April 10, 2006

An interesting battle.

Alabama black GOP group launches effort for black primary votes

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — There's none of the eerie music, but it feels like the Twilight Zone just the same to Minister Herman E. Wesley whenever he mentions to people — black or white — that he's a Republican.

"When you say you're a black Republican, it causes eyebrows to go up in the air," said Wesley, who recently joined the Alabama Black Republican Council. "But I think as more blacks begin to understand the Republican Party, we will begin to see that we truly have more in common there than with the Democrats."

Wesley, who leads the North Pointe Church of Christ in Montgomery, joined about 20 other council members last week in announcing plans for an intense grass roots effort to touch off a small exodus of blacks from the Democratic primary to the Republican primary on June 6.

If they meet their goal of getting 75,000 registered black voters to vote in the primary headlined by incumbent Gov. Bob Riley and former Chief Justice Roy Moore, the group says a significant message will be sent.

To Democrats: Don't take the black vote for granted. To Republicans: Don't ignore it.

"What we want to do is to get the black vote re-engaged in Alabama," council chairman Richard H. Finley said. "Presently everybody knows what the black vote is going to do — they've allotted a certain amount of money for that and that keeps black people poor and on the plantation and under control."

Finley said 20,000 to 25,000 blacks voted in Riley's last election and getting 50,000 more seems possible based on the response the group has gotten around the state.

Joe Reed, chairman of the black Alabama Democratic Conference, says he doubts how successful the campaign will be, especially in a state with a race-relations history like Alabama's.

"If they want to try that, they're Republicans and they're welcome to," he said. "If they can get 75,000 black folks to support George Bush in Alabama, we're going to have to build some more insane asylums in Alabama for that many people." [...]

Nice, Mr. Reed--offensive not only to the families of those who are in mental health institutions, but also to black people who in good faith might have a legitimate reason for not voting Democrat.

Believe it or not, there are people, of all ethnic backgrounds, who believe their religious sensitivities are subject to less hostility and denigration by the Republicans than by Democrats, and who see no need to suppress their faith in order to have a voice in politics. For some people, that's more important to them than voting for who they're "supposed" to vote for. Mr. Reed touts his own conservatism as proof of the Democrat's open door policy, but he'd never get elected to a national Democratic office with those qualifications, at least as long as the party is arranged as it is right now. He might be satisfied where he is, but others aren't.

Call 'em crazy if you want, but it's probably not smart thing in the long run.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 10, 2006 02:47 PM