Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Here’s the speech, and here are the WaPo, WaTi, and NYT stories on it.

As a tour of domestic policy, the speech contains references to a number of programs African-Americans ought to like, although I wish he had omitted the adjective in front of "school choice." (I know that it’s late in the day and that he doesn’t have the surfeit of political capital required to make it happen in a big way. I also know that education ought largely to be a state and local responsibility.) I am glad that he emphasized ownership, opportunity, and the faith-based initiative, which have been his constant themes in speeches to organizations like the Urban League (whose national meetings he has addressed three times: see here, here, and here).

I do find myself wishing he had been a little bolder, going beyond self-deprecating humor in adverting to his differences with the NAACP’s agenda, which is apparently permanently statist, where his is--and I know some conservatives will disagree with me here--only temporarily so. As it was, all the differences were implicit, and GWB never explicitly said that there will come a time when the playing field is genuinely level, when, for example, the Voting Rights Act (and affirmative action, not mentioned at all in the speech) will no longer be necessary. Imagine the reaction if he had said that he hoped that this would be the last time that it was necessary to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act! What a powerful demand for accountability and results, not to mention a claim that this is not to be the permanent state of things in America! But the audience would likely have booed him out of the house. Too bad.

Update: Given that his administration is proposing this, I’d say he missed an opportunity to tout a program.

Discussions - 8 Comments

I do find myself wishing he had been a little bolder, going beyond self-deprecating humor in adverting to his differences with the NAACP’s agenda, which is apparently permanently statist, where his is--and I know some conservatives will disagree with me here--only temporarily so.

Got that right.

I don’t know if I would’ve gone if I were in his shoes. They’re openly hostile toward him.

[President’s speech]I was honored that Dr. Hooks took time to visit with me. He talked about the hardships of the movement. With the gentle wisdom that comes from experience, he made it clear we must work as one. And that’s why I’ve come today.

I bet that was the prime motivator for his decision to go to the conference.

As far as the self-deprecating humor, that was clearly done to ease tnesions in the room, to humanize Bush, and to get Bush more comfortable with the speech.

All in all, a good speech. Not sure what I’d add or edit. It will be interesting to see/read the follow on reaction.

Bush is not leading here. He is following, and he is following a brain-dead, sclerotic, arrogant, mean-spirited "civil rights" establishment that stopped thinking a good thirty years ago and now engages in bullying and name-calling as almost its sole activities at least in the national arena. He should not only not have attended the NAACP convention; he should have openly refused to address them and explained his refusal pointedly, referring to the worst examples of its irrelevance and excess. There are legitimate national black organizations he can speak to and probably has spoken to. It might also be OK to address an NAACP state affiliate if it’s more constructive. But yesterday, Bush was bootlicking. It is a failure of national leadership, a failure of partisan leadership, and a failure of conservative leadership. It also looks like a failure of personal self-respect.

Predictable, but still unfortunate and disheartening.

I suppose he might have gotten more purchase out of his earth-shattering support of the Voting Rights Act if (a) he had not earlier professed ignorance of its existence, and (b) his brother’s state was not notorious for turning the 2000 election in Bush’s favor by systematically denying Blacks access to the polls, and (c) his own state had not been the site of DeLay’s redistricting debacle, another systematic, and successful effort to minimize the effect of minority votes. Given those two points, I understand a bit of hesitancy about proclaiming that Act unnecessary.

And then, there was this:

He led me out onto the balcony of Room 306. I remember Dr. Hooks pointed to the window that was still half-cracked. You know what I’m talking about, Jesse.

What did we call it when Hillary did this? "That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Bringin’ it!

Excuse me. Given those THREE points.

You know what I’m talking about, Jesse.

Huh? Are you suggesting that this is an example of Bush trying to "act black"? Since when is "you know what I’m talking about" part of the African-American vernacular?

No, I am referring to how many times Hillary was accused of "pandering" to the largely Black gathering at the Coretta Scott King funeral. Suddenly, Bush seems to spend his days with non-White "friends" observing racially sensitive and historical issues. But, I haven’t heard the word "pandering" once!

It wasn’t at Corretta Scott King’s funeral. It was at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem and it was just a bit worse pandering than just saying "and you know what I’m talking about, Jesse." It included a comparison of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to a plantation where dissenting voices are squelched.

The House "has been run like a plantation, and you know what I’m talking about,"

Yes! That is the one. Thanks, Guido

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