Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mitt Romney Scores Big Win in Speech to NAACP

Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President, accepted an invitation to speak to the NAACP convention being held in Houston this week. To say that he smashed a couple of stereotypes as he made that speech is an understatement. Though promoted in the local media as a "surprise" that Romney accepted the invitation to speak, as a NAACP vice president did on a local Sunday morning show, that spin won't work. Not only is it not a surprise to anyone willing to honestly look at the record of Mitt Romney in public office and private life, it should also be noted that his father, former Michigan governor and conservative activist, marched for civil rights back in his day. So much for that feign of surprise that Romney isn't some kind of racist.

Mitt Romney comes out the victor in this political tussle. He accepted the invitation to speak - something that Barack Obama did not do - and walked on stage in full confidence mode. He was met with a standing ovation from the crowd, to their credit. There were many times that spontaneous applause broke out during the speech. There were a couple of times that boos were heard, too. One long, sustained boo from the crowd happened when Romney dared to tell the truth - that Obamacare is a job killer and he will repeal it if he is elected. Romney waited for the boos to stop and then went off teleprompter and explained the follies of Obamacare from the perspective of job creators. That is something Barack Obama is incapable of doing and would not do anyway. Mitt Romney knocked it out of the auditorium with his words on education reform. The crowd clearly approved of his message. He spoke of the need to put education dollars to follow the student, not to simply do to the schools. He spoke of the need for expansion of charter schools and school choice. That is a clear winner with those who are raising children in poor and urban areas. The full transcript from Romney's speech can be found HERE.
I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the President has set has not done that — and will not do that. My course will. When President Obama called to congratulate me on becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, he said that he, “looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future.” To date, I’m afraid that his campaign has taken a different course than that. But, in campaigns at their best, voters can expect a clear choice, and candidates can expect a fair hearing — only more so from a venerable organization like this one. So, it is that healthy debate about the course of the nation that I want to discuss with you today. If someone had told us in the 1950s or 1960s that a black citizen would serve as the forty-fourth president, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised. Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened. Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have come down. Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before. And across America -- and even within your own ranks -- there are serious, honest debates about the way forward. If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community. In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent. Americans of every background are asking when this economy will finally recover — and you, in particular, are entitled to an answer. If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the hope of a better life. Instead, for generations, the African-American community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept. Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide — but they are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools. Our society sends them into mediocre schools and expects them to perform with excellence, and that is not fair. Frederick Douglass observed that, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Yet, instead of preparing these children for life, too many schools set them up for failure. Everyone in this room knows that we owe them better than that. The path of inequality often leads to lost opportunity. College, graduate school, and first jobs should be milestones marking the passage from childhood to adulthood. But for too many disadvantaged young people, these goals seem unattainable — and their lives take a tragic turn. Many live in neighborhoods filled with violence and fear, and empty of opportunity. Their impatience for real change is understandable. They are entitled to feel that life in America should be better than this. They are told even now to wait for improvements in our economy and in our schools, but it seems to me that these Americans have waited long enough. The point is that when decades of the same promises keep producing the same failures, then it’s reasonable to rethink our approach — and consider a new plan.
The proof that this section of Romney's speech was particularly affective is that Obama surrogate Joe Biden made a point of saying that education policy is tucked far away on the back burner for the Romney campaign, in his speech Thursday morning to the NAACP. The proof of the victory Romney scored in his very acceptance of this invitation was underscored in the desperate attempt of all of the media outlets trying to maintain the Obama narrative that Romney is out of touch and of course, the narrative that Republicans are racists. All media, both local here in Houston and nationally, played the part of the speech when Romney was solidly booed over his words on Obamacare as the lead of their reports on the convention speech. It was the quick and easy way to report on the event. Romney also received a standing ovation as he left the stage. He remained strong in his positions and didn't pander to the crowd. He has found a second wind in his campaign, it appears, and he has a new confidence about him. This plays well to all audiences. There was never any misconception that Romney would find a friendly audience ready to hang on his every word. There was never any hope that for once the Democratic black voter would consider a Republican candidate for President. It's not going to happen. It's certainly not going to happen with a black candidate for president. It is a shame that this current president shows this loyal group nothing but disrespect by not accepting their invitation to appear before them since he received their votes in 2008 yet goes next week to Austin to do a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. He takes their support for granted and they reward him. Old habits die hard. The party that counted on bringing generations of poor Americans under the patronship of government programs, thus guaranteeing a consistent voting block, preys on this dependence. They use scare tactics and they use blind loyalty to their benefit. Plus, black unemployment is almost double that of any other group. Where exactly are the rewards for this loyalty? Mitt Romney is a winner. He is a leader. He is not afraid to face opposition. Remember, he worked with a legislature in Massachusetts that was overwhelmingly Democratic in his days as governor, which prepared him for this day. Mitt Romney won by simply showing up.


namaste said...

excellent post, karen. love your thought-provoking insights, as usual.

Anonymous said...

oh dear, you really believe this, don't you?