I hope MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes for the unintentionally hilarious segment on her program today regarding the prospects of the GOP wooing African-American voters in the wake of Senator Thad Cochran’s GOP primary victory in Mississippi:
Perhaps Harris-Perry should have extended an invitation to the notorious former National Review columnist John Derbyshire, who wrote in 2012:
Conservatism… is a white people’s movement, a scattering of outliers notwithstanding.
Always has been, always will be.
I have attended at least a hundred conservative gatherings, conferences, cruises, and jamborees: let me tell you, there ain’t too many raisins in that bun. I was in and out of the National Review offices for twelve years, and the only black person I saw there, other than when Herman Cain came calling, was Alex, the guy who runs the mail room.
Cochran’s victory–as aided by African-American voters–was what we call a fluke. The prospects of African-American voters–even strongly socially conservative voters–decamping the Democratic Party are tiny, especially after years of all manner and manifestation of race-based insults by Republican and conservative main-eventers against President Obama.
Heck, the supposed effort to woo African-Americans into the GOP unofficially ended eight years before Obama’s election, when Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush sucked up to the racists at Bob Jones University in February 2000. As conservative pundit John Leo noted at the time:
Nothing in Bush’s Feb. 2 talk was dishonorable or offensive. It was a standard stump speech calling for standards and discipline in public schools, respecting and rebuilding the military, and returning dignity and honor to the White House.
But he spoke under the auspices of a university that forbids interracial dating and has historically been committed to the notion that the Bible calls for the separation of the races. Bush likes to point out that his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, is married to a Mexican-American woman. What he doesn’t say is that if Jeb and Columba Bush had attended Bob Jones University, they wouldn’t have been allowed to date. A bit earlier, Mrs. Bush may not have been allowed to enroll.
Then-New York Times columnist Bob Herbert’s criticism was even sharper:
Mr. Bush’s campaign appearance at Bob Jones reminded me of Ronald Reagan’s first major appearance in the 1980 general election. Mr. Reagan chose to kick off his presidential bid in Philadelphia, Miss., which just happened to have been the place where three civil rights workers — Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney — were murdered in 1964.
During that appearance Mr. Reagan told his audience, ”I believe in states’ rights.”
For many years the Republican Party has been a haven for reactionary, right-wing and racist elements in the society. Many of its candidates have pandered to those elements.
There is not much in the way of change that can be perceived on the horizon.
Despite the outcome of last Tuesday’s primary in Mississippi, Herbert’s conclusion from nearly fifteen years ago is still true. It’s simply wrong to suggest otherwise.