Romney earns respect from conservatives for speech given to a hostile @NAACP

I’ve gotta admit – Mitt Romney won me over, just a little, with his speech yesterday (transcript) in front of the NAACP Convention.

Readers of this blog know I’ve never been a fan of Romney’s and I am a very reluctant supporter now. He is somebody to me who has always looked Presidential but who has never been believable, someone who tailors his speeches to whatever audience he is set to talk to. But he’s our nominee (or will be so officially after RNC 2012) and he’s the only chance we have at this point of kicking out the current disaster in the WH – President Obama, so when he does something worthy of praise, I feel the need to point it out because I know a lot of you feel the same way I do. I don’t have high expectations for Romney, which may have factored in a little bit to my reaction yesterday at reading about his speech, and hearing about the disrespectful, closed-minded reception he got from a group of people who claim to want Americans to look beyond skin color but who themselves say if you don’t support black liberals then you must be a racist who wants to take us back to the Jim Crow era — an era brought upon conservative black Americans by, um, Democrats. But I digress….

Anyway, the Big Media outlets are, of course, pointing out that Romney was booed during the speech (as if that’s news), chiefly when he spoke of repealing ObamaCare – but he did earn some applause during parts of it, especially when he spoke of his support for traditional marriage. I figured his speech would be nothing more than a Pander/ApologistFest giving all kinds of concessions to black liberals who hate it when anyone thinks outside of the box, but it wasn’t – which was a pleasant surprise. Here’s Fox News’ recap:

Mitt Romney, in an address to the NAACP annual convention, accused President Obama Wednesday of falling short on helping lift people out of poverty — and described as “nonsense” the president’s charge that Romney is just trying to “help the rich.”

Romney, speaking in Houston, at times drew polite applause from the crowd but also elicited a robust round of boos when he said he wants to eliminate the federal health care overhaul.

The audience response underscored the uphill climb the Republican presidential candidate faces in trying to court black voters, who overwhelmingly supported the candidate who would be the first black president in 2008.

Romney said at the top of his speech that he doesn’t “count anybody out” and doesn’t “make a habit of presuming anyone’s support.”

Though he at one point had to pause for boos, when he said he wants to end “ObamaCare,” Romney plugged away at his theme — honing in on the sorry state of the economy and trying to make the case that black families are not faring very well under the current president.

“The president wants to make this campaign about blaming the rich, and I want to make this campaign about helping the middle class in America,” Romney said.

He told Fox News later the campaign “expected” the boos. “But I’m going to give the NAACP the same message as I’ve given the rest of the country.”


Romney said that barriers to equality have not come down despite the election of the country’s first black president.

“Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before,” he said. “If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it’s worse for African-Americans in almost every way.”

The 14.4 percent unemployment rate among blacks is much higher than the 8.2 percent national average.

If Romney wants to go about winning over more reluctant conservatives like myself, this is the way to do it. Not only did he not tailor his speech to try and win over the crowd with phony promises, but I give him props for going into the lion’s den in the first place, knowing he wasn’t going to win many (if any) converts. It’s a shame, really, because the message of limited government, lower taxes, and pro-business is one that should appeal to all types – men, women, white people, black people, old, young, etc. But unfortunately, Democrats have made everything an identity politics war over the last several decades, shamelessly suggesting that if you don’t believe as they do on issues like affirmative action, abortion, etc – that you hate black people, women, etc. They don’t want any election to actually be about ideas themselves but instead about identity politics – trying to pit groups against the other, painting the opposition as the type to take us back to the 1800s where women had few rights and black people had none, while painting themselves as the “rescuers” of the “victims” of America. Simply put, Democrats couldn’t win elections if they couldn’t keep people tied up in their little victim groups. When people stop perceiving themselves as “victims of society” and start viewing themselves as responsible for their own destinies rather than the government being responsible, Democrats lose and lose big.

Romney told the crowd yesterday that America’s first black President hasn’t done much of anything to actually help the black community, that the ideas and policies pushed by our celebrity President (and liberal Democrat Presidents like Clinton, Carter, and Johnson of the past) have put or kept too many black Americans out of work and/or in poverty. To reverse that vicious cycle, Romney implored, you have to kick out of office the leader of the political party which promotes these backwards types of laws and legislation, and start fresh.

A simple, basic message … and in an ideal world, an effective message to its audience. If only we lived in such a place.

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