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Ben Carson Endorses Republican Front Runner Donald Trump


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

ORLANDO, FL. — Ben Carson endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Friday, saying he has “buried the hatchet” after a long march to narrowing a large field of potential candidates for the White House.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday morning at Trump’s private residence, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon called for party unity, after ending his White House campaign on Super Tuesday. Many politicos said Carson’s endorsement will give Trump a boost to his campaign going to the presidential primaries in Florida and Ohio on Tuesday.

“What I’ve been seeing recently is political operatives … once again trying to assert themselves and trying to thwart the will of the people,” Carson said. “I find that to be an extraordinarily dangerous place right now.”

According to Carson, there are  “two Donald Trumps” — one is Trump’s public persona and the other is a more = “cerebral” man.

“Some people have gotten the impression that Donald Trump is this person who is not malleable, who does not have the ability to listen, and to take information in and make wise decisions. And that’s not true,” Carson said. “He’s much more cerebral than that.”

After Carson won the straw poll last year, he had several heated exchanges with Trump. Now, that’s all in the past, Carson said.

“We moved on because it’s not about me. It’s not about Mr. Trump. This is about America.”

Trump returned the praise but made no promises to Carson about future political positing in his administration.

“Having (Carson’s) support, really, it just adds total credence to what I’m trying to do and to what we’re all trying to do,” Trump said.

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In Wake of Shutdown, It’s Not Immigration that Needs Resuscitating, It’s the GOP


By Frank Sharry, La Prensa San Diego

Conservative journalist Byron York of the Washington Examiner has an interesting piece entitled, “How 30 House Republicans are forcing the Obamacare fight.” In it, he states:

“There are 233 Republicans in the House. Insiders estimate that three-quarters of them, or about 175 GOP lawmakers, are willing, and perhaps even eager, to vote for a continuing resolution that funds the government without pressing the Republican goal of defunding or delaying Obamacare. On the other side, insiders estimate about 30 House Republicans believe strongly that Obamacare is such a far-reaching and harmful law that the GOP should do everything it can – everything – to stop it or slow it down.”

Sound familiar? Just swap out every “Obamacare” reference for “immigration reform.” The ability of House radicals to make the House GOP dysfunctional has led many to declare immigration reform all but dead.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionNevertheless, we remain optimistic. For one, smart House Republicans understand that their party is careening toward an existential moment of truth. The nation is experiencing a demographic transformation and the GOP either adapts to this reality or ceases to be a viable national party. The 2012 election made it clear that a whites-only electoral strategy is a prescription for defeat. Inaction on immigration will only hasten the GOP’s demise. The disaster that is currently unfolding with the government shutdown is likely to embolden the modernizers to stand up to the radicals.

For another, Republicans are steadily moving away from their prior position of “self-deportation” and towards legalization. As Maria Santos of the Weekly Standard highlights, there are scores of GOP House Members ready to bolt from the shackles of the “30 Republicans” and move immigration reform forward. She writes:

“84 House Republicans have publicly voiced support for granting some type of legal status to the 11 million immigrants here in the country illegally, and 20 others have said they would be willing to consider it – many more than what most media reports suggest… Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring up any bill that does not have majority support from at least 118 Republicans.

Republicans will insist on securing the border and maintaining respect for the law, and most will refuse liberals’ calls for pathways to citizenship. But, with over 100 open to legalization, and still others who have not explicitly opposed it, a path to legalization might not be far away.”

Since there are ways to square Republican support for a path to legal status that has “no special path to citizenship” with our goal of an achievable citizenship option for all those legalized, this movement is significant. It strongly suggests that a near-majority of House Republicans are open to an approach towards the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America that could serve as the basis for bipartisan negotiations with Democrats and bicameral negotiations with the Senate.

Moreover, it underscores what advocates have been saying for some time now: right now we have the 218 votes in the House of Representatives to enact common sense immigration reform with an inclusive legalization program and an achievable roadmap to citizenship. Now it’s up to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to find a way for the modernizers to move forward rather than remain hogtied by the 30 Republican radicals.

As the shutdown proves, when Speaker Boehner and his fellow House leaders allow Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and his 29 friends to run the Republican Caucus, the GOP loses. If he does the same on immigration reform, the Party is headed for oblivion. It’s time for the modernizers in the House GOP to step up and take control of their caucus and set a new direction of the GOP. Nothing less than the future of their party hangs in the balance.

This commentary originally appeared on americasvoiceonline.org

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

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Black Unemployment: Can the GOP Do Better?


By The Root

After five years of nonstop bad news regarding black unemployment, the Obama administration was finally able to celebrate some good news last month, or so it seemed. In July African-American unemployment dipped to 12.6 percent, a small but significant change from June’s 13.7 percent unemployment rate — and substantially lower than the high of 16.5 percent that it reached in January 2010.

But any celebration was likely short-lived. While the national unemployment rate decreased slightly in August, to 7.3 percent, reaching a five-year low, that same month, African-American unemployment rose to 13 percent.

So at this point, who exactly is to blame for the seemingly unshakable epidemic of unemployment in the black community? Bob Woodson, a black conservative, generated headlines for his fiery speech at a Republican National Committee luncheon commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. During his address he argued that when it comes to policy and progress, all other demographic groups have taken precedence over poor African Americans. Woodson said, “Everybody has come in front of them on the bus — gays, immigrants, women, environmentalists. You never hear any talk about the conditions confronting poor blacks and poor people in general.”

Read more here.

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Is the GOP Sincere in Denouncing its Bigots?


New America Media, By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

In a week’s time the wide range of what was once considered routine GOP bigotry was on full display. Dave Agema, a former West Michigan state representative, and Republican National Committeeman called gays “filthy homosexuals. Next, Alaska Rep. Don Young blurted out the epitaph “wetbacks” in discussing the immigration issue. Then 23 members of the so-called White Student Union attended the Conservative Political Action Conference where its leader tacitly endorsed segregation and even slavery.

In times past, the silence from the GOP officials and rank and file would have been deafening. It would have reconfirmed the standard knock against the GOP as a party of Kooks, cranks misanthropes, and, of course, bigots. But in each of the three cases, there was an outcry from local GOP officials, bloggers, and GOP campus groups. They publicly denounced the bigotry, and in the case of Young, House Speaker John Boehner, Arizona and Texas Senators John McCain, and John Cornyn, and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus blasted Young’s remarks.

At first glance, this seems a signal that the GOP recognizes that it’s widely considered the party of bigotry, and that it’s willing to do something about it. But the sea change may be much less than meets the eye. Many top GOP officials are still mute on its party’s bigots. The official record still stands that no top GOP official aggressively and consistently denounces the bigoted remarks or acts by a GOP operative, representative, or senator.

The RNC in its near 100 page blueprint for reaching out to minorities, gays and young people did raise faint hope that the GOP may indeed have finally woke up that America is changing, and it can’t win national offices anymore solely with conservative white male Heartland and Deep South voters, or through the use of the crude race baiting. But this hope ignores the GOP’s horrible history of dealing with its blatant bigots and bigotry. The pattern was on ugly display in 2002 when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott touched off a furor seemingly touting the one time pro-segregation battles fought by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. It took nearly a week for then President George W. Bush to make a stumbling, tepid disavowal of Lott.

In the next decade, a legion of Republican state and local officials, conservative talk show jocks and even some Republican bigwigs made foot-in-mouth racist cracks that invariably got them in hot water. Their response when called on the carpet was always the same: They make a duck and dodge denial, claim that they were misquoted or issue a weak, half-hearted apology. Each time, the response from top Republicans was either silence, or if the firestorm was great enough, to give the offender a much-delayed mild verbal hand slap. Lott was dumped from his Senate Majority Leader post, but soon got a top post back as Senate Minority Whip after a kind of, sort of mea culpa.

The bigger dilemma for the GOP when the bigots of their party pop off is that they remain prisoners of their party’s racist past. It’s a past in which Republican presidents set the tone with their own verbal race bashing. President Eisenhower never got out of the Old South habit of calling blacks “nigras.”

In an infamous and well-documented outburst at a White House dinner party in 1954, Ike winked, nodded and whispered to Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren that he understood why white Southerners wouldn’t want to “see their sweet little girls required to sit in school alongside some big black buck.”

President Nixon routinely peppered his talks with his confidants with derogatory quips about blacks. He enshrined in popular language racially tinged code words such as, “law and order, “permissive society,” “welfare cheats,” “crime in the streets,” “subculture of violence,” “subculture of poverty,” “culturally deprived” and “lack of family values.” And President Reagan once told a black reporter how he would treat black leaders, saying, “I said to hell with ’em.”

In 1988, President Bush, Sr. made escaped black convict Willie Horton the poster boy for black crime and violence and turned the presidential campaign against his Democrat opponent, Michael Dukakis into a rout. He branded a bill by Senator Ted Kennedy to make it easier to bring employment discrimination suits a “quotas bill” and vetoed it.

The sentiment that underlay the casual, and sometimes blatant, racist trash talk of top Republicans, even Republican presidents, inevitably percolated down to the troops. If GOP minor players feel that they can say whatever they want about blacks, Latinos, gays and women and get away with it, it’s because other Republicans have done the same, and there were no real consequences for their vile remarks.

There are many Republicans who don’t utter racist or homophobic epithets, use code speak, or publicly denigrate minorities, gays and women. Yet Colin Powell recently took much heat from many Republicans when he called the GOP racist. This still makes it a good bet that the next public official or personality hammered for a bigoted outburst will be a Republican. It’s also an equally good bet that few top Republicans will immediately rush to condemn their GOP compatriot for it.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media.
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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Does Cain’s Florida Win Prove the GOP Isn’t Racist?


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media Commentary

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s wipeout of the GOP presidential field in the Florida straw poll got much attention partly because he was so far behind presumptive GOP presidential front runners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
But it also got attention because it seemed to refute the relentless charge that the GOP is racist. Cain is black, grew up poor, and did not shy away from talking about black issues during his stint as a radio broadcaster. Despite his unabashed spout of ultra conservative views, he doesn’t shirk away from his blackness. His win in Florida — not a Northern state — among a virtually lilywhite slate of voters does seem to make a case that the knock of racism against the GOP is overblown.

It doesn’t. True, at times, straw polls provide some gauge of the support a presidential contender has among the general party electorate. Reagan in 1979, George H.W. Bush in 1987 and Bob Dole in 1995 won the Florida straw poll and went on to win the GOP presidential nomination. But they were seasoned, name-recognizable GOP stalwarts, and the clear frontrunners for the nomination. Cain could hardly be considered any of those things. And the slightly more than 2,500 voters that bothered to cast a ballot in the straw poll could hardly be considered a representative sample of the GOP electorate.

In any case, straw poll votes are pure symbolism. More times than not the front running, that is, electable candidates spend little time, energy or resources bothering to court those likely to participate in a straw tally. Romney spent minimal time in the state, and Perry took it seriously only because as the new kid on the presidential block — and with dismal showings in the GOP presidential debates, as well as mounting questions about his conservatism — Florida was his chance to get momentum going again in his campaign. That’s why Cain sneaked to the top. It was more a message to Perry that there are a lot of conservatives who have serious doubts about him and his candidacy. Cain was the perfect foil to register that doubt.

The real name of the game is the primaries, where GOP voters will turn out en masse and determine who will be their standard bearer.

Cain’s candidacy, race and win in Florida meant little because he likely will not be around for the long gruel of the primaries. Even if he is, he will be a minor footnote on the ballot, when the serious business of courting voters, state officials and party leaders begins in Florida and other key primary states. But let’s say that he’s still a viable candidate during the primary run and has a real shot at being the GOP presidential choice, the evidence is strong that Cain wouldn’t get very far, and the issue then would be his race.

In a 2006 study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, a Yale political economist found that white Republicans were 25 percentage points more likely to cross over and vote for a Democratic senatorial candidate against a black Republican foe.

The study also found that in the nearly 20-year stretch, from 1982 to 2000, when the GOP candidate was black, the greater majority of white independent voters backed the white candidate. In the November 2010 mid-term elections, more than 30 black GOP candidates ran in congressional primaries. The majority of voters, or a significant percentage of them, in these districts were white. The black GOP candidates all went down to crushing defeat with two exceptions: congressional candidates Allen West in Florida and Tim Scott in South Carolina. Both got a majority of white votes and easily beat their Democratic opponents. But West and Scott won in lockdown GOP districts and against weak, under-funded Democratic opponents. Their wins were regional wins with absolutely no national implications.

Former three-term New Hampshire Governor John Sununu put his finger firmly on the inner pulse of mainstream GOP conservative sentiment during an interview he did earlier this year, after hearing candidate’s views on what Cain’s likely fate would be if he ever made it into the GOP presidential contender box. Sununu, one-time chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush and previously chair of New Hampshire’s GOP, said he was willing to listen to Cain, but that his pick for the GOP 2012 presidential contender would have to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan, as well as a politician with experience.

There’s much hyperbole in the Reagan analogy. None of the current crop of GOP contenders will ever be mistaken for Reagan in style, charisma and virtual party deification. But there’s truth to the Reagan analogy when it’s remembered that a big part of Reagan’s appeal was his racially coded pandering on states’ rights and his veiled anti-civil rights appeals. A black GOP candidate, no matter how rabidly conservative, would be unable to totally overcome, let alone allay, the racial antipathies and fears that always lurk among a large segment of conservative white voters when the White House is at stake.

No matter how many meaningless straw polls Cain wins, he won’t be the GOP candidate to change that.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. thehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson.

 

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Why the GOP Has Declared Open Season on Michelle


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Op-Ed

Former Arkansas Governor and almost certain 2012 presidential contender Mike Huckabee recently told reporters that attacks on Michelle Obama by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and others in the GOP were silly, foolish and counter-productive.

Huckabee’s push back at the Michelle-bashers was as noble as it was futile. The GOP has declared open season on the first lady for the simple reason that she’s not just any first lady, and this year is not just any political year–it’s the dress rehearsal year for the 2012 contest for the White House.

Frequent comparison is made between the GOP’s ruthless and relentless bashing of Hillary Clinton and the intensifying attacks on Michelle. But there’s a difference between the two figures. That Hillary was a major Democratic force inside the White House was confirmed when she became a U.S. Senator towards the end of her husband’s second term. She also, for a time, became the front-running Democratic presidential candidate. In short, Hillary Clinton was clearly a political threat to the GOP. Michelle Obama seemingly is not.

Yet, the attacks on Michelle are planned, well timed and calculated to sow even more doubt about President Obama and his policies. Slamming Michelle is a key part of the dirty pool equation. The safe and sensible things Michelle talks about on child nutrition, obesity, aid to military families and, of course, breastfeeding might get brief mention in the soft features section of a newspaper if it came from any other first lady and at any other time. She’d be cheered as a first lady who’s a staunch advocate for the welfare of military families and who uses her position to encourage Americans to be healthier. But those safe and sensible goals have been twisted and reviled and made the butt of cheap quips and racist cartoons from the professional Obama loathers. Curiously, with the exception of Huckabee’s criticism of Michelle’s detractors, the GOP mainstream has been noticeably silent about the attacks.

GOP has always viewed Michelle as an especially inviting surrogate for hammering Obama from the earliest days of the 2008 presidential campaign. They twisted the context of a remark she made to make it appear that she didn’t have faith in America. The Obama campaign sensed the danger and tactfully made sure that Michelle would play a traditional low-key role in her husband’s campaign, as other presidential candidate’s wives had. But the snide criticisms never really went away, especially once the Obamas were in the White House. Michelle got pilloried for her push for the failed Chicago Olympic bid, and later for uttering a few words on health care reform. Her shopping excursions, vacation in Spain and workout routine all became fodder for political sniping, gossip and ridicule.

A viral email buzzed around the Internet for a time accusing her of “unprecedented hiring” of a large staff. Even Michelle’s undergraduate thesis written in 1985 with the hardly incendiary title of “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community” was blasted as an open call for black militancy. These smears fizzled, but the jibes, taunts, and racist cartoons on the Internet never stopped. The aim is to firmly etch Michelle in the public’s mind as a power behind the White House throne and identify her with Obama’s “bad policies.”

GOP strategists frankly said as much when they slammed Michelle for sending out an email to friends and supporters touting the selection of Charlotte, NC for the 2012 Democratic Convention. Her carefully chosen words praising the city as “vibrant, diverse and full of opportunity” were about as Chamber of Commerce-tame as could be. But that was more than enough for the GOP to spring on the attack. After all, said one GOP pundit, conventions are politically partisan and because the first lady uttered a word about the Democratic convention site she was fair game.

When Michelle was asked what role she saw for herself as first lady she firmly declared she had no plans to be an overt political wife ala Hillary Clinton or Eleanor Roosevelt. She saw her role as supportive of efforts to improve the health and welfare of children and families. This is no different from the role played by Laura Bush and most other first ladies, none of whom drew a peep of criticism, let alone vilification, for their mild advocacy of pet issues. Michelle is, of course, not them. She’s the wife of the president most politically reviled by conservatives in modern times. For conservatives, the open season on her makes as much political sense as the open season on him. That’s the GOP game plan and it’s not likely to change.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on ktym.com and wfax.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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