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June 4, 2004
So How Badly Do We Want To Win?

The London Telegraph reports on Republican efforts to increase their support in the African-American community, and notes that Ed Gillespie has won an endorsement from a well-known celebrity. He's a man who has been in the public eye for decades, known for his glib manner of speaking and his hairstyle.

Oh, yeah, he's been convicted of manslaughter and indicted for fraud, too:

This week found Mr Gillespie, a former lobbyist, on the stage of a Philadelphia jazz club, addressing the city's black business elite. He was flanked on one side by last year's Miss America, Erika Harold, statuesque in a brocade suit.

On the other stood the boxing promoter, Don King, his trademark silver quiff combed a good six inches above his head. Mr King held an American flag in one hand, and wore a Stars and Stripes tie round his neck, set off by a large crown-shaped pendant, set with diamonds and topped with the letters D O N. ...

To Mr King, who once served three and a half years for manslaughter and who has been indicted - though never convicted - on federal charges including tax fraud and racketeering, that pragmatic appeal made sense.

"I'm a Republicrat," he began. "I'm for whoever is going to deliver for our people. Your vote is valuable. Make it something that everybody wants. And then you go out and you bargain with it."

Okay, I know that Don King provides a lot of flavor to any proceeding, which is why he's a popular choice for cameo roles in the movies. I understand that King has influence with people, and Gillespie's embrace of him shows an openness that supposedly eludes Republicans. I find Don King very entertaining and even witty.

However, I don't find Mr. King particularly admirable. I think that Don stands for exploitation and I rather suspect that his fraud indictments were well-earned. As I read this article, I asked myself if Gillespie would be so jolly about being on stage with Dennis Kozlowski or Kenneth Lay, two other prominent Americans indicted for fraud, both of which managed to get through life without a manslaughter conviction. What's next -- a photo op with OJ?

Republicans, without a doubt, need to work hard to show African-Americans that they have a place at the table and that our philosophies promise real hope for success through self-sufficiency, not condescending handouts from a political party that does little else for their communities. What we don't need to do is sell out by claiming to be tough on crime but looking the other way with people like Don King. There are so many other community leaders with real moral grounding with whom we could be working. This only shows me a different kind of bigotry, where we excuse the glib con man as long as he's black and votes the right way. How exactly does that differentiate us from the Democrats?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 4, 2004 12:14 AM

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