President Bush must be desperate. He did 2 things recently he hadn’t done since taking office. He spoke to the NAACP National Convention, and he vetoed something. The man who never met a black vote he cared about and never met a bill he didn’t like has finally done both.
After ignoring black voters for the first five and a half years of his presidency, Bush finally decided to pay some of them a visit. Presidential spokes-puppet and head propaganda catapult-er Tony Snow assured us all that “this was not an attempt to curry votes for the Republican Party.” The fact that Bush did it in a year where his party stands to get shellacked at the polls in November is merely a coincidence. And if you believe that, I’ve got some Enron stock I’d like to unload on you.
Bush’s approval rating among African Americans is somewhere around 2%, which makes him about as popular among African Americans as David Duke. He said all the right things in his speech, spoke about his trip to the National Civil Rights Museum, and called on Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act, which they did. He even braved a heckler. But it is all too little, too late. George W. Bush has pretty much ignored the concerns of this country’s black community for five and a half years because he could afford to. In 2004, the Hispanic vote was of far greater concern. His support among Latinos was much higher than it was among African Americans. Now that illegal immigration has moved to the forefront, he cannot afford to alienate Hispanics or his loud, White, conservative base by taking a real stand either way. Currying votes from homosexuals is out of the question too. His fundamentalist puppet masters would never stand for it. African Americans were the only safe route to take. Unfortunately for the President, most delegates to the convention were hip to the game. African Americans have an uncanny knack for knowing when they’re being used.
The other big event came when Bush finally vetoed a bill that would expand Federal funding of stem-cell research. Despite pretty solid support from the American people, hundreds of scientific experts, prominent Republicans, not to mention the thousands of people such research might benefit, the President decided to go against the grain and in the process equated stem cell research with murder. This should come a no surprise considering Bush’s well-known penchant for ignoring sound advice from intelligent sources. Just ask Valerie Plame’s husband. Who needs good advice when God talks to you directly? After all, it was God who told him to run for President, and invade Iraq. All hail the prophet from Crawford!
Bush may have acted in an unprecedented manner, but this old dog hasn’t learned any new tricks. Deep down his cronies know it. Hopefully, the voters won’t be fooled again.