If you’re a conservative and you want to give a speech about abortion, would you do it at Planned Parenthood? If you’re in the GOP and you want to do an event designed to appeal to women, would you ask NOW to gather a crowd for you? If you’re a Republican candidate who wants to talk to grassroots activists, would you reach out to MOVEON?
No, of course not.
So why, in the world, do we still have Republicans treating the NAACP like it represents black Americans as opposed to liberal black Americans?
NAACP officials described Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s morning address to the nation’s most prestigious civil rights group as demeaning and insulting.
A three-quarters full auditorium greeted Romney with lukewarm applause, but the atmosphere quickly grew increasingly tense as Romney made the case that President Obama’s economic policies have not helped the black community. He cited the jump in unemployment among African Americans from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent in June.
“If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone,” Romney told the civil rights group’s annual gathering. “Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way.”
Clayola Brown, the member of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors who invited Romney to speak, said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee should not have used unemployment numbers to try to turn the crowd against Obama.
“It was insensitive and quite demeaning as a matter of fact,” Brown told The Washington Examiner after Romney exited the stage. “Certainly we are aware of what the numbers are and the impact is in our communities. It’s the dialogue used that we find insulting.”
Brown said the point of inviting Romney to the convention wasn’t to give him a chance to win over African American voters who overwhelmingly backed Obama in 2008 and are expected to vote for him again this fall. Instead, Romney was invited to “show respect to the organization,” she said.
Another board member, Amos Brown, of San Francisco, called Romney’s address, “an insult to the NAACP,” including his references to the importance of family.
“For him to come here and lecture us about the family – he doesn’t need to be talking to Negros about that,” Brown said. “Who tore up the family?”
How dare Mitt Romney talk about getting jobs for black Americans or discuss his agreement with the majority of black Americans on gay marriage! That was actually OFFENSIVE to the NAACP, which takes the position that black Americans should vote for Barack Obama because he’s a black Democrat. End of story. No matter what Mitt Romney said, the NAACP was never going to like him because he’s a white Republican.
Yet, where was Mitt Romney speaking? At a group that hates his guts because he’s in the wrong political party and has the wrong skin color.
Sure, they’re not as prestigious as the NAACP and they can’t draw as large of a crowd, but how are those groups ever going to grow when Republicans would rather reach out to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP than black conservative organizations? You don’t build and legitimize a liberal organization that will always oppose you and everything you stand for; you build and legitimize conservative organizations that are on your side and are trying to help the GOP improve its image with black Americans.
The only thing worth saying from a podium to the NAACP is, “Given your organization’s track record over the last 40 years, you should disband.”