How Many Black Republicans Can You Fix Into One Room?
If you answered “not many” you would be absolutely correct. BAMPAC (Black America’s Political Action Committee) is charged with finding and delivering qualified candidates of the “darker persuasion.” It’s difficult but not necessarily impossible; especially at a reception Monday at the W Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. For some working the crowd it was chance to share success and challenges. They come from varied places Texas, Indianapolis, North Carolina and New Hampshire (I didn’t know there was a mass of Black Humanity in the New England State). The mantra from the success stories seems to be communication. “You’ve got to go into communities and talk to people,” according to Mayor Yvonne Brown of Tchula, Mississippi. Convincing African-Americans to listen is difficult. Personal relationships are different. There is an air of compatibility when you talk to someone with out the baggage of party.While BAMPAC has attracted major white donors they haven’t translated that into a real ground swell of support in the Black community. When you look at the supporters and founders of the political action committee some are lightening rods with negatives rivaling President George Bush. Included in that group are Armstrong Williams, Allen Keyes, and Jackie Cissell. What was interesting at this event is the new breed of GOP supporter. They are young, confident in their Blackness and yearning for acceptance beyond the party apparatus. Yes they are conservative and may be closer to “compassionate conservative” than the president. So who are some these new individuals. People like Joseph Phillips (you know him from the Cosby Show character Navy Lt. Martin Kendall) a frequent commentator on the Tavis Smiley Show; Alvin Williams the CEO of BAMPAC and more importantly the brother of Armstrong Williams; and Olga Morgan Wright of North Carolina who bucked the Democratic trend in the Tar Heel state and is running for the House of Representatives.One of the oddities spotted at this event was Washington, DC Mayor Anthony Williams. Williams has been challenged at home for his pro-republican stance on school vouchers. He sums up his support for this issue as standing up for the District of Columbia. “We need to have Black people in both parties,” according to his honor.One of the biggest disappoints for Black Women of the GOP was cancellation of the Black Women International Minority Forum and Reception Honoring Minorities in Business. “What’s up with that?”The major flap over Maryland's Governor Bob Erhlich’s comment calling the Maryland Democrats racist because they blindly take black vote for granted was a low point. I asked Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele his interpretation of the morning address by the governor and was literally stunned when he agreed. He framed the comment in these terms, “the last time I check the schools (Baltimore) were failing, the two populus ares of the state had the highest unemployment rates, and there was little creation of jobs.”Tomorrow get ready for reaction to Steele’s speech and the reaction.