Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


The chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties were in town today to speak at the NAACP convention taking place this week at the Midwest Airlines Center. RNC chair Ken Mehlman and DNC chair Howard Dean spoke back to back about reaching out to the African-American community.

Dean spoke of not taking the black vote for granted and returning the party to its roots:

"We have a Democratic Party that is going to go back to what it used to be by standing up for right and not being afraid and never deserting the people who brought us to the dance."

"Never again will we take another African-American vote for granted," he said.

Mehlman's comments featured an apology for the Republican Party's history of using the so-called "southern strategy" of writing off black voters and using racially charged politics to win elections:
"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," he added. "I am here as Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

Upon hearing of Mehlman's plans to give the speech today, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh lashed out at him:
"He's going to go down there and apologize for it. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of all that's going on, once again, Republicans are going to go bend over and grab the ankles."

Mehlman deserves credit for raising this. If the Republicans hope to convince African-Americans that their party has better ideas, it first has to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and build trust with voters. It's guys like Limbaugh who will continue to prevent the Republican Party from achieving that goal.


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