Larry Elder
"I could never vote for a Republican. It would be like voting for the Klan."

A prominent, incredibly successful black businessman told me that a few years ago. This attitude perhaps explains the unbridled joy with which some black pundits greeted "the fall" of Claude Allen, President George W. Bush's top domestic policy adviser from January 2005 until his abrupt resignation on Feb. 9, 2006. Now we know why.

On March 9, 2006, Montgomery County police arrested Allen on charges of felony theft and felony theft scheme. Authorities say he entered stores like Target, purchased merchandise and took the items out to his car. He then re-entered the store, receipt in hand, and picked up the same item from a shelf to "return" it for a refund. Allegedly, over the past year, Allen used the scheme to steal more than $5,000 worth of merchandise. Talk about a crash. Allen goes from a $161,000-a-year job with serious presidential face time, to a disgraced defendant facing up to 15 years in prison. Some pundits could scarcely withhold their glee. Not just because a former Bush aide finds himself in the news for the wrong reasons, but because Allen is a conservative black who's fallen from grace.

So what, you ask? Good question.

A black columnist wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times called, "Claude Allen's Life Sentence," subtitled, "Did the pressures of being a black conservative take a toll on the former Bush aide?"

Erin Aubry Kaplan writes, "I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less . . . " She then provides this helpful psychoanalysis of Allen, "Here is a man who, like most black conservatives, has had to do an awful lot of personal and political rationalizing to pay dues. . . . It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him. . . . After a career of always conducting himself appropriately, as his mentor Clarence Thomas reportedly advised, did he finally crack under the pressure?"


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.