- The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2000

Democrats and Donna Brazile play the race card

Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile should be fired for saying that Republicans "would rather take pictures with black children than feed them." She said they use retired Gen. Colin Powell and Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, two of the most prominent blacks in the GOP, to improve their image with minorities. She probably won't be fired, though, because such despicable playing of the race card is a standard Democratic Party tactic. It is ironic that Mr. Watts is among the targets. Ads against the black Republican run by the Democrats in 1994 employed an old high school photo of Mr. Watts sporting an enormous Afro.

In 1998, the Missouri Democratic Party targeted blacks with a race-baiting ad in the St. Louis area. Running on local black radio stations, the ad tried to scare minority voters to the polls: "When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start."

Then there's Rep. William L. Clay, who wrote a letter on Nov. 20, 1996, to fellow Congressional Black Caucus members in which he referred to a black Republican, outgoing Connecticut Rep. Gary Franks' "foot-shuffling, head-scratching 'Amos and Andy' brand of 'Uncle Tomism.' " Mr. Clay also said of black conservatives: "The goal of this group of Negro wanderers is to maim and kill other blacks for the gratification and entertainment of … ultraconservative white racists."

Ironically, examination of the historical record shows that without Republicans, our civil rights laws wouldn't exist. Indeed, a substantially higher proportion of Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats. Almost 80 percent of House Republicans voted for the measure, vs. 62 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans backed the act vs. 69 percent of Democrats. But perhaps the most telling statistic is that of the 19 senators who filibustered the measure, 18 were Democrats. One of those voting "no" was none other than Al Gore Sr.

Perhaps Miss Brazile forgets it was Democrats who turned the fire hoses and dogs on civil rights marchers and Democrats who stood in the schoolhouse door.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

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I agree with Joseph Perkins that Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile's attack on the Republican Party was "scurrilous … racial demagoguery" ("Stirring race into the political mix," Commentary, Jan. 10). She was quoted as saying: "[T]he Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no other game. They would rather take pictures with black children than feed them." Perversely, however, she did the Republican Party a favor by pointing to a problem.

As Mr. Perkins himself admits, "the ranks of black Republicans remain small." It is not so much that blacks accept uncritically the Democrats' slander and have been persuaded "by racial demagogues, like Miss Brazile, that the Republican Party is anti-black." This, unfortunately, is the general perception within the black community; Miss Brazile only voiced it. The Republican Party is uncomfortable dealing with the racial issue, but to reach out to blacks, it must do a better job, which requires a different set of political strategies and delivery systems.

Tax cuts, school vouchers, school prayer and opposition to abortion (the Republican mantra) just don't sell in poor black communities. The Democrats traditionally address the needs and concerns of poor blacks with government programs. But as we all know, those programs are costly, inefficient and riddled with waste and fraud that often aggravate the problems. And what do the Republicans place on the table as alternatives? Only cuts in government programs and lectures on why they "don't work." To a poor person, something is better than nothing with a sermon thrown in for good measure.

To compete for the black vote, clearly, the Republicans would have to place on the table an alternative private-sector programs that work, such as Robert L. Woodson Sr.'s National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. Otherwise, the ranks of black Republicans will remain small, the demagoguery of Miss Brazile notwithstanding.

GEORGE B.N. AYITTEY

Washington

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I am glad that somebody in the news media has taken Vice President Al Gore to task for the racist remarks that Donna Brazile, his new campaign manager, has made ("Colin Powell, campaign prop?" Editorial, Jan. 12).

I was inflamed when I heard about her remarks, but I was outraged when I read an article in Monday's Los Angeles Times that extolled her virtues as a real "fighter" ("Gore Campaign Has 'Fighter' in Its Corner"). I am a second-generation Hispanic, and I resent Mr. Gore and the Democratic Party's insinuation that "real" minorities cannot be Republicans. This is pure race baiting at its worst, and they know it. This attitude that the truth doesn't apply to them because of the nobility of their cause is garbage. It is the same attitude that President Clinton has used in dealing with his personal troubles throughout his administration.

My pet peeve is with the Los Angeles Times and the like for their double standard with respect to the truth that they use for people such as Miss Brazile. Miss Brazile can say any inflammatory thing she wants, even if it's untrue or hate-mongering, and she is considered a real "fighter." Miss Brazile is not on the same level as Gen. Colin Powell or Rep. J.C. Watts, who are, in fact, real fighters and men of conviction. She is, however, on the same level as some of the white racists I have come across in my life.

FRANK C. ALVIDREZ

Lancaster, Calif.

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As a black Republican, I know the only value people like Donna Brazile have to liberals is to sing the one-note song of racism when they are given their cue. Her job is to keep other blacks intimidated in order to keep them on the nationalized plantation system known as the Democratic Party.

Blacks who are realizing this ploy are proud of Rep. J.C. Watts and Gen. Colin Powell.

THE REV. M.L. JOHNSON

Brazoria, Texas

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Thank you, thank you, thank you. How refreshing to read a paper that exposes racist Democrats. I am so tired of the liberal media painting a picture of white-corporate-selfish-racist Republicans.

All people should be inspired by such fine men as Gen. Colin Powell and Rep. J.C. Watts. These men are admirable examples of strong will and hard work beating the war on poverty.

LINDA C. SHUTE

Roswell, Ga.

Pakistan often blamed for terrorism without evidence

We can empathize with the sentiments expressed by Ambassador Timothy Towell on the terrorism issue and his advice to the U.S. government that it must deal decisively with any terrorist threat to this country and its people ("Weapons against terrorism," Op-Ed, Jan. 11). There is no arguing this.

But to claim without any shred of evidence and based purely on baseless and malicious allegations by the Indian government that Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state struck us as irrational and offensive.

Pakistan has done its share to demonstrate it's bona fide when it comes to nailing terrorists. Mr. Towell conveniently has overlooked Pakistan's role in capturing and extraditing to the United States several wanted terrorists. Our deeds reflect our commitment.

Mr. Towell has failed to see through the motivated allegations of the increasingly defensive administration of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, which has come under mounting and widespread domestic criticism for its inept handling of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijacking and of its surrender to the hijackers, whose identities remain a mystery, but only India claims to know.

ABDUR RASHID CHAUDHRY

Head of information division

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

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Timothy Towell has presented a concise yet clear assessment of geopolitical realities in the subcontinent. It is unfortunate that the Indian government has indulged in rhetoric without being able to build upon the apparent wealth of circumstantial evidence at its disposal toward firmly establishing Pakistan's (and Afghanistan's) involvement in the sordid hijacking drama that played out recently.

It happens all too often that suspicion falls upon Pakistan for engaging in hostile acts against India (Kargil, terrorism in Kashmir, the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814, etc.), yet the proof is either poorly communicated or simply not there. It wouldn't hurt if the Indian government got its act together and presented its proof in a logical manner for the world to consider.

It is imperative that India and the United States, as the world's two largest democracies, develop a coherent and actionable policy against terrorism. Whatever differences these two countries have on other issues, both are prime targets for violent terrorist activities and stand to lose in the absence of a firm resolve to fight terrorism.

SUNIL CHHABRA

Dracut, Mass.

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