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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bush's "Outreach"

On Tuesday, February 7th, we recognized the passing of Coretta Scott King. Now, I didn’t get to actually see the funeral, but I saw clips of it on the evening news. The theme seemed to be that Bush is attempting to “reach out to blacks.” The news report was very similar to this Washington Post article.

..."President Bush was where he should have been," said Bruce S. Gordon, the new president of the NAACP. "Coretta Scott King is a very important figure in black American history and American history. I thought it was appropriate for the president to be there to honor her."

Bush all but ignored many black civil rights and political leaders during his first four years in office. Instead, he focused on building inroads to African American leaders through the pastors of black evangelical churches and business leaders who were not identified with the traditional civil rights agenda.

Bush became the first president since Herbert Hoover to serve a full term without addressing the NAACP, which many acknowledge as the nation's leading civil rights organization. At the same time, Bush's relations with the Congressional Black Caucus were frosty, contributing to a growing gulf between the administration and black voters...

...While Bush was greeted respectfully at the funeral, the tension between him and some black leaders also was evident. The Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, drew a standing ovation when he criticized the war in Iraq, saying, "There were no weapons of mass destruction over there."

"For war, billions more, but no more for the poor," Lowery added as Bush sat behind him on the speaker's platform...

Ok, so let's see if I've got this right. The NAACP is angry because they have not been consulted with. Instead, Bush meets with black pastors and business leaders who are actually reasonable people. Now, these "civil rights leaders" that Bush "ignored" are using Coretta Scott King's own funeral to spread their propaganda. And Bush supposed to listen to these people?

Anyways, another issue (in the news, though not mentioned in the article) was the difference between Clinton and Bush in regards to their "outreach" to blacks. It seemed to be that Clinton had "made the connections" but that Bush was still "struggling". Yet, nowhere did I hear it mentioned that Bush has a more diverse set of top advisers than any president in history, even Clinton. Now why haven't we heard that as much before? The answer is quite simple: Bush doesn't go around doing things such as calling himself the "first black president." (BTW, I just found this little gem.) But, I believe the main difference is not the numbers or statistics, but the attitude. The reason that Bush isn't known for his relations with minorities is because he doesn't chose people based on their race. He chooses them based on how good they are at the job, unlike Clinton.

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