Just a few years after the Republican Party launched a highly publicized diversity effort, the GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor.
At a time when Democrats are poised to knock down a historic racial barrier with their presidential nominee, the GOP is fielding only a handful of minority candidates for Congress or statehouses — none of whom seem to have a prayer of victory.
At the start of the Bush years, the Republican National Committee — in tandem with the White House — vowed to usher in a new era of GOP minority outreach. As George W. Bush winds down his presidency, Republicans are now on the verge of going six — and probably more — years without an African-American governor, senator or House member.
That’s the longest such streak since the 1980s.
Republicans will have only one minority governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an Indian-American, when the dust settles on the ’08 elections. Democrats have three minority governors and 43 African-American members of Congress, including one — Illinois Sen. Barack Obama — who is their likely presidential nominee. Democrats also have several challengers in winnable House races who are either black or Hispanic.
While I deplore identity politics as practiced by the Dems I think it is important to seek out qualified candidates of every ethnicity, if only to highlight the fact that conservatism has appeal to all Americans. The fact that the Republicans have dropped the ball in this area, as in so many others is inexcusable.
Of course what isn't mentioned in this article is the fact that the GOP has also dropped the ball on fielding conservative candidates, the House and Senate having become institutions barren of any real conservative principle. Amazingly the party seems incapable of spotting their own failings and "brainstorming" sessions take on the aspect of "farce" where "senior advisors" agitate for more moderate Republicanism, i.e. a Republicanism that is a pale reflection of liberalism.
The difficulty of a swift reinvention was on display last week as the central players in Washington's conservative community gathered for their regular strategy session.Sure they would. Playing me-too with liberals on global warming and immigration among other issues will leave the voters to decide between the Dems and their imitators and I've never seen an imitator more appealing than the original so the Republicans are playing a doomed hand. They now have little appeal to minorities and conservatives and certainly not to liberals. Who exactly do they think is left to vote for them?
A senior adviser to the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain, was on hand along with the Republican Party's national chairman to make the case for McCain's brand of Republicanism.
McCain's approach — tough on taxes but receptive to immigrants and committed to easing global warming — could help paint the GOP in new colors, more attractive to independent voters, Hispanics and women.
Some GOP leaders now say that by embracing McCain and his policy platform, Republicans would instantly "rebrand" and reinvigorate their party.
Somewhere Ronald Reagan is weeping.