Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mfume Speaks
Kwame Mfume, president of the NAACP, gave his speech at 6:20 this afternoon at the Democratic National Convention. Quick question – which of the following was focused in on during the speech?
a) Bush Bashing?
b) Race Grievances?
c) Both?
d) None of the above?

Actually it was (d). The speech had some Bush bashing, but not that much. It was quite moderate in tone which was a pleasant surprise. The speech focused surprisingly little on issues of race, which one would predict a speech by the head of the NAACP would concern itself with. Rather, topics such as a woman's right to choose and the role of faith were heavily focused in on. This puzzled me at first - shouldn't the head of the NAACP be railing on Bush for not coming out stronger for Affirmative Action, or for having policies that were discriminatory in effect? Others have noticed this tendency of the NAACP to focus in on other issues as well, as this dated passage from NRO’s The Corner shows:  

To give just one example, the NAACP issues an annual report card on “key civil rights votes” taken in Congress, yet includes votes that have nothing to do with civil rights (like supporting needle-exchange programs and opposing tax cuts) and on which there is, to put it charitably, no African American unanimity (like opposing federal funding for school vouchers). Still, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, and it will be fun to quote Mr. Mfume’s words back to him in the future.

Bo Cowgill pointed out that others have commented on this as well.

The only explanation I could think of for this is pure speculation - perhaps the NAACP leadership is fighting within the Democrat party for more control, and to achieve it, they had to pay lip-service to the key issues of all the other interest groups? I'm just trying to figure out why the NAACP is acting the way it is and the only explanation I can think of is that the leaders, having given the muscle for so long now to the Democrat party, want power in the party. To take assume it, a requirement is placating the other interest groups that compromise the big tent.

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