President Bush addressed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People -- after five years of invitations -- and blew it. He pandered, he condescended, all to show blacks that, yes, the president feels your pain.
"I consider it a tragedy," said President Bush, "that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties with the African American community. For too long my party wrote off the African American vote, and many African Americans wrote off the Republican Party."
At last, cried the main scream media, Bush addressed the NAACP! As one news anchor put it, the president's speech was an attempt to show blacks that he "cares" about them. A breathless Associated Press headline read, "Bush Acknowledges Racism Still Exists."
Well, call off the hunger strike. Shut down the Internet. Break up the New York Yankees. President Bush "acknowledges" racism still exists. Excuse me, please, but when did Bush state, suggest or imply that racism didn't exist?
"Civil rights leader" Reverend Al Sharpton weighed in on Bush's speech on FOX's "The O'Reilly Factor." Did anything about the president's speech impress him? "I think," Sharpton said, "the fact that he said what many people will not say around the right, and even on this station, that there's still racism in America. It's going to make it hard for a lot of people that said that's in the past. Even George Bush admits that. " [Emphasis added.] Again, when did . . . Oh, never mind.
The "Democratic Times of Los Angeles," aka the Los Angeles Times, took the cake. In a lengthy article about the speech, the Times reporter wrote that the reason Bush took so long before addressing the NAACP was " . . . the result, in part, of bad blood between the President and Julian Bond, the longtime chairman of the [NAACP]." Bad blood?
The paper failed to explain exactly why "bad blood" exists. Chairman Bond, on July 8, 2001, said, "[Bush] has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."
Surely Chairman Bond would not repeat this outrage after September 11. But on Dec. 2, 2001, almost three months after the terrorist attacks on our soil that killed over 3,000, Bond did it again. Speaking about then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, Bond said, "He knows something about the Taliban, coming from, as he does, from that wing of American politics." Enough? Apparently not.