01 Nov 2012
- Written by Raynard Jackson
During the past year, as my columns have been syndicated to more outlets throughout the world, I have been asked by many leaders in the Republican Party why I am so critical. The short answer is that I am very concerned about the direction my party is taking. It has increasingly become the party of old, white, balding males.
To those I have had these conversations with, my response was quite pointed, "Stop questioning my motives and address the issues that I write about."
Last week, John Sununu made another racially incendiary comment towards a prominent black. First, he called President Obama "lazy" and now accuses Colin Powell of supporting Obama only because Obama is black. Sununu is national co-chair for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. What has been Romney's response to Sununu's rhetoric? Absolutely nothing. Whether Obama and Powell are black is not the issue; Sununu's use of race-baiting language is unacceptable.
Romney's refusal to distance himself from the likes of Sununu, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, or Sarah Palin is repulsive to me. We are supposed to be a party of principles. Does Romney want to be president so bad that he is willing to forfeit these principles?
Do Romney and the Republican Party not understand or care that Sununu has thoroughly offended blacks specifically with his comments about Obama and Powell; but also Americans of good will in general. Why is my party loyalty always called into question when I criticize a Republican who crosses the line into racially charged language?
Fortunately, there are a few white Republicans willing to stand up to Sununu. Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told Ed Schultz on MSNBC, "Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable."
It's too bad that Romney does not exemplify that same courage.
I am a child of God first, then an American, and then a Republican. I will not check my blackness at the door because I am a Republican. The language coming from Sununu and my party is counter to the founding principles of the party that I am a proud member of.
So, to those in the leadership of my party, do you really want to know why I come across as "angry" (their words)? Let me tell you a few things I have never stated publically.
For many years, I have approached the party and its supporters about underwriting programs to bring together blacks who are Republican or lean Republican so we can weave them into every facet of the party structure. The answer is always, no!
But, twice this year some of these same people have approached me about funding for some election year tricks that they (white Republicans) have conjured up and simply need a black face to execute the plan. On these two separate occasions, these funders were willing to spend upwards of $20 million to have me organize a national campaign to identify blacks who would be critical of President Obama.
I was deeply offended by these approaches, but it's not the first time in my life that I have had similar conversations within the party. So, the party and its funders will spend millions on negative initiatives within the black community, but are not willing to spend a fraction of that amount on something substantive and positive.
I joined the Republican Party upon graduating from Oral Roberts University because I believed in the principles the party espoused: lower taxes, especially for job creation for small businesses; equality of opportunity for all; a party based on Christian principles, to name a few.
I was brought into the Republican Party by the likes of Bill White, Curtis Crawford, Art Fletcher, Ed Brooke, Bill Coleman, and Sam Cornelius. These are legendary black Republicans who are responsible for me being where I am today.
Once in the party, I was further schooled on Republican principles by the likes of William H.T. "Bucky" Bush (brother to Bush 41), Bert Walker (cousin to Bush 41), George H.W. Bush, Robert Mosbacher (former Secretary of Commerce), James M. Baker (former Secretary of State), and Jack Kemp.
These people are part of my political DNA and explain why I am the type of Republican that I am. Sununu could not have existed in the Republican Party that I joined in the 1980s. Donald Trump would not have been allowed to have a role. "Ole man Bush" (my term of endearment for him) or Jim Baker would not have allowed this to happen because they and the party back then had principles that were non-negotiable.
Romney and all the other leaders of the party are too afraid of taking principled stands when it comes to blacks and issues of race. They are too afraid of alienating the right wing of the party.
I will not vote for Obama because he has totally insulted the black community at every opportunity (I refer you to his speech before the Congressional Black Caucus last year as exhibit A); and I cannot vote for Romney because he has basically, with his silence, endorsed the behavior of the likes of Sununu, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.
I take my stand based on my principles. Romney and the Republican Party, what are you basing your stand on?
(Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm.)