between an actor and politician. Mike Hucakee was Governor of Arkansas. Aside from Alan Keyes, the others are Representatives or Senators.

Speak for Yo’self

The debate started off with a long winded diatribe by Tom Joyner. I suppose he sees himself as something of a “black leader”. His syndicated radio program has a mostly black audience. So I can see where he feels he’s in touch with black public opinion.

However, I don’t care. I don’t need a front man, unless it’s a hired gun (lawyers, PR people, etc). I dislike people who act as if he is the voice of black America. Not for me. I want all these self-anointed “black leaders” to come with a disclaimer: I’m only speaking for myself.

His pedestrian speech and intellectual lameness was followed in same by the news media panel: Cynthia Tucker, Juan Williams and Ray Suarez. In a nutshell, they all asked: Minorities are helpless out-of-control little children. What will you do to fix the mess that they create? I’m using hyperbole, but I was surprised at how insipid the questions were.

The Republicans didn’t pander, which surprised me.

Huckabee was attractive. His jump in the polls is organic. He’s never been deemed “inevitable” by anyone. I think he genuinely appeals to people.

Ron Paul was off the hook. I understand where he’s coming from, but Americans love their entitlements, power, global status, and want more.

The other candidates didn’t front. They said what they felt; I respected them for it.

I know their positions get branded as racist in a number of quarters, but if that’s how they think – shrug. The reality is that they are our elected officials. African Americans, minorities, whomever, have to work within that context.

Politics is compromise and workarounds: even the Democrat George Wallace changed. During America’s Civil Rights era, Wallace vociferously wanted to keep blacks out of a white college, which had been desegregated.

My Last Point

In this race, and in the future, Republicans need black and other minority voters. Those who avoided the debate and deemed “front runner” will stumble.

The most appealing Republican will gain traction. This is the guy who has a history of blacks voting for him. Hopefully, he will continue to speak without resorting to condescension or pandering.