Saturday, July 24, 2004
In his speech to the Urban League, George Bush posed a series of questions about the loyalty of African-American voters to the Democratic party. (I copied and pasted them from Instapundit) I think these are questions worth responding to.
1) Does the Democratic party take African American voters for granted?
I think this position is frankly ridiculous. There is NO constituency that the Democrats have catered to more than the black community. I defy you to come up with a single example in which the Democrats have not championed a cause that was clearly in the interests of the whole black community (things like reparations are matters of dispute). The death penalty, affirmative action, aid to cities, aid to education, etc.
2) Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party?
Theoretically, of course, the answer is no. It would be nice if every demographic group was evenly split between the parties, because it means our society would be very unified. But this is simply unrealistic. There have always been groups which have been solidly behind one party of the other. If blacks should start voting for Republicans to gain more influence in that party, then the christian right should start voting for Democrats. See how silly that sounds?
Blacks vote for Democrats because of the question to answer one: they defend their interests. Of course, the other reasons blacks are monolithically in favor of the Democrats is because the Republican party still uses them as a wedge issue in the South. No one is going to vote for a party that buddies up to people that hate them. This is why gays are defecting to the Dems too.
3) How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete?
see the answer to question two.
4) Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community?
I'm not entirely sure what Bush is getting at. If he's talking about the Great Society, War on Poverty, attempts to get health care, and the like, then the answer is clearly yes. Between 1960 and 1980, when liberals controlled social policy in this country, 2/3 of black americans entered the middle class. In the 1990's, you saw real economic advances. When the Republicans have controlled the agenda, the condition of blacks has been stable or declined. So you do the math.
5) Does blocking the faith-based initiative help neighborhoods where the only social service provider could be a church?
This ignores the fact that Democrats want to increase the number of service providers, so that a church is not the only solution. This is a good example of the fallacy of binary opposition. You say: You can either have A or B. B is no good, so you must take A. Which ignores the possibilities of C, D, Q and Z.
6) Does the status quo in education really, really help the children of this country?
This argument assumes that Democrats in favor of the status quo in education. Which is patently false. Democrats have come out in favor of smaller class sizes, school construction, more teacher pay, and public school choice. The Republicans have opposed all those things in favor of the panacea of the school choice.
7) Does class warfare -- has class warfare or higher taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city?
By class warfare, do you mean redistributing income from upper income earners and guaranteeing opportunities for the middle and working class? Or do you mean regulating corporate america and defending labor unions? And by high taxes, do you mean not blowing a hole in the deficit or arguing for progressive taxation? Because if you do, then the black community, which is disproportionately poor and middle class, clearly benefits from Democratic policies.
Are you satisfied with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness to the problem of the family?
Crime: the Democratic strategy on crime works (witness the fall in crime rates in the 1990's) and the Republicans' doesn't (longer and more sentences, higher crime rates).
Drugs: Republicans' approach of just throwing people in prison for life and denying treatment is both inhuman and ineffective. And Bush's neglect of Afghanistan has led to an increase in poppy production, which will lower the price of heroin.
Family: Democrats supported welfare reform, if that's what he's getting at. Or is Bush just bashing gays here? Because I don't think discrimination against unpopular minorities is going to sell very well among AFRICAN-AMERICANS.
What's fun about all this is that most of the black community already knows it, which is why Bush has an 85% disapproval rating among African-American.
Go fish, George.