Within five years, the debt was gone and the NAACP was widely regarded as the most powerful political pressure group in the country. They alone had the ability to galvanize fifty million black votes. Members of the press found it all dazzling. "Mfume not only has righted the ship, he also has set it on a new course," fawned USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham.
Unfortunately, Mfume had essentially partnered with the Democratic Party to revitalize the NAACP, and concluded it was in the NAACP's best interest to maintain that partnership. Officially, this was a partnership to uphold civil rights. Actually, it was to continue pumping federal money into the NAACP and keep Democratic Senators on good terms with their black constituents.
To justify becoming a partisan political institution, the NAACP set about alarming the black voting populace. The Republicans are dangerous, it said . a constant threat to our civil rights ... We must defend against them. Thusly did the politicization of the NAACP begin. The rhetoric coming out of the NAACP has since become increasingly shrill, even by political standards.
The 2000 presidential election between George W Bush and Al Gore brought the NAACP's not-so-subtle partisan politicking to its nadir. Abandoning all pretense of being a neutral entity, the NAACP joined with the Sierra Club to sponsor a series of radio ads lambasting three prominent Republican candidates. One ad charged Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham with being "more concerned with protecting polluters than ... protecting our families." Another denounced Virginia Gov. George Allen as beholden to Smithfield Foods, described as "one of Virginia's largest polluters and one of the largest contributors to George Allen's 1996 campaign." A third savaged GOP Rep. Anne Northup of Kentucky.
Then, on the eve of the 2000 election, the NAACP ran an ad in which the daughter of James Byrd Jr., murdered in a 1998 hate crime in Texas, said that Bush's refusal to sign hate-crime legislation while he was governor of Texas was like watching her father die "all over again." The ad featured a horrifying image of a truck with a chain dangling behind it. The not so subtle message: Bush is indifferent to race-based crime. For obvious reasons, the ad did not mention that Byrd's attackers were found guilty and sentenced to death.
That was the NAACP's campaign ad during the 2000 election. That is where they poured their money. They produced no ads about lifting black people up. The sum of their message was that the Republicans are bad. To this day, the majority of the civil rights work currently being done by the NAACP has to do with drumming up support of the Democratic party - in the form of voter drives, yes, but also in the form of opposition to school vouchers, faith-based charities and countless other programs that the black voting populace actually supports in public opinion polls.
When anyone within the NAACP suggests doing things differently, they are made to pay.
During the contentious 2000 election, the NAACP fired its Colorado chapter president because he went public with his support of school vouchers. A couple months later it suspended one of its Virginia representatives for having the audacity to endorse a Republican.
Were these NAACP representatives wrong to admit they supported the Republicans on certain issues? I suspect they were just plain na?, not realizing that the civil rights movement in the United States ended a decade ago. There is no room within the NAACP for intellectual diversity anymore, just loyal servitude to the Democratic Party
This is a crime. This is a shame. This is the sad state of the nation's oldest and most storied civil rights organization.
So explain to me again, Mr. Bond, why President Bush would consider appearing at the NAACP's annual convention.