Black Republicans for the most part have been conspicuously absent so far during the 2012 Presidential Primary Sweepstakes.
But, in fairness Black members of the GOP in general have perhaps been more scarce than usual in 2012 for the same reason the party’s conservative base has dragged its collective feet in embracing Willard Romney the presumptive nominee; they’re just not that into him.
But, regardless of their reticence, there is an election this November and Romney and the GOP clearly need all hands on deck if they want to take back the White House. So, where are the Black Republicans?
Well, two who have seized the spotlight most prominently during the GOP primary season from the end of 2011 into 2012 have displayed dubious political acumen and downright buffoonery at times.
Former pizza king Herman Cain – “Mr. 9-9-9” – compiled what more resembled a comedy reel than a presidential campaign (never mind the series of sexual harassment charges leveled against him which, of course is no laughing matter).
Who could forget Cain’s encounter with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last November when he badly bungled a question about President Obama’s policy on Libya during the uprising?
“Okay, Libya. (Cain paused for several seconds and cast his eyes skyward presumably looking for help). President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. I just wanted to make sure we’re talking about the same thing before I say,
`Yes, I agree’ or No I didn’t agree.’ I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason – nope, that’s a different one.” After that rambling non- answer Cain paused for several more seconds, shifted uncomfortably in his chair crossing and uncrossing his legs before he just flat gave up.
“I got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me that I agree or not agree with Obama?”
Then there was his moment during a Republican debate last August when Big Daddy Cain tossed out a little inspiration for his followers.
“A poet once said, `Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.’”
The fact is the “poet” Cain quoted was a songwriter who penned an obscure tune, “The Power of One,” for disco legend Donna Summer who recorded it for Pokemon: The Movie 2000.
Then after he got busted on the source of the quote Cain inexplicably trotted it back out during his speech to formally announce his withdrawal from the presidential race. But, at least that time he name checked Pokemon.
That’s just a couple from Herman’s hit parade, but like most great comedians Cain had a million of them; he is nothing if not entertaining.
But, when he withdrew from the race last December not only did he take with him a mountain of fodder for the late night comedy show hosts, but he left a big void as the most high profile voice of the Black GOP.
Of course there’s Michael Steele; former Maryland Lt. Governor and former chair of the Republican National Committee. But, his reasonable rhetoric and affable demeanor seem incongruent with the wild-eyed fringe that has found so much favor within the Grand Old Party therefore relegating him most often to the progressive cable network MSNBC.
I’ve heard virtually nothing from veteran Black conservative Armstrong Williams. Former television judge Larry Elder – the so-called “Sage from South Central” – made a brief appearance to ambush “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews during a radio interview a couple of weeks ago. And I haven’t seen former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts since he reared his head for just a minute, a couple of months ago to throw his support behind the now defunct candidacy of Rick Santorum.
But, just when you thought the Barbary Coast was clear, here comes the new king of the Black GOP fringe Florida Rep. Allen West, who perhaps delivered the most bizarre and psychotic political quip of 2012.
“About 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” said the Tea Party favorite last week during a town hall meeting in Palm City, Fla.
The men and women West is talking about are his colleagues – whether he likes it or not – in the United States House of Representatives. West attempted to illuminate his comment a bit.
“No, they actually don’t hide it. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” West said.
Forget the fact last December, West likened the Democratic spin machine to the work of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
With statements like these it seems West is determined to drop the “Black” from his title, king of the Black GOP fringe; he just wants to be the unquestioned king of the GOP fringe with no regard to race.
Now, that’s what I call post-racial America.