Friday, May 12, 2006


Jim Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is requesting that Howard Dean retract his statements about the Voting Rights Act extension and with good reason. Here’s part of his press release:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) today is requesting Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean retract the DNC’s false attack against Chairman Sensenbrenner’s leadership to renew the Voting Rights Act.
A May 9 blog entry by Albert Morales, a Deputy Director of the American Majority Project at the DNC ( of_man.html) stated, “A Shining Moment in the Conscience of Man. That is what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Yet the Sensenbrenner/Tancredo wing of the Republican Party is working to do away with key language assistance provisions, including bilingual ballots and translation assistance at polling locations that have enabled millions of Americans to take part in the electoral process.”

Here’s Sensenbrenner’s reply:

“It’s outrageous that the DNC would attempt to blow-up the broad bipartisan support the Voting Rights Act extension legislation enjoys by launching false attacks. I was a leader in getting the Voting Rights Act extended back in 1982, including helping persuade President Reagan to sign the extension. Last July, I spoke before the NAACP’s National Convention to announce congressional efforts to extend the Voting Rights Act this year, well before vital provisions expire in 2007.”
“I have worked closely with Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate, as well as the Bush Administration, to craft another long-term Voting Rights Act extension. These efforts led to my introduction last week of bipartisan legislation to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, including extending the bilingual assistance provided to citizens for 25 years. Last Tuesday, Democratic leaders such as Senator Reid, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Kennedy, Rep. Conyers, Rep. Watt, Sen. Leahy, Rep. John Lewis, Sen. Obama, and others joined Republican leaders, including Sen. Frist, Speaker Hastert, Sen. Specter, Rep. Chabot, Sen. DeWine, and me in a bipartisan show of support for this legislation on the steps of the Capitol.”
“Yesterday, I led a bipartisan majority in defeating an attempt to remove this assistance from the bill. Later, the House Judiciary Committee voted 33-to-1 in favor of my legislation, including the bilingual assistance provision. Republicans and Democrats are working together to ensure no American is denied his or her right to vote based on race or color. It would be helpful if the DNC’s political hacks did not try to undermine this effort,” concluded Chairman Sensenbrenner.

In other words, Sensenbrenner’s saying that that blog post didn’t have anything to do with reality and was, in fact, a bald-faced lie. I’m thankful that Chairman Sensenbrenner spoke out the way he did. If more Republicans responded more forcefully to demagogic attacks, the Democrats would soon look foolish in everyone’s eyes. My hat’s off to Chairman Sensenbrenner.

On another note, I think this is proof that Democrats are, in fact, getting a bit defensive. It’s awfully early for them to be playing the race-baiting card. I think the dynamics of that will change by fall. By then, people will notice that this is the Republican ‘Year of the Black Candidate’, which I recently wrote about.

Not only has the Washington Post joined me in writing about it. Clarence Page, the longtime columnist has a column in this weekend’s Jewish World Review.

First, Blackwell, now Ohio’s secretary of state, will have to beat his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland. That won’t be easy. A psychologist and ordained minister from southeastern Ohio’s rural Appalachian region, Strickland has enough conservative appeal to hold an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.
Nevertheless, after winning Ohio’s Republican gubernatorial primary May 2, as pollsters predicted he would, Blackwell has a lot of excitement on his side. He represents a racial milestone. Victory in November could make him this country’s only elected black governor in its history besides Virginia Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, now mayor of Richmond, who was elected governor in 1990.
That is, unless former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann, who has no opponent in Pennslyvania’s May 16 Republican gubernatorial primary, upsets Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.
Yes, there are two black gubernatorial nominees this year and they’re both Republicans. Add the Senate races of Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and Michigan’s Keith Butler and you can see why Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman is smiling about his efforts to woo black voters back to the party of Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Rumors are swirling that Dick DeVos will pick Butler to be his runningmate in the Michigan governor’s race against Jennifer Granholm. DeVos is currently leading Ms. Granholm 46-45 in the latest EPIC/MRA polling. As my friend Alex McClure points out, the EPIC/MRA poll “typically slants to the left, so DeVos probably has a larger lead.”

Blackwell has done surprisingly well among black voters in the past, compared to most Republicans anyway, and his turnout among white and black evangelicals shows enough strength in the Republican base to potentially surprise his detractors.

Mr. Page is right in saying that Blackwell has done relatively well among black voters. He’s also right in stating that Blackwell’s done pretty well with evangelicals of all races. Don’t underestimate those demographic factors, especially in that specific campaign.

I believe that Blackwell will end up beating Strickland in the end because the biggest reason he’s trailing now is because Gov. Taft is enveloped in an ethical cloud. That’s translating into negative ratings for Blackwell. Once the campaigns start focusing on the future and who’s got the best solutions for Ohio’s problems, that lead will change fast.

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