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July 11, 2012

Column #1,611

Should Blacks Vote for Romney?

By Mike McManus

            Mitt Romney had the courage to address the NAACP and did such an outstanding job that he frequently was applauded. Ultimately he sparked a standing ovation.

            “With 90% of African-American who typically vote for Democrats, why would a Republican campaign in the African-American community?” he asked. 

            First, as President he wanted to represent “all Americans.” Second, he rejected the frequent criticism that he is “running for the rich.  Nonsense. They will do fine whether I am elected or not.  I want to make this a campaign to help the middle class, and to lift people into the middle class, to help people from becoming poor in the first place.”

            How?  He noted a Brookings study which reported that “those who graduate from high school, who get a full-time job, and  wait until 21 before they marry, and then have their first child , the probability  of becoming poor is two percent. And if those factors are absent, the probability of being poor is 72%.”

            Surely, that is a message blacks need to hear, where 73% of babies are born out-of-wedlock. The crowd remained quiet.

            However, Romney quickly moved on another important issue, quoting former NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks as saying that the family “remains the bulwark and the mainstay of the black community.”  

            Then he added, “This great truth must not be overlooked. Any policy that lifts up and honors the family is going to be good for the country, and that must be our goal.  As President I will promote strong families – and I will defend traditional marriage.”

            The NAACP crowd gave him his first sustained applause.  And this was by a liberal group that recently officially endorsed “same-sex marriage” (SSM)!

However, in my state of Maryland, African American churches took the lead – with the Catholic Church – in securing three times as many signatures as were needed to put SSM on the ballot this fall.  Liberal churches and many conservative ones, such as Orthodox congregations, were absent in the drive. I know.  I tried to persuade them to allow petitions to be signed after services. They refused.

Similarly, in the fight for Proposition 8 in California to pass a Constitutional Amendment to limit marriage to the union of a man and a woman – black support was decisive in the 52%-48% victory, in a deeply liberal state supporting Obama over McCain by a crushing 26% margin.

Romney had kind words about Obama, who “called me to congratulate me on securing the nomination, it was a gracious call.”  And he added, “to some of us in the 1950’s and 60’s, if we were told that a black citizen would be elected President, we would have thought that would have been the last door of opportunity to open.

“However, many barriers remain. If we had equal opportunity in America, the economy would be equally good or bad for all, but the average median income is worse in black  families, and while unemployment overall remained steady at 8.2% in June, it went up for African Americans from 13.6% to 14.4%.” 

“If there were equal opportunity, a black family could send their kids to schools with promise. Yet blacks who are 17% of school population, are 42% of those in the worst performing schools.” He quoted Frederick Douglas that “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” igniting applause.

Romney noted that when he was governor of Massachusetts, on a statewide basis, students “took the top spot” in America in reading and math scores.  How?  To graduate from high school, kids had to pass exams in science, math and English, and the top 25% got full scholarships to state schools!  Also, the white-black achievement gap narrowed.

As President he pledged to “give the parents of every low income student a chance to send their kids to any school,” drawing brisk applause.

He also had a five point plan for creating jobs:

1.       “Approve energy development, such as the Keystone Pipeline, to lower energy costs and bring back a million jobs.

2.      “Open new markets for American goods abroad, but clamp down on cheaters like China, and make sure they don’t steal jobs.

3.      “Reduce government spending.  I will eliminate every non-essential program, starting with Obamacare.”  NO, NO the crowd shouted, with sustained booing. Romney waited, and added that the Chamber of Commerce polled its members on Obamacare and found it would make them ”less likely to hire people.”

4.      Train skilled workers...

5.      “Restore economic freedom,” so that “dreamers who innovate will flourish and not be crushed by excessive regulations.”


He concluded, “With the NAACP, more victories lie ahead,” getting a standing ovation.

Copyright © 2012 Michael J. McManus is a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers.

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