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Posted by on Sep 21, 2007 in At TMV | 36 comments

GOP: Boy Do They Not Got Rhythm

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If you are a black, it wouldn’t take a stretch of imagination to think that the Republican presidential candidates would like nothing more than to ship you off to Jena, Louisiana. If you are a Hispanic, it wouldn’t take a stretch of imagination to think that the Republican presidential candidates would like nothing more than to ship you off to Mexico or wherever the heck you came from.

That is the resoundingly negative message being delivered almost without exception by the Republican presidential wannabes, who in an astoundingly knuckle-headed but revealing group move, are shunning a major debate next week on PBS on minority issues and another debate on Univision, the big Hispanic network.

The excuse the candidates are giving is that they have scheduling conflicts, which actually is quite true: They’ll be at the GOP country club giving their drool cups a workout while tut-tutting about how the Party of Lincoln has gone so far into eclipse that you’d think these white boys were wearing black-face. Besides which, they say, we’d just get booed. Got that? These guys would stand up to Osama bin Laden, but would wet their Depends if they had to address an auditorium full of black college students.

You can talk around the issue all day, but the reason that the Republican Party can fashion attractive platforms on, say, taxes but not minority issues is that the party’s base just doesn’t like blacks. They may not all be a bunch of racists in the David Duke mold, but they are opposed to leveling the playing field in employment, housing, education and other areas where minority Americans continue to be disenfranchised and want a voice in who the next president will be.

This current runs so deep that it resulted in a rare setback for Karl Rove, whose plan to convince black and Hispanic voters that the Republican Party was welcoming was doomed even before he sent former party chairman Ken Mehlman around the country to proclaim that fried chicken and tacos were the GOP’s favorite foods.

Mehlman says the debate snubbing is a mistake, while one of the party’s few remaining wise men, Newt Gingrich, calls it “an enormous error.”

Pardon the term, but the reason for their refusal (save for John McCain) to appear on Univision is even more black and white.

The candidates are taking a monolithic view of the contentious issue of immigration reform and while the podium-pounding approach may work on the stump, it won’t play well with the millions of people from Mexico and Latin America who represent the fastest growing bloc of voters.

Make that Democratic voters.

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