They Must Think We've Been Sniffing Our Sharpies To Fall For This Excuse

From the New York Daily News:

"Top republican presidential candidates yesterday blamed scheduling problems - not a lack of regard for black voters - for their decision to blow off a television debate this month.

Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney have all declined to participate in a Sept. 27 debate at Morgan State University, a historically black college in Maryland. Latecomer Fred Thompson still hasn't said yes or no to the debate, which will highlight second-tier GOP hopefuls.

The snubs say the candidates don't care about making a broad appeal to minority voters, charged debate moderator Tavis Smiley, who was slated to go on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" to make his case. "No one should be elected President of this country in 2008 if they think that along the way they can ignore people of color," Smiley was quoted as saying this week.

Giuliani had a rocky relationship with the African-American community while mayor. But spokeswoman Maria Comella said the issue was scheduling. "Our campaign has had to make tough decisions, based on the accelerated schedule and fund-raising demands, about the number [of debates] we can realistically participate in," she said.

The Romney and McCain campaigns also blamed scheduling. Team Romney forwarded a list of black Florida supporters to illustrate minority backing, and McCain spokesman Brian Rogers pointed out that McCain was "the only [Republican] candidate to RSVP to the Univision debate down in Miami, which got axed."

Democratic candidates participated in a debate on the Spanish-language TV network last Sunday and a Smiley-moderated debate on PBS over the summer.

Lorin Crenshaw of Republicans for Black Empowerment, a 1,000-member group that promotes "conservative solutions to the black community's concerns," called the candidates' decisions "insulting - and it's not helpful to our cause."

Crenshaw, who currently favors Thompson, said having top candidates ignore the event just adds to a sense that it's a waste of time trying to attract minorities to the GOP."

I thought it was silly to hold these debates so early in the game, but with caucases and primaries moved up to January, in many cases, I guess things do need to heat up. I've always suspect that a whole lot of black parents will be crying over the bodies of their murdered sons if Guiliani gets in (someone aptly described his management style as "ruthless.") I can't say it surprises me that Romney declined - does he really think he'll get any black votes? McCain, although I think his chances of becoming President are about the same as a palmetto bug living to be 30, kind of surprised me by skipping the event. Smiley has said that empty podiums will be set up with the names of the absent candidates, as well as those who did agree to participate. I personally think that will make one hell of a statement.

The debate is next Thursday and will be broadcast on PBS.


Gwyneth Bolton said...

It's a sign of the times... We have regressed so much in this society that they don't even have to pretend... Deep...


Patricia W. said...

Unfortunately, there are too many debates, and they've been too early in the campaign season.

Unfortunately, the Republican candidates don't feel they need to humor us by participating in one more.

If you have some time ('cuz there are 557 pages), read Stephen L. Carter's NEW ENGLAND WHITE. Excellent novel that explores how majority political candidates deal with minority voters, and what one group of minorities chose to do about it. I'll be blogging about this one.

bettye griffin said...

This whole race starting earlier and earlier reminds me of stores decorating for Christmas in October. I believe Iowa was trying to move their caucuses up to December . . . eleven months before the election!

But it does look like these candidates are thumbing their noses at the black vote . . . and the Hispanic as well (I did read something about them passing on a debate in Miami to be moderated by Ray Suarez, one of the reporters of the Lehrer report on PBS).

Blacks and Hispanics are the two largest minority groups in the country, and our interests include concerns not always relevant to whites, who for the most part learned about feeling unsafe on 9/11 (I feel unsafe whenever I'm pulled over by a police car). I think it's important for the candidates to express an interest in being president for all the people.

Thanks for commenting, ladies! With my sparse reading time I don't know if I can handle a 557- page book, but I'll keep Mr. Carter's title in mind when I'm done wtih the books I just ordered from Amazon.

Donna D said...

One of the reasons they've stopped courting us is we don't vote - Democratic or Republican. People just don't care enough to take the time and register and show up at the polls.

I agree in principle with the Republicans on issues that matter to me, but they are so extreme that I don't think I'd vote for any of them anyway. I'd be more inclined with a moderate or centrist Republican, but that ain't gonna happen.

Sad, too, as the Republican party is actually responsible for ending slavery (though the Democrats are responsible for Civil Rights legislation). Most people don't even think about that. And yes, I know they did it to end the war and save the union, but at least they did it - I don't care for what reason.

bettye griffin said...

Thanks for pointing out that it was the Republicans who freed our ancestors . . . I'd all but forgotten.