Cal  Thomas
Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP convention in Houston was -- according to one's political perspective -- a "calculated move on his part to get booed..." to help his white base (Rep. Nancy Pelosi), or a presentation to "independent thinking adult citizens" whom he treated as equals (Rush Limbaugh).

Having an adult conversation in a racially and politically polarized age is nearly impossible, especially when our current political culture does not require a solution to problems, only the use of rhetoric and symbols to gain political power.

The second "A" in NAACP stands for "advancement." By any standard, African-Americans receiving government assistance do not appear to have advanced much, if by advancement one means progress toward a steady job. In fact, a serious argument could be made that they are falling farther behind.

"If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact," Romney told his Houston audience, "then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it's worse for African Americans in almost every way. ... In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent."

Equally disconcerting are the number of births to single African-American women, the incarceration rate for African-American men, the number of failing public schools that sustain the cycle of poverty and crime in disadvantaged communities and a federal government that offers checks instead of solutions to problems, leading to a dependence on taxpayer dollars.

This was what Romney was getting at in his speech. He spoke of an economy that creates jobs. He spoke of creating stronger families and more opportunities for all Americans. He endorsed school choice. Why would members of the NAACP oppose parents choosing the school that offers the best education for their children? Perhaps some NAACP members oppose choice because the Democratic Party and the teachers unions to which they appear joined at the hip are against them.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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