What A Real Republican Sounds Like

I guess today's theme must be "truth telling", since I have a piece up at Big Think that revolves around the same topic. I know I rail against Republican chicanery on a regular basis, and may seem to show them no mercy, but the truth is, I'm an Independent today, I've never been registered as a Democrat, and in fact, cast my first vote at eighteen as a member of the GOP.

Outside of the frenzied buffoonery that we have come to see as the image of Michael Steele, chairman of the struggling Republican National Committee, and the "take me back to Dixie" atmosphere that Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Bob McConnell are trying their damnedest to bring back, there actually exist creatures that I have always called "real Republicans."

They are the kind of people who aren't Republicans because everybody on their block is one, or everyone they want to emulate is one, or because they feel that the connotation of the GOP as a party of rich, powerful white men will somehow rub off of them in a way that endows them with the same riches, or the same power, but because they actually have decided that the kind of platform issues the party supports mostly matches the lives they lead.

If they are a black Republican, I would add "who is not an opportunist or a contrarian" to this description.

I've been getting to know my man Coby Dillard, and he just might be the genuine article, especially since he has emerged from the mouth of the lion with more questions than answers.

I’m torn between identifying as a Republican, Libertarian, or remaining independent. I have-and continue to-work with Republican and conservative-leaning causes and candidates. However, I do not follow in blind allegiance; where conservatives/Republicans have erred, I will say so publicly.

Coby Dillard

He doesn't know that I'm spotlighting him today, so I hope he's okay with this, but ever since I read a post on his blog last week I've been wondering why the leadership of our political organizations of all stripes have to distort reality so much to exist.

Even a kindergartner understands the difference between reality and make-believe. So how come our political parties act as if it is political suicide to admit what the public already knows to be true? In particular, I've been exasperated with the convoluted narrative that Michael Steele has had to try to deliver with a straight face regarding the GOP and its efforts to attract African American supporters, an effort that has been beaten back by establishment oriented black Republicans who don't feel that Steele is dogmatic enough in his approach.

“Michael Steele is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) — he’s dividing the party and hurting recruitment efforts,” said Rev. Peterson. “Since January I have called for the GOP to fire Steele because he cannot be trusted to lead the party to victory.

Owning Our History (So We Don’t Repeat It)

So I thought Dillard's candid admissions on his blog were refreshing.

"Is Steele right? Of course he is…and though I would’ve said that this time last year, there were several things that happened on McDonnell’s campaign that proved it. And he’s right for reasons that some black conservatives (many in my demographic, but some older as well) know all too well: we don’t carry our message to the black community, and when we try, it doesn’t relate to the issues and realities they face daily."

"We’ve got to learn to live with what we’ve done as a party. I’ve never been one to run from the history of the GOP as I’ve learned more about it; that includes the good as well as the bad. For any Republican to contend that our failure to resonate within the black community solely stems from blacks only being in favor of “big government’ shows, at best, a lack of knowledge of our history…and at worst, continues the same disrespect that’s still a raw wound on black voters (and that myself and too many others are working too hard to definitively heal)."

Owning Our History (So We Don’t Repeat It)

What they GOP needs to put in its political support calculator is the fact that there is a growing contingent of African Americans out here who are "wobbly" Democrats, or only still Democrats because they would be ashamed to admit to their friends and relatives that they are now Republicans, the kind of black people who can actually write four figure checks for campaigns and have a great influence on those around them - put that in your political calculator and see if it will pay off more than pandering to fear does. Because every one of these votes the GOP could pick up are votes the Dems would lose.

They are waiting for the party to stand behind thoughtful, reasonable guys who sound like Coby Dillard instead of Michael Steele. Old school guys like Frederick Douglass who could stand inside of the party and publicly support it and publicly castigate it at the same time. 

A little honesty never hurt anybody.

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