The “outreach” candidate takes a page from Mitt Romney to insult black voters in one of the worst possible ways
Ah Jeb. You just can’t help yourself.
Again, on another historic day when Pope Francis quoted Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech to Congress, the Catholic convert likewise tried to reach and empathize with African Americans. Only this is how he did it.
At a campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a voter noted the event was all-white, and asked Bush how Republicans can appeal to African Americans. At first Bush seemed like the compassionate conservative he’s supposed to be. He touted the African Americans on his leadership team staff, discussed his outreach to black ministers, pivoted to the issue of Latino voters, and offered a feisty defense of speaking Spanish on the campaign trail:
If someone asks me a question in Spanish just for the record, don’t take offense that I answer it in Spanish. It’s not an offense to you, it’s respect for others. You campaign in a way that draws people to your cause. That’s what you do.
So far, so good. Then Bush totally blew it. Turning back to the issue of black voters, he said:
Think about it this way, Republicans get 4-7 percent of the African-American vote…If you double that, you win elections in Ohio, Virginia. And we should make that case, because our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division, “get in line, we’ll take care of you with free stuff.” Our message is uplifting, that says, “You can achieve earned success. We’re on your side.”
“We’re on your side,” black voters, though we’re not sure you’ve really achieved “earned success.” You’ve been relying a little too much on “free stuff” from Democrats, but we’re here to change that. The level of condescension and negative stereotyping in Bush’s statement is stunning, but not surprising.
After all, Mitt Romney said essentially the same thing – directly to the NAACP, in July of 2012. “Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”