It’s that time of the year again!
We’re officially entering the brief period in which Republicans put on the facade that they don’t want to just be the party of heartless ultra-rich corporatists and White comically conservative minions.
Kicking it off this year is half-a*s historian Newt Gingrich, who recently announced that he’s spoken with Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Republican Conference about bringing members of the GOP directly to Black districts. For the former Speaker of the House, the 2012 election prompted him to “rethink what I thought I understood about politics.”
Translation: I realized the changing demographics won’t allow the GOP to spout a bunch of racist rhetoric and continue winning national elections.
Gingrich told Politico that the group is “slowly gaining ground.” In fact, Gingrich says Univision has even offered to host town hall meetings for the visits. Gingrich said of the outreach efforts, “It’s important because when you go out, and you’re standing in a room, and you’re looking people in the face, you begin to realize the limitations of what you can and can’t say and you begin to realize how they hear it.”
I take it Gingrich is referring to a past incident in which Black church members challenged some of the blatantly racist musings he had during the GOP primary.
(Though he has a long history of similar comments all the same.)
CBS News reported on the event at a Black church in South Carolina:
While the give and take between Gingrich and more than 50 people in the audience was largely respectful, some in the crowd had sharp questions for the former House Speaker. Many centered on Gingrich’s remark last month that poor children as young as 9 should work at least part time cleaning their schools in order to learn about work.
Gingrich said his comments were misconstrued.
‘What I was saying was, in the poorest neighborhoods, if we can find a way to help young people earn some money, we might actually be able to keep the dropout rate down and give people an incentive to come to school,’ he said.
The explanation little satisfied some in the crowd, including a woman who said Gingrich’s words came across “so negatively, like we’re not doing everything for our young people.” Gingrich was also asked if he stood by his assertion that Obama is a “food stamp president,” a line the Georgia Republican uses often during stump speeches. He responded with a simple, “Yes.”
That brings me to my next point: Try a little harder on pretending to give a damn about minorities, Dumbo party members. Don’t duck what you said no matter how stupid it was. If you can clean it up, bring your mop and try. Or better yet, just apologize for your idiocy.
Speaking of incendiary language rooted in utter stupidity, joining Nasty Newt in the “I Care About Y’all, Too, Tour” is prospective 2016 Republican presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), who spoke at my alma mater, Howard University, to “focus on the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups,” per a press release on Howard’s website. He also said he’d “discuss the history of the African-American community’s roots in the Republican Party and current issues, such as school choice and civil liberties.”
In other words, Paul went there to offer a revisionist historian’s account about the GOP’s relationship with the Black community as if we don’t know why there’s been a nearly five-decade long beef between Blacks and the Republican Party. Paul didn’t really even bother to try to sucker in Negroes based on a tap dancing act about the virtues of libertarianism. Instead, he offered this ahistorical musing about racism and our political parties on some “Oh, you guys just need me to “whitesplain” why the GOP is the way to go.
It was condescending and a waste of time, regardless of what writers like Andrew Sullivan believe. Sullivan said “the sheer lack of any grace among some liberal commenters on what was an obvious outreach to African Americans depresses me.” Maybe lip service works for Andrew, but the rest of us know Blacks deserve more than someone who doesn’t know history try to school better-informed students on the subject.
Moreover, if Paul truly wanted to extend an olive branch to the Black community, he could’ve started by apologizing for his anti-Civil Rights Act stance. He denied ever making such claims, though a student noted it’s on tape.
That it is:
Yes, cute for Republicans for dusting off their yearly farce. None of us have to be excited about it, though. One day they will make a genuine effort to reach out to Blacks, because they don’t have a choice.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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