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July 25, 2005

Breakfast with Ward

I have not had breakfast with Ward Connorly, but the idea crossed my mind this morning in reference to the discussion at Vision Circle and a note Pops sent my way. It was about an article in the LA Times about how the GOP is gradually coming around to being successful in using demographic data to pick off new converts, some of whom are African American.

So what if it happens? My goal was to see about 15-20% of blackfolks join the GOP by 2010, or something like that. It looks to me like a fait accompli. So suddenly a rush of images spilled forth, of all the 'non-black' blacks that I have played a part in alienating over the years. The first person that comes to mind is LeVar Burton.

When I have been talking about 'blackfolks' in the context of race, I have generally meant African Americans who grew up in a black neighborhood. There are plenty who haven't - Tiger Woods, for example, grew up in Cerritos, in the multicultural burbs. Neither Woods nor Burton qualifies for a kind of rebellious macho which is supposedly one of the key core elements in the archtype of the 'Strong Black Man'. Some would go as far as to say they are not black or that they are 'gay'. Not gay as in homosexual, but gay as in punk. (If this is confusing to you, ask somebody who grew up in a black neighborhood - it's a black thing, I'm too pressed for time to explain).

There was a kid who was an econ major at UCLA whose name I forget. Rumor was that he was all of those things, a punk, not really black. What was undeniable was that he was preternaturally bright. He was frat, but had managed to alienate himself from the fraternity through a combination of character flaws that I had not been able to detect. Not having been at UCLA, I had to take people's word for it. Ultimately, my aim to ensnare his mind into my black political roundup failed. He opted out. I was disappointed but cool with it. A lot of other brothers were a lot less charitable - some didn't want him associated with the frat. I am thinking of that brother today and I wish I could remember his name so I could bring up the matter with some old frat. I imagine him to be a Republican today.

I wonder what folks will do with 20% of African Americans openly declared in the GOP. The day is coming soon.

Posted by mbowen at July 25, 2005 07:28 AM

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Interesting post. Frankly, I still don't see the appeal of the Republican Party. But as a black man, I can't stomach the thought of being associating me with Armstrong Williams, Ward Connorly and Clarence Thomas. I may be wrong, but a lot of the brothers in the GOP rank don't seem very happy about their skin color. And from what I've read, I'd have to put La Shawn Barber and Star Parker in their as well.

I think the GOP will eventually hit that 20% rank but they will inevitably do something to alginate their black constituents. I say this because the Christian Right (southern white folks) will eventually control the GOP. And if you haven't been to Arkansas, Mississippi or Alabama in a while, trust when I say those white folks don't give two cents worth a damn about black or brown people. I think black Republicans will do better if folks like John McCain and Arlen Specter gain greater influence.

I would like to see a third Party emerge, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Posted by: James Manning at July 25, 2005 08:29 AM

and that would be 20% of what, exactly? intuitively, it would seem that an increase in black republicans might parallel a decrease in overall black voting (i am willing to check the data on this and certainly acknowledge i could be way off base here) - which would not bode well for black republicans' ability to wrest certain concessions from the party...and in the case of folks like connerly, et. al., they won't be working together for any such purpose anyway...i guess it goes back to the question i posted on visioncircle...what are you trying to conserve as it relates to the economic and political development of black folk?

20% of an ever decreasing pie which is presently deemed irrelevant should not be a cause for excitement...it should be a cause for concern about what role this 20% will play. will the role be to primarily to accelerate free market opportunities for black folk or will it be primarily to facilitate the entry into underdeveloped black markets by "american" (read white-owned/operated) firms or will it be neither? this doesn't have to be a strict dichotomy - but the extent to which there is some coordinated action on behalf of the 20% may indicate the degree to which one practice overshadows the other.

in the absence of a serious class critique by black republicans, you can rest assured the numbers will not get to a critical number - why - because the existing social tumult in black america is still properly viewed through a lens of class and race - not merely academic qualification or some other form of subjective "merit." large numbers of government/non-profit workers (rigthly or wrongly) believe the needs of large populations of black folk require the attention of government in areas where providing A PUBLIC GOOD supercede the potential benefits of market forces - particularly as this relates to astronomical unemployment rates facing black males. republicans have to offer a solution other than the pursuit of academic excellence and social responsibility because that is not the path followed by white americans.

another critical question may be, "if the republican party's black membership swells to a certain number 'X', the utility of merc./henchmen like Armstrong and Connerly will be reduced by some quantity 'Y', will the subsequent loss of intellectual-ho-dough 'Y(prime)' result in increased in-fighting for white sponsorship? if so, to what extent will this fracture the black republican movement - after all, many of these folks will not be financially viable through the development of world-class products or services...what happens to old pimps, they don't die, they sell insurance...ya know, like preachers peddling after-life insurance.

cobb, you may be the exception that proves the rule - in the absence of conservative white sponsorship (with loss of station and privileged status looming), it may be that guys like Armstrong and others have a RTD (Road to Damascus) conversion and pimp the coffers of liberals and democrats as republican renouncin', confirmed-born again-democrats.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 09:00 AM

I think the Christian Right will be a permanent feature in the Republican Party because they are so villified right now by the Hollywood Left. I don't believe, however that they are the heart and soul of the party - the very idea that Alabama is the intellectual capitol of the GOP is unthinkable, and if Jeb Bush were president instead of George, nobody would be saying it aloud. Karl Rove and Grover Norquist are much closer to the mark. But if you ask me, the person who best understands the existentials of the current GOP is David Brooks. And if you follow the exchanges between Brooks and Thomas Friedman, I think you'll see the intellectual divide clearly. Having said so, I wonder whose interest is serves to suggest otherwise, vis a vis black participation.

With respect to conserving x or y for the economic development of blackfolk, I am trying to conserve the common sense notion that a radical politics is not part of the equation of economic development. I am trying to point out the fact that there is a black man on the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve and he didn't get there suggesting that there is a separate economic destiny for African Americans. But I am also saying that by definition, there are going to be some class differences between blackfolks that we are going to have to accept and recognize that political priorities are going to differ. I am suggesting very strongly that the politics of social power are very different from the politics of human rights or of civil rights and that people who believe greater power will accrue to blackfolks using the politics of civil rights are gravely mistaken, and that many blackfolks recognize this and are sitting on the sidelines waiting for a new paradigm shift. Some people hope for a second coming of T

The economic path followed by black Americans will be the American path or it will not be. The mass of blackfolks will do what masses of people do, assimilate or die. There is no separate destiny - what's separate now is as separate as it gets, because in the new information age everybody is communicating.

The utility of 'henchmen' like Armstrong Williams will diminish over time, primarily because it will not be considered unusual for a majority of African Americans to belong to the majority party. What the assimilated future will be is very much predictable, there will be hiphop soundtracks to BMW commercials, just like there are today, a mundane fact considered unthinkable in the 80s. The ghetto will be even more ghetto, because crossover will go beyond black and white to asian and latino and muslim and east european and west african etc. The black republican movement faces a crisis of unity now, but it is a non-crisis because the fight is not among black republicans (who are just happy to be on the right side) but between blacks and black republicans. Again, I emphasize that this is just like the integration of 'predominately white' colleges and universities. It's as if the president of Morehouse said to all non-HBCU grads that they suddenly have no business talking about the future of blackfolks. That's to

I believe that the relevance of party plank writing committees (and thus the power of ideologues like Schafly) is declining sharply. So the whole funding apparat is going to change radically. Internet tech is going to disintermediate a whole host of power groups in the next decade.

Posted by: Cobb at July 25, 2005 10:16 AM

there's some good stuff in there...i'll have to check out the brooks/friedman thing. thanks.

with respect to the economic development issue, i don't know that "radical politics" (i'll let you define that) are mutually exclusive from black economic development...moreover, this issue merits some consideration if for no other reason than that the US abandons free market principles routinely as it relates to trade with the caribbean, africa and brazil. to some eyes, this looks like radical white supremacist politics...this may or may not be the case. if we count the cash and the votes, we could probably figure it out.

to others it looks like national interest superceding a commitment to an espoused principle. the wsj carried an article today about such a retreat with respect to the european union. so, the political spectrum - as it relates to economic gains - does not have to be conceived of as a traditional door - or even a revolving door, but almost as a portal allowing travelers to move across time and space.

the politics, whatever they are, should not preclude the formation of viable economic models/practices that encourage improved educational outcomes/vocational-technical-'professional' pathways/property ownership/etc. to the extent that political models are counterproductive, the question must be raised of 21st utility vs. 19th integrity to an outdated ideal or fidelity to some dead cat with big plans.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 11:26 AM

Black Republicanism is a passing fad. The party doesn't support black candidates--the real test of party politics, and I've seen white flight manifest itself before. This will shape up to be a similar thing, with a far right, southern, christian conservative-dominated party forming and a mushy moderate republican party (with a large hispanic and black following) emerging to pick up the pieces of the party of Lincoln.

Meanwhile, Blacks will retain and even grow their influence in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 11:28 AM

i'll have to read more, but david's not off to a good start...see link below...


Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 11:55 AM

it's always good to come across positive well intentioned people of color but I have to ask you if you could give me some clarity on why you feel we should still follow the euro american political doctrine. Don't you think the political arena has reached critical mass with the recycled rhetoric?

viewing culture and politics from an analytical perspective has been tested in this country for some time now and I for one think it's time to evolve.

Posted by: afritheory at July 25, 2005 01:34 PM

Evolve into what? With a two party democracy we should end up with end up with a president supported by atleast %51 of the country.

Posted by: matt at July 25, 2005 02:21 PM

So, matt, is it safe to say that you still believe in this political system?

Posted by: afritheory at July 25, 2005 02:46 PM

The economic system works. Republicans say don't believe in the government.

Posted by: cobb at July 25, 2005 02:54 PM

It may work in the theoretical sense, but in the real world it has proven an inadequate shield against the insatiable greed and lust of men.

Man is flawed and we need a system that works more within the reigns of commonsense.

Commonsense > intelligence

There is no true difference between either political party once you've trimmed the fat.

Posted by: afritheory at July 25, 2005 03:21 PM

Oh, there's enough to get you a face full of rotten vegetables in plenty of places. I say the difference is real and significant and that people ought to make a reasonable choice.

Posted by: Cobb at July 25, 2005 03:25 PM

The economic system works. Republicans say don't believe in the government.

... unless you have enough cash to place in their pockets so that they can legislate to your liking.

Posted by: DarkStar [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 03:39 PM

Again, it all looks good on paper but there are too many distractions in the real world that make what you say highly unlikely. With the present system of policy the phrase “lesser of two evils” comes to mind. Judging by the things we gravitate towards in this country, I’d say that the majority of Americans are quite infantile. Only a handful gives deeper thought to such issues that are of real concern and those pale in comparison to the ignorant and topical mass that really count as votes.

Posted by: afritheory at July 25, 2005 03:40 PM

I met and heard the author of the California Target Book, which is essentially the campaign manager's bible. According to this cat Hoffenblum, there are two sets of constituencies. There are the 86%ers and the 14%ers. The 14%ers are thoughtful, intellectual, and fairly partisan and sure of themselves. They can be counted on to vote in any election. They know what they want and they know which party gives them what they want. They're not necessarily die-hards but they might be. You basically have to convince these people with facts.
The 86%ers on the other hand are the people you appeal to with 'get out the vote' and they are the electorate that can be swayed depending on what you hype in your campaign. They are fundamentally undecided. This theory may not be iron clad, any year it might be 20% vs 80%, but the implications of this understanding by a greybeard campaign advisor and manager is not idle speculation.
I interpret this to mean (and confirm my suspicions) that the majority of Americans are not being reached based on their permanent interests, but rather based upon what sentiments they are willing to support on election day, if they bother to get out of bed at all. That being the case it only gives more support to the basic conservative concept that one should not depend upon the popularity of political agreements to bring sustained economic development.

Posted by: Cobb at July 25, 2005 03:56 PM

The majority of Americans are not being reached because man’s obsession for power (in this case policy) this obsession has far exceeded it’s moral and ethical limits. I’m sure the statistical data is accurate but the problem lies with trying to find that happy medium between intellectualism and humility. The problem is that intellectuals rely too much on facts (which can be manipulated depending on $$$) and not enough on rational thought.
The 86%ers are just chum to be manipulated swayed or not counted in most cases. The conservative concept has its merits. But I truly feel that it’s time for something totally new and radical because we are only cheating our country and ourselves by working within a flawed and antiquated system.

Posted by: afritheory at July 25, 2005 04:32 PM

Well, there's political reform and there is economic reform. The political reform is coming, from this very medium. Make no mistake about that, the snowball is already rolling. With a little bit of luck, I'll see a piece of that - everybody knows the old duffers at the yacht club don't understand the internet. Too bad some brothers in India heard that before some brothers from the 'hood - then again, who am I to second-guess the great wisdom of the masses?

Economic reform means learning how the stock market works, and the bond market and the commodities market. It's a lot easier to do that in Zimbabwe then it is to do so in the USA - I don't know why progressives believe (especially Afrocentric progressives) that their prospects for changing the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve stand a chance. Ujamaa all you want in the hood, you still live under the American law of contracts, which by the way works so well that everybody in the world trusts it. You can't break the US without breaking the world, so why try? Resistance is futile.

The Man is invisible, but the Fortune 500 is owned by the public. You too can be a shareholder. Many a fantasy about hegemony has been devastated by real experience in capital markets, it wakes you up to smell the reality. In my mind the question is the same whichever dimension you aim at - are you going to be a Player or not? You would have thought that brothers would have ingested the import of Douglass and X by now. You can't just talk The Man down, you have to knock him down, and if you're going to use rhetorical sticks and stones, then you may as well leverage a majority. There's no way to do that in the minority party, that's why the silly little minority of the Christian Right is jumping up and down about the Supreme Court right now. They are players because they invested in the system that works. Others are not players because they haven't.

Posted by: Cobb at July 25, 2005 05:43 PM

If Ken Blackwell gets elected Governor of Ohio, peoples perceptions will change. You mentioned RDBMS and more and more young people are educated and not tied to party ideology. The Democrats today are controlled by the northeast liberals such as Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry. What percentage of Blacks are Christian. Howard Dean says Republicans are the party of white Christians. Dean is the perfect example of rich Park Avenue raised Democrat. There is disconnect today of Democrats from Harry Truman. I was in school and was at Truman's parade in 1949. Condi Rice has more support than any single person for the Republican nomination in 2008. Is she not Black because of education and Stanford connection? I am an Army brat so I was not raised in the "real world".
James M. Barber

Posted by: James M. Barber at July 25, 2005 08:41 PM

Something I'd like to interject. All of you should read the Book of Revelation to learn how the story ends. China's refusal to accept the American dollar as the standard for economics portends the advent of the world economy. The beast will soon have everyone agreeding to a world economic system that everyone will accept after the Body of Christ (The Church) is raptured. When that happens democracy(republicans/democrats) will be irrelevant.The houses and land left will be divided by the Beast who will bring about world unity and no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. It is on the horizon as China moves to become "westernized" with a need for oil,heretofore, not needed. The stage is set. Read Revelation to hear how it all ends. It's important not to be cut short as there is a distinction between God and mammon. This world and it's economic system will shortly disolve into a global economic world system that people around the world will welcome. Check it out! It's worth the read! Mom

Posted by: Anonymous at July 26, 2005 12:01 AM

Did it insult you, as either a black or a republican, when the republicans sent Alan Keyes to Illinois to take on Obama when his republican opponent bowed out? It was a very cynical move in my estimation, and really calls into question just how the republican leadership views blacks.

Regarding a world economy, didn't we get there a long time ago?

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2005 09:52 AM

I thought it was a dumb move to send Keyes to Illinois. Actually, I think it's a dumb move to send Keyes anywhere. He can't win in his own home state, why would he win anywhere else?

I understand that Keyes is like John Amos. As long as there are only a few black Republicans the best aren't going to be good enough. Sure there are blackfolks who loved 'Good Times' but it wasn't allowed in my house. The Republcians don't have great black politicians because we haven't sent them any. So I don't expect more until we do more.

Posted by: Cobb at July 26, 2005 10:26 AM

Or maybe because blacks can't seem to get any traction inside the party since the party doesn't take blacks seriously. The Democrats at least realize blacks can win elections, so they will help a black candidate who might be running against a white candidate. But republicans are not used to trying to defeat a white candidate with a black candidate. I imagine some could never embrace that notion.

Which is why I am so amused at the talking point republicans use that the democrats take blacks for granted. At least the are some black democratic elected officials. It's the republicans who seemingly only want votes and dollars, not candidates.

Posted by: Anonymous at July 26, 2005 12:19 PM

You have to know how to speak Republican, you have to understand where they are coming from. Once you do so, then you will recognize the factions within the party.

How do you suppose it is that the Log Cabin Republicans get attention to their agenda? How could there be anything further from the stereotype than a gay Republican, but the fact of the matter is, that they are a constant presence at all major Republican functions. It's all about being a player on the inside. *I* don't take 'blacks' seriously, but I know when and how to deal with serious blacks. It is inevitable that the Republican party will deal with serious blackfolks, and I have yet to be disrespected. How seriously am I supposed to take the word of anonymous blackfolks about what the Republican party is when I'm the one who has been to the functions (and invited too, I might add) and they have not?

It really doesn't disturb or upset me that I am telling readers what it is like to be Republican, and it's simple enough to read other members of The Conservative Brotherhood to eyeball political diversity within the black Right. But hey, why listen to brothers on the inside when you can depend on black popular sentiment?

Posted by: Cobb at July 26, 2005 01:10 PM

Mom, I would suggest that you check out La Shawn Barber for a Christian perspective on domestic politics. I don't go there. You certainly know as well as anyone that as a confirmed Episcopalian, I don't take the prophesies of the New Testament as seriously as do members of the Pentacostal orders. You also might be surprised to know how many Christians there are in China, fwiw.

Posted by: Cobb at July 26, 2005 01:21 PM

That is very close to saying "I" have never been stopped by the Police for DWB, therefore I question how widespread the practice is.

Do you think the republicans really want a large influx of black voters in their ranks? Suppose black voters grew to be approximately 9% of the republican base. (That's above the historic tipping point to trigger white flight.) And suppose further, that the 9% behaved like an interest group. I know black republicans believe they are individuals without group identity, but what would the republican leadership be likely to do?

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2005 01:32 PM

with regards to your response yesterday after my comment, I'd have to say you've made a strong point for trying to beat "the man" at his own game by political and economical reform but I think this approach gives our antagonist a cushion to properly respond. And in case you haven't noticed, the world is already broken and in a horrible state of flux. It's all about momemtum, statistics and $$$ my brother. No matter how well a few of us become in the political arena, society prevents true unity through media and materialism. that's why viacom purchased bet. and I think the world is more afraid than trusting of the US because we are the last true super power. I guess my arguement will be more relevant in the next 50years or so. Politicians have let US jobs go abroad and big business lie their arces off.
I have a friend or two on wall street and what I've seen and heard from them makes me sick to my stomache. It's Vegas on steroids.

Posted by: afritheory at July 26, 2005 02:50 PM

Nobody is pretending that being in the Republican Party is a walk in the park. I've already priced out the cost of intolerance and straight out racism. But like MLK I'm marching straight into the heart of Dixie, I'm not like Malcolm X whistling dixie a safe distance away. The bottom line is that if the Republican party has political power that is worth pursuing, then it's worth pursuing. Everything else is whining.

I fully expect that it will be a younger generation of African Americans who will waltz into the Republican party while their elders bite their nails, just like the Little Rock Nine. If you can't hang or are needy of the warm fluffy self-esteem that the Democrats offer, fine. I honestly believe that black bipartisanship will result in a greater representation of black interests - it's patently obvious that the Democrats have already alienated a significant share of the black electorate. Many of them are satisfied sitting on the 'independent' sidelines. Morally superior yet politically impotent. Whatever.

Posted by: cobb at July 26, 2005 03:44 PM

Uh-oh, the handy black nationalist strawman. "The Dems give you a few party positions and some self esteem, but ignore you." I'm beginning to think they give black republicans a handbook.

No fear of white flight amongst the republican regulars when the hip-hopper come a-knocking, as you predict? Can't wait to see Ann Coulter and Nelly in an embrace at the RNC 2008.

I won't begrudge you joining the Republican party, and I am open for hearing the wonderful things the Republicans plan to do to help black politicians win elections.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2005 05:11 PM

What do I care about white flight? Do you think whitefolks left Merrill Lynch when blacks started buying stocks and bonds? Did whites leave Yale when blacks showed up on campus? This isn't about getting what white people covet, this is about getting what's good.

As for black politicians winning office, it's part of the equation. If they'll send Keyes to Illinois, imagine what they'll do for Steele. But we don't have to imagine, we'll just sit back and watch. Funny thing is, this is an easy bet.

As for the wonderful things, I'll just tell you that this blog has just been offered distribution on a Conservative email list of over 100,000 members. Where are black Democrats in the blogosphere?

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2005 09:53 PM

You think the blogosphere will turn the tide? It's only an inch deep.

You can't send carpetbaggers and hope to win elections. It has to be homegrown. How much longer before a cadre of black republican elected officials break through?

Posted by: Anonymous at July 27, 2005 09:10 AM

Just a quick point about the whistling - of music or of bullets - Malcolm was killed before King - and their deaths served the same interests and decimated the same communities. If you're going to go there, this conversation will degenerate in a hurry.

Posted by: Temple3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2005 09:53 AM

You think the blogosphere will turn the tide? It's only an inch deep.

You can't send carpetbaggers and hope to win elections. It has to be homegrown. How much longer before a cadre of black republican elected officials break through? JC Watts waited so long, it finally dawned on him that he was the exception that proved the rule.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2005 09:55 AM

Regarding white flight, the current republican base in the south are white flighters from the democratic party. It began probably in the mid-sixties, through the seventies, fully flowering with the 1980 election of Reagan.

If the wave of young blacks come into the party as you predict, there is some other predictable behavior you can expect as well. Southern Republicans don't love all Republicans.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2005 10:04 AM