That Mitt Romney got booed yesterday during his speech to the NAACP shouldn't come as news to anyone. The surprising part, for me, is that he didn't pander to his audience or soften his message, but instead uttered an inconvenient truth: that President Obama's policies have made things worse for black Americans "in almost every way." The speech strikes me as a sincere appeal for black votes, as well as an appeal to conservatives like me:
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.The boos came here:
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.
I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.Then he went off-script and doubled down:
“I say again, if our priority is jobs, and that’s my priority, that’s something I’d change,” Romney said, referring to a study indicating that the healthcare law makes employers less likely to hire.Kudos to Mitt for choosing principles over pandering. And for showing up, unlike Obama:
President Obama chose not to attend this year's NAACP convention because of “scheduling” issues, aides said, explaining it was not because he did not want to appear before the nation’s most respected civil rights organization.His Royal Schedule looks pretty open to me. But Joey B's is even open-er, I guess:
This week, Vice President Joe Biden will represent the White House as the association meets in Houston.What's "easy to see" is Obama's commitment to more welfare and dependence, one of the most tragic aspects of his historic presidency. From a 2011 post:
“His commitment to the organization and the broader community is easy to see,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of the president Wednesday afternoon.
Imagine if Michelle Obama, instead of taking on the trumped-up childhood obesity epidemic, had chosen the broken black family as her pet issue. Mrs. Obama is in a unique position to do some real good. She's fully qualified to speak about the virtues of the intact black family, having emerged from one and created one of her own, and she has the ear and the admiration of the black community. But she and her husband rarely mention it.Romney talked yesterday about the critical importance of the traditional, intact family:
Of course, the Obamas' commitment to nanny-government is a huge stumbling block to an honest treatment of the issue. Another is the political incorrectness of touting the superiority of the traditional family, though the advantages it gives to children, and thus to society, are indisputable. But kids are always left out of the equation when empowerment and liberation are the goals.
I’m hopeful that together we can set a new direction, starting where many of our problems do — with the family. A study from the Brookings Institution has shown that for those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job and wait until 21 before they marry and then have their first child, the probability of being poor is 2 percent. And if those factors are absent, the probability of being poor is 76 percent.Shades of Rick Santorum, eh?
Former NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks had it exactly right. The family, he said, “remains the bulwark and the mainstay of the black community. That 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.
See also: Ed Driscoll, Jennifer Rubin, and Jim Geraghty.
Many thanks to Pew Sitter and Michelle Malkin for the links.
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