July 11, 2012
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
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
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
“Approve energy development,
such as the Keystone Pipeline, to lower energy costs and bring
back a million jobs.
“Open new markets
for American goods abroad, but clamp down on cheaters like
China, and make sure they don’t steal jobs.
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.”
“Train skilled workers...
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.
2012 Michael J. McManus is a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers.