Sunday, September 24, 2006

I wanted to share this great article. It speaks volumes as to the state of the party. Myself and fellow Republicans are facing harsh criticism as the country becomes more and more angry with George W. Bush and the party. I have always treasured Ken Mehlmann and his aggressive move toward minorities and especially African Americans. I will support him and his efforts. Let me know your thoughts on this NY Times magazine article.

September 24, 2006
Lost Horizons
It should have been an easy morning for Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee. He had settled in for a radio interview with a friendly questioner, Frank Beckmann, broadcasting live on WJR from the first floor of the Renaissance Center, home to General Motors in Detroit. As the traffic report hummed over the studio monitors, Mehlman and Beckmann bantered about the liberal media and the war on terrorism and all the problems with the Democrats. But something changed when the microphone went live. Beckmann did not turn hostile, but he was nothing like the cheerleader-interviewer Mehlman tends to find on the other side of the table. Why has Bush been so slow to make a case — “He waited too long, didn’t he?” — for Iraq? Was Bush’s unpopularity dragging Republicans down in places like Michigan, one of the few states where Republicans actually had a chance to topple a Democratic governor and senator? And why was Bush, sounding just like a Democrat, pressing an immigration plan that could help illegal immigrants become citizens? “Why should anybody support what the president puts out there on this, Ken?” Beckmann asked.
It is hard to fathom how much Mehlman’s life has changed since he took the chairman’s desk at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in January 2005, the reward for managing, together with Karl Rove at the White House, what was widely praised as one of the most sophisticated and groundbreaking presidential campaigns in a generation. “It was an election where they knew more than we did,” Joe Lockhart, a senior strategist for John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, told me. For the next year, Chairman Mehlman talked big and thought big about the Republican Party: about how he and his allies could fundamentally redraw the political architecture of America, change the way Americans conceptualize the two parties and establish Republicans as the dominant party in America long after George Bush returned to Texas. That meant putting a lock on the White House and Congress, and it meant winning statehouses and governorships, which draw the redistricting maps that are the cement of long-term political realignments. This was nothing short of a campaign to marginalize the Democratic Party and everything that Mehlman, reflecting Bush and Rove, said it stood for: big government, high taxes, liberal judges, a timorous foreign policy.
In meticulous detail and with a cool mastery of his subject, he preached about the revolution in marketing and data technologies and the new world of advertising and communications that had transformed politics since he first arrived at the George Bush for President campaign in Austin seven years earlier. It is a political paradigm that Republicans — particularly Rove, Mehlman and the Bush campaign’s senior strategist, Matthew Dowd — grasped before Democrats did, and nearly as much as anything else, it accounted for Republican successes in 2002 and 2004. After he was named chairman, Mehlman began filling his days with appearances before African-American audiences across the country, where he apologized for past Republican slights to black Americans, portrayed Republicans as the “party of Lincoln” and pledged to challenge Democrats for black, as well as Hispanic, support. Quixotic? Perhaps. But it reflected just how bullish the second-term Bush Republican Party, with its eye to history and legacy and lasting power, had become.
There was time for such indulgences in the days before a hurricane roared through New Orleans and the country turned against the war Bush had launched in Iraq. These days, of course, talk of a Republican realignment has given way to talk of simple survival this November. Now the lofty ideals and bold ambitions of Mehlman and Rove often seem in direct conflict with the short-term survival instincts of Republicans who want nothing more than to get past the next election. House Republicans sabotaged Bush’s immigration plan, ignoring Mehlman’s warnings about the damage that an enforcement-only immigration bill could do to the party’s long-term growth among Hispanic voters, a critical part of the party realignment that the White House had envisioned. He spent much of July trying to manage the fallout among black leaders after House conservatives delayed a routine extension of the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this year, at the American Jewish Committee’s 100th annual meeting, Mehlman, the second Jewish chairman in the history of the Republican National Committee, heard scattered boos as he defended the Iraq war to a room fearful that the White House’s Iraq policy had empowered Iran, whose new president had expressed a desire to destroy Israel. It was dispiriting for Mehlman, especially since Jewish voters are another group that Republicans are trying to peel off the Democratic base.
Mehlman finds himself this fall atop a Republican Party as divided as at any time since George W. Bush came to Washington. He is confronted, day after day, with Republican candidates who criticize the president and his policies or who execute a high-profile skedaddle when Bush comes to town — both of which Mehlman reacts to with a peculiar combination of empathy and disapproval. “My goal for them is to win elections,” he said last month, sitting in a wing chair in his office, under a photo that showed him and Rove talking as they walked out of the West Wing behind Bush. “But if you don’t want this election to be a referendum on Bush, don’t make it a referendum on Bush. If they run against Bush — rather than running as an independent Republican — it can’t help them; it can only hurt them.”
While Mehlman blames Iraq for most of the administration’s problems — a conflict that he argues was noble and one that, he says, will in the end make the world safer — he acknowledges the damage his party suffered because of Katrina. Mehlman is renowned in Washington for his organizational skills, for assembling lean and efficient operations filled with loyal and largely happy people who rarely make mistakes, so it is understandably vexing for him that many Americans have come to see the administration as managerially incompetent and politically inept. Late this past spring, Mehlman began warning Republicans that the party could lose the House, something that seemed unthinkable a year earlier. Over dinner this summer, he told me he was fairly certain that Republicans would hold on in November, yet the bouncy confidence he once displayed seemed gone. When asked if he worried that Republican voters, demoralized by this tough year for the Bush White House, would stay home in November, Mehlman responded with a one-word answer — “Yes” — that was striking to anyone who has spent time with this always-on-message chairman.
Mehlman still travels tirelessly on behalf of his party (270,000 miles to 43 states and Puerto Rico since becoming chairman) and is still raising money at a breakneck pace ($184 million from the beginning of 2005 through the end of August). He is still fast to the draw in an argument on any subject, no matter how technical or arcane, and never without a defense for an administration that certainly seems to need one these days. “The president is dealing with big and hard things,” Mehlman patiently told a Republican volunteer in a Detroit suburb who could not understand why Bill Clinton — Bill Clinton! — was more popular than George Bush. But there are dark bags under Mehlman’s eyes now, and the wear of this past year was etched on his face when he turned 40 in August. A man who never seemed to take pleasure in the kind of sledgehammer attack that Rove so clearly savors — who seemed much happier talking about the legacy of Ronald Reagan or microtargeting as a tool for turning out voters — could be heard in recent weeks issuing searing partisan attacks, reverting to the familiar stance of a party leader who does not like what he sees on the horizon.
“I’m not flipping out,” he told me recently, looking straight ahead. “There are absolutely days when you are — you know — when this is very challenging. Absolutely.”
Ken Mehlman jumped into the front seat of the S.U.V. squiring him through a three-day rush of fund-raisers and pep talks to Republican activists, his spirits lifted on this wet June day by what he had just seen in a squat and messy sprawl of an office in the battleground suburbs of Detroit. It was the Macomb County “victory center,” a jumble of tables and folding chairs and boxes of cold pizza where dozens of volunteers clutched Republican Party-issued cellphones against their ears — the days of banks of telephones plugged into a wall are over — and read from scripts. At the end of each interview, they blackened a circle on a bubble sheet (think No. 2 pencils and the SAT test), signifying whether this was a voter the party would circle back to — once, twice or more — to make certain he or she would be at the polls on Nov. 7. It was still nearly five months before Election Day, but the 72-hour plan, the Republicans’ voter-turnout program that ambushed the Democrats in 2002 and 2004, was already humming along. Mehlman was delighted as he watched what he said was his party’s latest technological adaptation. The bubble sheets could be scanned by a computer, he said proudly, saving time and money as the results are incorporated into the Republicans’ formidable database. “It is a relatively nice day at the end of June, and in the building we just left, they just made 10,000 ID calls,” Mehlman said. “That is really good for the party.”
If there is a defining characteristic to Mehlman and his tenure as Republican national chairman, it is his fascination with the communications and technological revolution that is sweeping American politics. This has produced once-unimaginable new ways to track down potential voters, by predicting voting habits based on where Americans live and the cars they drive and the magazines they read, and delivering tailored messages to different segments of an overly saturated electorate. Mehlman’s chairmanship has become an argument for the notion that the garrulous and instinctual political boss may be all but obsolete in this age of supersophisticated polling, data mining, niche marketing and microtargeting. In an arena that seems to value instinct, bravado, gall and undisciplined excess, Mehlman is empirical and deliberative. Why should a campaign manager direct resources based on a hunch when there is consumer data that can flush out Republicans living deep in Democratic enclaves? Why guess when you can measure what words will be most persuasive to the middle-class exurbanite voter marching on the StairMaster (watching, no doubt, the Republican ad that the Bush campaign placed on the closed-circuit gym channel after realizing that its voters were no longer at home watching the network news)?
When Mehlman talks about politics, he doesn’t talk about Machiavelli; he talks about “Moneyball,” Michael Lewis’s book about how the Oakland A’s employed statistical modeling to assemble a powerhouse baseball team, sending to pasture the old-line scouts with their years of calling it from their guts. “We are the party of ‘Moneyball!”’ Mehlman proclaimed, practically shouting and bouncing on the balls of his feet, talking to a room of slightly bewildered Republicans in California last year. “They measured everything. We are doing the same thing in politics.”
Mehlman, the son of a certified public account, seems as happy talking about the latest employee-relations techniques as he is talking about the inspiration he said he found watching Reagan stand up to the Soviet Union. “Gut alone is crazy,” Mehlman told me. “Why do gut when you can go with objective information? Hope is not a strategy. And gut instincts are always less effective than objective analysis.” Mehlman’s endless talk of metrics and management techniques is viewed as a quirky if fundamental part of his chemistry. His White House colleagues and friends poke fun at his obsession with order and measurement, at his daily spreadsheet of to-do lists. “He’s anal-retentive, man!” Karl Rove says.
Back when Mehlman took the job of party chairman, Republican command of the technologies of winning elections seemed the icing on the cake. Now it seems more like the cake itself. If there is one defining question in this campaign, it is whether the two big Republican Party weapons in this age of Bush — voter turnout and national security in the post-9/11 era — can be wheeled out again to overcome a political environment that has curdled for the Republican Party. As in 2002 and 2004, the White House has been hitting Democrats on national security and terror in a choreographed way, with a rollout that began, predictably, around Labor Day. But Democrats are pushing back this time, arguing that Bush’s policies have if anything made the world a less safe place, an argument reinforced by the continued images of turmoil from Iraq. Polls show that the Republican advantage on the issue is not what it once was, and even some Republicans worry about how many times the White House can credibly go back to this same well.
By contrast, the intricate political machine that Mehlman has built to identify and turn out Republicans is growing, and if the election in November is close, it could provide the Republican Party with the fire wall it needs. Democrats have, if belatedly, learned lessons from what the Republican Party has done and are adopting many of the same techniques. Still, no one thinks the Democrats have caught up on get-out-the-vote, or even can catch up before Election Day. Harold Ickes, a long-term national Democratic leader and one of the smartest strategists in either party, didn’t hesitate when asked if he thought the Republican Party had lapped the Democrats in the area of targeting and turnout. “Yes — there’s no question about it,” he said. Ickes’s response was revealing because he has embarked on a private effort to build a national database of registered voters, an implicit rebuke of the slower pace of Howard Dean, the Democratic Party leader, in this area. And Ickes was warm in his appraisal of Mehlman. “The general view is, he’s very good,” Ickes said. “They have good systems and he’s a good system person.”
Mehlman has for this election taken what the Republican Party assembled in Ohio in 2004 — a database of every voting-age resident that includes voting history, party registration, demographic data and consumer history — and expanded it, he said, to include every voting-age American in the country. “In Ohio, in ’04, we got the tip of the iceberg,” Mehlman said. “What we did over the last two years is we got the entire iceberg.” With that kind of data, Republican campaign workers in every state in the country can identify potential Republicans who may never have voted before and bring them to the polls. To help neighborhood organizers plot their door-to-door visits — and to make what might be a dreary exercise at least interesting — the Republican Party uses satellite pictures from Google Earth to chart the routes for house-to-house canvassing.
There have been two early tests of this machine already in this election cycle, and both were encouraging for Mehlman. The most recent was in Rhode Island earlier this month, where Republicans dispatched 72-hour teams to help Senator Lincoln Chafee beat back what had seemed to be a very threatening conservative challenge by Steve Laffey, the mayor of Cranston. (Mehlman and other top Republicans concluded that they had no chance of keeping the seat in this Democratic state if Laffey won.) Turnout shattered the Republican primary record for the state, set in 1994: 62,099 people voted, a 38 percent increase. Republicans said their 86 get-out-the-vote volunteers made 198,921 contacts with prospective voters in the final 11 days of the campaign. As Chafee declared victory, Democrats could not help taking note of these numbers. And earlier, on June 6 in California’s 50th Congressional District, in San Diego, in a special election to replace Duke Cunningham, the Republican congressman from San Diego who quit in scandal, the Republican Party put the full press of a 72-hour plan to work. The Republican, Brian Bilbray, squeaked out a victory with 49 percent of the vote over the Democrat, Francine Busby. That was a race, Mehlman said, in which turnout was able to overcome a very challenging environment.
Still, this is a district where Republicans should not be crowing about a 49 percent victory. For one thing, it has a substantial Republican edge; Cunningham beat Busby 58 percent to 36 percent in 2004. Bilbray campaigned for tough immigration controls in this district snug on the Mexican border, and Busby threw him a lifeline in the final weekend of the campaign when she appeared to be encouraging illegal aliens to vote for her. The 72-hour plan helped pull the Republicans through that Tuesday. But will it be able to manage such extensive operations nationwide if, say, 50 districts are really in contention come Election Day? And what if the White House’s campaign-season drumbeat on terrorism doesn’t work this time? As Mehlman himself says, turnout operations help — but only so much. “Historically, turnout matters at the margin,” he said. “If you are losing an election because of an issue or the environment or the candidate, you are not going to win it on turnout.”
"Just left the Urban League,” Mehlman wrote in a BlackBerry message to Donna Brazile, reporting on his attendance at a reception with black leaders. “Got nice acknowledgment and applause.” This was in the spring of last year. Back then, Mehlman kept up a regular e-mail correspondence with Brazile, a prominent African-American Democratic leader who was, in 2000, the manager of Al Gore’s presidential campaign. (She later shared the e-mail messages with me.) Mehlman made a habit of letting Brazile know about each of his appearances before black audiences, where he invariably described Republicans as “the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.” He told her of his efforts to recruit black candidates for statewide offices around the country, a roster that today includes candidates for governor in Ohio and Pennsylvania and for Senate in Maryland (in the person of Michael Steele, whom Mehlman warmly describes as a “good friend”). “Am always going to try to bring candidate or local elected official with me to African-American newspaper ed boards so they build relationships that will go beyond my leadership,” Mehlman wrote Brazile in another e-mail message. Mehlman gave a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. saying that some Republicans had been “trying to benefit politically from racial polarization” and that “we were wrong.” Brazile was impressed. She told me at the time that she was accustomed to Republicans making high-flying but short-lived appeals to blacks but said she thought that Mehlman seemed to be on a different kind of mission.
A year later, a small group of Washington reporters attended a luncheon in a private dining room at Charlie Palmer, a glistening modern steakhouse within walking distance of the Capitol. In attendance was a Republican running for the United States Senate. The rules of the lunch stipulated that the candidate could be quoted but identified only as a Republican candidate for Senate. The “Republican candidate for Senate” spent a good part of the lunch offering harsh criticism of the White House; indeed, at times he sounded like a Democrat. Dana Milbank, a Washington Post columnist who was there, wrote it all up — precisely following the rules of the lunch, identifying the speaker only as a Republican Senate candidate — to devastating effect. Mehlman was highly distressed upon reading the Post article, one associate said, and flabbergasted after learning that the candidate was his friend Michael Steele. This was four days after Bush finally spoke before the N.A.A.C.P., after refusing its invitations for the first five years of his presidency. (His aides had cited harsh attacks on him by the organization’s leaders.) Bush went, in part, in response to pleadings by Mehlman, and he went a few weeks after the Voting Rights Act was tabled in the House by conservatives. The reception Bush got was tepid.
Democrats like Brazile no longer view this Republican appeal for African-Americans with much concern, or even interest, and she did not need the platform of a not-for-attribution lunch with reporters to make that view known. Mehlman, Brazile said, was on a roll in 2005. “But Katrina washed away any illusions that Republicans had something to offer African-Americans,” she told me. “I know he’s out there every day. I just don’t know if his sales pitch has any potency at the moment.”
The problems that Mehlman has encountered in his effort to make the Republican Party the party of Lincoln suggest a recurring frustration of his chairmanship. Mehlman argues that the “opportunity” initiatives that Bush has put forward, albeit with limited legislative success — giving Americans more control over their health-care insurance, setting up private accounts for retirement, school choice — are the core of the Republican appeal for black support. Mehlman wants Republicans to compete with Democrats for black votes not on so-called racial issues, like affirmative action, but on basic issues of economics and the role of government. He talks about the high-level black appointments Bush has made to his cabinet. He points to the three black statewide Republican candidates running under his watch. He suggests that Democrats have taken the black vote for granted all these years. Less obviously, the White House push on such issues as a ban on gay marriage is aimed in part at socially conservative blacks.
But is that enough?
Bruce S. Gordon, president of the N.A.A.C.P., says that Mehlman called him after the Voting Rights Act faltered. “He didn’t seem too satisfied with the behavior of some members of his party,” Gordon told me, recounting their conversation. “He said he doesn’t have much control over them. But he’s the chairperson of the Republican Party: he’s got some clout.” And it’s not just the Voting Rights Act. Or Katrina. The war in Iraq is also highly unpopular among blacks. So are the cuts in social programs; and the nomination of judges who oppose affirmative action; and the problems with financing No Child Left Behind, the education-reform bill that Mehlman often cites as the kind of measure African-American parents should embrace.
There is certainly a degree of calculation to Mehlman’s outreach campaign: it is designed, at least in part, to make the party more appealing to moderate white voters who might be scared off from supporting a party identified with racial intolerance. As demonstrated in Ohio in 2004, it takes only a few percentage points to affect the outcome of an election: with such a polarized electorate, small shifts can produce large gains. But the political calculations go only so far in trying to account for Mehlman’s dedication — “his maniacal focus,” as Brazile put it, admiringly — to attract African-American votes.
The black leaders and elected officials I spoke with said they had no doubt about the sincerity of Mehlman’s motivations — that he really was uncomfortable heading a party that is so white and is considered with suspicion by so many black Americans. “I think Ken is sincere in wanting to see greater diversity in the Republican Party, in the same way that George Bush wants to see greater diversity in the Republican Party and in his cabinet,” says Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat, who attended Harvard Law School with Mehlman. “But what they are not willing to do is fundamentally change a set of priorities, or reorient their party, in a way that is actually going to help the African-American community get ahead.”
J.C. Watts, a Republican former congressman from Oklahoma, who has been critical of the White House in its handling of racial issues, says that Mehlman’s efforts as chairman “are probably unprecedented in the time I’ve been a Republican. This is his passion; I think it’s in his DNA to do what he is doing.”
Mehlman was raised in a Jewish family in Baltimore, his mother a Democrat who voted for Jerry Brown (yes, that Jerry Brown) for president. Mehlman counts the civil rights movement as one of the seminal political events in American history and lists two Democrats (and no Bushes) among his three most influential presidents of the past century: Reagan, F.D.R. and Johnson. “What he did on civil rights makes him one of the great presidents of the 20th century,” Mehlman says of Johnson. Mehlman, according to his office, has appeared before 50 black audiences since becoming party leader. When members of the Republican National Committee gathered in Pittsburgh in August 2005 for their annual summer meeting, the banner across the stage read: “Give us a chance, We’ll give you a choice — Strengthening Lincoln’s legacy.”
Three weeks later, Katrina ripped through New Orleans. Mehlman was on the Greek island of Mykonos that week, attending the wedding of Nicolle Devenish, who was then the White House communications director, and Mark Wallace, a deputy director of Bush’s 2004 campaign. Mehlman said he followed what was happening, a little helplessly, from his hotel in Greece. “I certainly recognized watching CNN that it was not good,” he said. “And it required a large infusion of ouzo. Which I had every night. My answer to Hurricane Katrina was Hurricane Ouzo.”
When Bush ran for re-election in 2004, he drew 11 percent of the African-American vote. That counted as progress; in 2000, Bush drew the support of 8 percent of the black electorate. But in a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month, just 6 percent of black respondents said they approved of the job the president was doing. And in a separate New York Times/CBS News poll in July, only 9 percent of blacks said they had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, a year and a half into Mehlman’s outreach campaign.
Earlier this month, Mehlman and I had dinner at a restaurant he goes to frequently — Georgia Brown’s, a spot not far from the White House that has a large African-American clientele. Mehlman was upset with an article of mine The Times published that described his effort with black voters as faltering, and as he dived into a salad with knife and fork, he argued vigorously that it was wrong to use public-opinion polling as the measure of progress for what he had always said would be a long climb. “If you had told me in the beginning of 2005 that 100 days before the election we would have African-Americans all in striking distance for governor of Ohio, governor of Pennsylvania and senator in Maryland, I would have told you that is incredible,” he said.
Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove started every day of the 2004 presidential campaign with a 7 a.m. telephone call, during which they discussed what happened over the past 24 hours and what they wanted to happen over the next 24. It would be the first of what would be — by the account of both men — dozens of daily telephone calls and e-mail messages between the two, going into the night, over the course of nearly two years. Mehlman, who was the White House political director for the first two years of the Bush administration, was officially the campaign manager, and Rove was Bush’s chief White House adviser, but Mehlman was the subordinate in this relationship. “Karl was far and away the senior leader,” says Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, talking about the campaign. Bush famously called Rove the “architect” of his victory. Mehlman lifted an eyebrow when I asked him about that. “I don’t know — I think a bunch of us were architects,” he told me.
The relationship between Mehlman and Rove — two men of similar fascinations, skills and ideologies — has long been at once cooperative and competitive; Mehlman’s friends voice private frustration at just how much credit Rove drew for the campaign of 2004, though Mehlman is far too disciplined and corporate to concede any such resentment. But Rove’s star has dimmed because of the troubles of the second-term Bush White House and his own legal battles, and heading into the fall the two men appear to be equals in calling the shots on this midterm campaign. And it is Mehlman who is out front — along with the White House’s political director, Sara Taylor — immersed in dealing with candidates, contributors and consultants, riding campaign managers, overseeing the latest voter-turnout innovation, determining where money and resources will be spent. Mehlman is the public face of this campaign, giving speeches at events, appearing on television, talking to reporters; Rove has largely kept out of public view. And it is Mehlman, rather than Rove, who seems positioned to take much of the blame if November delivers the first big defeat of the Bush political machine since it took the White House six years ago.
Mehlman’s friends say they doubt that he will seek another term as party chairman at the end of the year, no matter the outcome of the election, and that he is interested in entering the private sector, perhaps as a consultant. If anything, this has made him even more intent on maintaining Republican control of Congress; he does not want to be identified with a Republican loss. Still, there is a good argument to be made that the problems darkening the Republican Party this fall have much more to do with what has happened in the building where Rove works than with what has taken place at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee. A Democratic victory in November would add another paragraph to the rather glum second term of the Bush presidency. But it may not say much about the new Republican Party. The G.O.P. under Mehlman has changed the way elections are run and won in this country. That is what Mehlman understood when he told Republican workers in the victory center in Michigan to soldier on, ignore the bad news, flip open their cellphones and call another Republican voter.
Adam Nagourney is the national political correspondent for The Times.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This column by Adam N. is way too long. I remember him when he was covering local politics in Westchester County. I know a bit about rece-relations growing up in Mount Vernon, NY. I am a life-long Democrat and contribute to and work for Democrats. They are not perfect, for sure. But since the New Deal and the emergence of the "new" Democratic Party under the enlightened leadership, of that great liberal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the door of opportunity started to gradually open. Remember it was FDR who took his lumps in the 1938 Congressional election when he opposed the troglydites in the southern Democratic Party. "Jim Crow" was a southern Democratic creation, no doubt. It would be a waste of time to reiterate the sad history of race in America. But it was the northern Democrats who made the breakthrough for other minorities, supported the labor movement and finally came to grips with race in America. I have heard Ken Mehlman more time than I could shake a stick and could care less about his sad and meaningless vision. For my money, any African-American, Jew, woman or working man or women who votes Republican is a either a self-hating fool, stupid or greedy. It was the Democrats that supported wages and hours, it was the Democrats that supported the Wagner Act, and fought Taft-Hartley. It was the Democrats who broke the back of Jim Crow and the KKK, and started to mainstream all Americans of color. It was the Northern Democrats that were willing to change and stand up to the southern Democrats. I ask, who are the heirs to southern bigotry? Where did the south go after LBJ's support for Civil Rights? Who controls the heart of Dixie today? Don't forget the states that Barry Goldwater carried in 1964. Just remember that hypocrite, Strom Thurmond, started as a Democrat, ran as a racist Dixiecrat against Truman, when Hubert Humphrey put a civil rights plank in the Democractic Party Platform of 1948, and than became a Republican. Who has opposed all the efforts of "affirmative action?" I ask you?
The answer is the GOP, plain and simple. So Ken Mehlman wants to support a divided America, an America of rich and poor, white and non-white and eventually a divided America with White Evangelical Christians against everyone else. The Democratic Party has been the party of opportunity, the party of inclusion, and the party of progressive forward -looking and thinking Americans. Let us not forget that history and reality.

Richard J. Garfunkel
Tarrytown, NY

7:07 PM  
Blogger Ladyjedi said...

Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed your posts. However, I think Ken is a good man. I am pro choice and pro affirmitave action.


8:37 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today is a new day!

11:12 PM  

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