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Should John McCain Court Black Voters?

John McCain

Sen. John McCain speaks during the Associated Press Annual Meeting on April 14, 2008. Alex Wong, Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong, Getty Images

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain kicked off a tour of the nation's "forgotten places" — as the Democrats are still working out who will face him in the fall.

The New York Times has more:

"... in a speech delivered against the backdrop of one of the great symbols of the civil rights movement, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, promised to hear voters concerns and be 'the president of all the people,' including those who supported his competitors.

Mr. McCain was framed in camera shots by the bridge where white police officers beat black demonstrators trying to march to Montgomery in 1965, and where Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama converged last year to commemorate the marchers. ...

Mr. McCain's advisers devised the weeklong trip as an effort to show that a Republican can appeal to some traditional Democratic voters, or at least to get Mr. McCain credit for trying. The trip is also an attempt to attract a fraction of attention to Mr. McCain's campaign during a week when the political center of the world is Pennsylvania's Democratic primary showdown between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama."

Republicans caught the ire of many black bloggers for skipping a debate on minority issues some months ago.

Now some bloggers are criticizing McCain for making the trip to Alabama, considering his vote against MLK Day in 1983.

What do you think?

Comments

 

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I'm always amazed at a Candidate's ability to flip-flop. Isn't this the same McCain who called Rev. Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Faldwell "agents of intolerance" only to accept the latter's invitation to speak at his school. Also, knowing he needed the Christian Conservative vote, sought the endorsement of John Hagee - who's more radical than the aforementioned two. Now John McCain changed his story this past weekend (months after the fact)that he didn't have anything to do with John Hagee endorsing his candidacy. My question is why doesn't he denounce the endorsement? Answer: Millions of votes are riding on that endorsement.

So this story is just following the same pattern of flip-flopping; there's a popular video on YouTube with a black lead "singer" about their love for McCain. Also, he apologized a few weeks ago for his vote against MLK day (which I thought then was a courageous move) but can he apologized for not showing up for a key debate last year aimed towards minorities?

Sent by Moji | 6:59 PM | 4-22-2008

most usa black voters are dyed-in-the-wool 'neo-marxist socialists' -- who believe that the government should tax the most productive entities of the usa

then use that revenue to support the 'materially-poor & cultural poverty' lifestyles of the most un-produtive sectors of the usa...

which the black 'neo-marxist socialists' have every right to believe/practice

mccain would be wasting his time with any attempt in appealing to this dysfunctional sector of usa black voters

he would do better by targeting usa negro professionals (non-social workers types) & negroes who own small/medium/large businesses

also mccain can write off the black ghetto n!ggas, gangster rappers, black jack-leg preachers & the black baby-mommy class...

...priceless!!!

Sent by dirtyblues | 7:16 PM | 4-22-2008

wow.. now just how did the above posting by the obviously white man republican good ole boy dirtyblues past censorship when some of my truthism got dropped i wonder..

first, there is no such thing as 'neo-marxist socialists' amongst us African folks, son... keep ya eurocentric descriptive labels to ya own kinda..ok.

second, it should be a firm bet that any person of colour who casts a vote for the racism [and race hating] mccain might as well slit their own throats cause the net effect/affects would be no different...imagine, someone who adamantly opposed the institution of MLK day in his state of Arizona coming back now all of a sudden and stating they were wrong. What is he having a PTSD flashback? What is his record on native Americans [i.e. Navajos,etc.] in the state and is he not allowing the ereection of a border fence on his backdoor step to keep brown folks away?

McCain will his ole cracker in suit self is wasting his nation's time period... too old and too flipfloppy shellshot to be functional la mesa importante los UN.

So, ah, dirty blues...take your dirty whites and add some bleach and spin cycle them some more cause i can since see the raspberries stains from the petro skinny dipping in iraq.

Sent by K Mjumbe | 2:22 AM | 4-23-2008

I prefer to be pandered to than ignored. Whether you agree with him or not, you can't knock the man for trying to reach out. Isn't that what 'bringing people together' is all about?

Sent by Bill M | 10:39 AM | 4-23-2008

repartee-- Bill M-- if mccain wanted to reach out..has he not had enough legislative time on the clock to sponsor some legislation to make the nation formally apologise for its legacy of african slavery as well as native american genocide? what is his record in this regard? Where is his work? Ignore me if you need to pandered to me when its opportune to YOUR benefit and NOT mine...please...dont bother...

'Cause as granny said foole me once...shame be unto me..but Foole me twice shame will be doubly metered out unto you...

Africans were so-called freed in 1865 but it takes until 1965 [100 years] and getting in the streets and doing a bit of burn it up to get some minor rights recognised. And during that span of 100 years, African were still indentured labours for basically free building this nation's industrial wealth basis. Now, in 2008, all the white candidates are taking about limits on immigation but i dont see these same whites rushing to the fields to pick lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries or oranges. Nor do i see them cleaning up after themselves in their office buildings daily. Do you? whose gonna do the work of cleaning up after you and picking the food for your table/mesa? It would be ludicrous assumption to even presume that Africans will metriculate BLACK to doing that work for your nation once again.

Ignore me but dont pander to me because I know my history and if you put a machete in my hand, I might be like my cousins of the sand and instead of cutting your sugar cane or chopping your cotton stalks my mind tells me to cut something else instead. Guess what?

Sent by K Mjumbe | 1:59 PM | 4-23-2008

The late William F. Buckley, Jr., had an apt description of McCain. He's conservative, but he'll never be a conservative. In other words, his ideals are conservative, but he'll never fit in with other conservatives on a personal level. That's why, when he does court the religious base of the Republican party, he looks like a lapse Catholic at his son's baptism: he knows he's supposed to do certain rituals, but his heart's not in it. Moji calls that "flip-flopy;" maybe it's flip-flopy like a fish out of water.

So far as his vote on MLK day, it's hard in retrospect to remember that the holiday didn't enjoy the level of public support it does now, such as it is. Most of the cries against the day were racist, of course, but some also didn't want to suffer the loss of either Columbus Day or Washington's Birthday (George lost that battle). Even in his home state of Arizona, the governor and the state legislature voted against it being a state holiday. Now, McCain may be a maverick, but no politician is that suicidal, especially in the state which brought us Barry Goldwater. Now that many more of us have seen the light, it's nice to see a politician apologize for being on the wrong side.

I can't explain why McCain, or most of the other Republican candidates, shunned the minority forum. If I remember correctly, McCain's campaign was circling the drain, hemorraging money. It certainly isn't an excuse, but it's a better reason than anything Romney & Giuliani could offer.

I think that McCain would do better in focusing on those conservative positions most popular among African-Americans: the right to life, school choice. Mind you, in order to do this, he has to go to those locations that, save for Jack Kemp, Republicans have dared not tread since Reconstruction. Refer back to my lapse Catholic and fish-out-of-water allusions, whichever you deem more appropriate.

@Bill M, you're spot on. When Obama sets out to attract White voters in Iowa & Wisconsin, he's bringing people together. When McCain goes to 9th Ward of New Orleans, he's pandering.

@dirtyblues, you're a racist troll. You're in my prayers, and may God have mercy on your soul.

@K Mjumbe, far be it from me to read the minds of Geoffrey, et al., but maybe just maybe your lack of approved postings has something to do with answering a racially smeared screed with your own racially smeared screed. Maybe dirtyblues deserves this invective, but I don't see why McCain deserves to be labeled an "ole cracker." Even if he does, you should know better than to use such racist language.

Also, sir, to clear the record, McCain, along with Ted Kennedy, sponsored legislation that would have legalized illegal aliens and offered guest worker programs for more Latinos to cross the border legally, along with erecting a border fence to insure that other illegal activities didn't cross into his state. It lost because other conservatives didn't like the path to legalization and the guest worker program, but I'm going to give both him and Kennedy credit for trying to bring some sanity to the illegal immigration debate. Any lucid eye would see that his and Kennedy's bill does not try to "keep brown folks away," as you so pithily put it.

Finally, sir, as the brother of a Gulf War veteran who suffers from PTSD, I do hope, for your own sake, that you weren't trying to be funny in your PTSD comment, especially given what McCain went through during the Vietnam War. Maybe you're not old enough to remember the POW's coming home, but I am. It wasn't a pretty sight. Thanks to the VC, McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders, making his longevity in the aftermath of such torture little short of a miracle. Dislike his politics all you like; it's a free country. But your argument loses all semblence of credibility were you waxing comical about the torture McCain bore.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 2:57 PM | 4-23-2008

Bill M and Matthew,

Thank you for helping to open the window of forgiveness, understanding and tolerance of each other...it is time for Americans to truly move forward...and it may require each of us taking one tiny step at a time...even going to places that may make us uncomfortable...ultimately, making America better...no matter what your political affiliation...this effects all of us.

What more can I say? Amen...

Sent by ard | 4:24 PM | 4-23-2008

@K Mjumbe,

I'm curious about your bringing up his record on Native Americans (twice). Do you have some insight on his record? A Google search only shows either sycophantic praise from Native American veterans or polemics about pushing Native Americans onto nuclear waste dumps, both of which I find highly suspect. Do you care to share what you know?

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 5:35 PM | 4-23-2008

with all copyright honor to professor watler wms...

the following is offered

PROCLAMATION OF AMNESTY AND PARDON GRANTED TO ALL PERSONS OF EUROPEAN DESCENT

WHEREAS, EUROPEANS KEPT MY FOREBEARS IN BONDAGE SOME THREE CENTURIES TOILING WITHOUT PAY,

WHEREAS, EUROPEANS IGNORED THE HUMAN RIGHTS PLEDGES OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION,

WHEREAS, THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS MEANT LITTLE MORE THAN EMPTY WORDS,

THEREFORE, AMERICANS OF EUROPEAN ANCESTRY ARE GUILTY OF GREAT CRIMES AGAINST MY ANCESTORS AND THEIR PROGENY.

BUT, IN THE RECOGNITION EUROPEANS THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF VARIOUS AND SUNDRY HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS TO WIT: THE NORMAN CONQUEST, THE IRISH POTATO FAMINE, DECLINE OF THE HAPSBURG DYNASTY, NAPOLEONIC AND CZARIST ADVENTURISM, AND GRATUITOUS INSULTS AND SPECULATIONS ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE OF EUROPEANS OF POLISH DESCENT,

I, DIRTYBLUES, DO DECLARE FULL AND GENERAL AMNESTY AND PARDON TO ALL PERSONS OF EUROPEAN ANCESTRY, FOR BOTH THEIR OWN GRIEVANCES, AND THOSE OF THEIR FOREBEARS, AGAINST MY PEOPLE.

THEREFORE, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD AMERICANS OF EUROPEAN ANCESTRY CAN STAND STRAIGHT AND PROUD KNOWING THEY ARE WITHOUT GUILT AND THUS OBLIGED NOT TO ACT LIKE DAMN FOOLS IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH AMERICANS OF AFRICAN ANCESTRY.

YOUR GRACIOUS AND GENEROUS GRANTOR

DIRTYBLUES

Sent by dirtyblues | 10:10 PM | 4-23-2008

@dirtyblues, as an Irish-American man married to a Kenyan woman, both of whom share the joy of a six-month-old African-American son, I don't need your "amnesty and pardon." All those things you've blathered on about may be back-drop and history, but the bigotry we have in this country in all very much occuring in the present tense. Recognizing that doesn't mean we are acting "like damn (sic) fools;" it means that we can see clearly.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 6:32 PM | 4-24-2008

@ CAF?? DU DIRTY BLUES -- 04/20 TO 4/26/08
SUNDAY BRUNCH: OPEN-FACED GOAT CHEESE, SPINACH & SUN-DRIED TOMATO OMELET; SOURDOUGH FRENCH TOAST W/ORANGE BOURBON BUTTER & SPICED PECANS; BACON-ROSEMARY-RED BLISS HASH (BEAUJOLAIS)

SUNDAY DINNER: STUFFED ROASTED GARLIC PASTE & BLUE CHEESE HAMBURGERS; YUCCA FRIES; SICILIAN HARVEST SALAD; MARINATED PAZZO BERRIES W/BALSAMIC VINEGAR (LONG ISLAND ICED TEA)

TUESDAY DINNER: CHICKEN ENCHILADAS W/ROASTED TOMATILLO CHILE SALSA; SPICY BLACK BEANS; YELLOW RICE; CRUNCHY JICAMA & MANGO SALAD W/CHILE & LIME (CUBA LIBRE)

THURSDAY DINNER: ROASTED TENDERLOIN OF BEEF W/CHERRY TOMATOES & ARUGULA; SPICY CRAB SALAD; THE ULTIMATE STUFFED POTATO; GRILLED MIXED FRUIT (ROSE???)

SATURDAY BRUNCH: CRUSTLESS "CRAB, CORN & RED PEPPER" QUICHE; GREEN FRIED TOMATOES; MIXED GREEN SALAD; "RED" BANANAS FOSTER (KENTUCKY SCREWDRIVER)

SATURDAY DINNER: CUBAN STYLE PORK TENDERLOIN SANDWICH; FRIED PLANTAINS; FIVE VEGETABLE SLAW SALAD; ISLAND FRUIT SALAD (MOJITO)

Sent by dirtyblues | 9:00 PM | 4-24-2008

Pay no mind to racists comments. For them, America and the Republican Party only belongs to them. Nevermind that Bush and Tha Boyz have us knee deep in a hopeless sham in Iraq, rudderless in Afghanistan, and in a nightmare economically. I see it as a positive. Why is it we, as Americans, can't just have a hard campaign without racism, sexism, and all the other isms? Why can't we just do that. We have two strong main candidates that have stepped forward to want to lead this country. That alone should be commended because the Presidency has got to be the hardest job. We should revel in a story that Hollywood couldn't even imagine. The war hero a son of Navy "royalty", a survivor of survivors taking on a biracial freshman senator from Illinois who knocked out the Clintons by running a revolutionary campaign using technology, his gift of inspiring oratory, and youthful enthusiam that hasn't been seen by alot of political pundits since the days of Jack Kennedy. It's extraordinary. It's history. As Don King said, "Only in America". Finally, a Republican that at least acknowledges the mere existence and contributions of Black Americans. If the Right can find a way to tie in the needs of Black America into its platform somewhere then they will one day start taking some of those votes away. It won't happen overnight but it has to start somewhere.

Sent by Thomas B | 10:28 PM | 4-24-2008

"I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do/You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can't figure out the bag l'm in..."[sly stone and family -everyday people.. pardon my delay as we were hopping back and forth across the opposite ends of the pacific...

at Matthew Scallon and in reply... first, i think editing me out might have more to do with length of posts then as you would state above "racially smeared screed.." Messrs. Cohen, et al. on "talk of the nation" have done that well when its critical of white males in particular. I stand behind my referring to McCain as i did...As a 50 year only child whose seed donating paternal male heir was a vietnam navy member from my age of 2.5 until 18 and deployed 9-10 months per year for that time span, i have a good insight into PTSD from a personal secondary level. You havent lived until spending your first post high school summer playing orderly to a man you dont know whose have quad-bypass surgery and you a tasked with assisting them with bodily functions... His 2 pack habit a day checked him out a mere 3 years later..followed shortly thereafter by my materal female life giver due to grief more than anything... so, my would have been father served in VietNam through all of my developing years and had bullets wound scars to prove it...McCain was there too but he is still around... maybe my own PTSD makes me racial and one-sided given the systemic discourse and contours of an African man in the north portion of the Americas but bwana Scallon it does not make me a "kichwa inzi".. Hence, son, i should never not know better to say what is on my tongue... [i took that as patronising from you] for an African can be racial but can never be racist until such time we enslaved european [in all facets] for years or labour for our own economic benefits and create a whole language system of terms that strictly denigerate europeans like they Africans...Look of Code Noir and the term bete noire...now look up bete blanc... didnt find that last one from google i bet... you have it now though...[i am no better and neither are you..] As for McCain's record, it should be obvious that only selected portions of his senate, congressional or governoratorial records would be availed on the net..you need more than a few clicks and the assistant of a legislative librarian to get the whole vast print document record [that is not classified] Do you do that? Sufficient it to say, i have seen McCain nor anybody calling for a border fence mechanism to the north to keep the irish au pairs out or the russians, aussies, white brasilians, french, english, germans, etc... You know the ones who first work as waiters or sales folks instead the stacking, cooking and cleaners brown folks in the us underground ecomomies... i called McCain as i see him... but then to be fair i dont particularly care for the half white-half Kenyan-Somali [your relation by marriage] Mr. Obama either... All of these prospects thus far have failed with my for a lack of an Africa policy to date. I detest the media's pushing Mr. Obama into a "African-American" little narrow box because they think their audience can only function in such limiting terms.

As far as Native Americans go. Well, I will defer to them to answer about being relegated to barren reservations but once its discovery oil or yellow cake is under foot what then happens. And i only brought of Native Americans in multiple areas above because sometimes we Africans forget that we are just as encroaching on the red man's land as the whites and we need to respect that because at some point we may be asked to leave too since in my view those brown folks coming up from central america are not illegal at all this is there terrain. So when i use native americans i included the inca and mayan folks of central, northern south americas too..

kwaheri..

Sent by KMJUMBE | 6:04 PM | 4-26-2008

I am not feeling McCain going around and court the black vote for this reason: It's all too little too late. Decades later he apologizes for voting against the King holiday. Not in the 90's, not even in 2000 when he ran for president the first time. Now he is at the bridge talking about the civil rights struggle some 40 years later. Now he is talking to the people of New Orleans about what the gov't failed to do 3 years ago. When is he going to address the fact that 3 years later many of the families are still displaced and the rebuilding of infrastructure in N.O. is nill? Maybe he will come back in another 4 years and discuss that one.

Not to mention he was late in starting any kind of real dialougue on the economic status of the country. When he did it was horribly incorrect and he finally corrected himself weeks later. This is the age of technology and change. Time is of the essence and that is a concept that McCain can't seem to grasp, not then and not now.

Sent by Melle G | 4:22 PM | 4-29-2008

Racism will not end until black people decide to get over it, they are the racists. In fact rather than continual bitching about the past, maybe they should be celebrating their good fortune that their ancestors were sold into slavery by their brothers in Africa and they are now in the USA. Anyone can see that black people are the racists when they vote 90% for Obama vs. Clinton in NC. Look at the black/white vote split.

Sent by Truth Hurts | 12:04 AM | 5-7-2008

It would be a waste of time for McCain to court black voters, for no matter what he could say or do, 90% of them will vote for Obama, simply because he is black.
Before Obama became a candidate, the black voting block loved the Clintons. If Obama wasn't on the ticket, the 90% of blacks voting for him would all be voting for Hillary. But, as soon as a black candidate was actually in sight of the nomination, it was time for blacks to throw the Clintons under the bus, and play the race card. These latter comments by black leaders putting the blame on Bill Clinton, are extremely disengenuous, and are merely attempts at damage control, as well as attempts at solidarity for the black candidate, at the expense of the Clintons.

Sent by Gina | 5:34 PM | 8-13-2008

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