JUAN WILLIAMS: Say It Loud: Black, GOP, and Proud.
As a black Democrat I have to say: 2014 was a marquee year for black Republicans.
But the reaction from the NAACP and black Democrats has been revulsion.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a member of the Democratic House leadership, dismissed Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s victory as insignificant: “If you call progress electing a [black] person … who votes against the interests and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”
Another critic of the black Republican ascendency, Darron Smith, wrote in the Huffington Post that Mia Love’s achievement in becoming the first black Republican woman elected to the House is “dangerous.”
“Mia [Love] and others like her are seemingly out of touch with the political realities of African Americans and what remains at stake for them,” he wrote. The election of a conservative black woman, he continued, was “quite dangerous for people of color, sending a message that society is post-racial when, in fact, hate crimes, police shootings of innocent and unarmed black men and boys, and vitriolic online attacks have dramatically increased since the election of our first black president.”
Smith’s harsh appraisal fit with Rep. Charles Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) assessment of the GOP’s midterm wave in the South, in which Republicans ousted Democrats in Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina. As one of the House’s longest-serving black Democrats, Rangel began by making the fair argument that Republicans in the South are using voter identification laws to suppress black turnout.
But he then drew a line straight from white racists in former slave-holding states to the present-day GOP. Those racists, he asserted, were “frustrated with the Emancipation Proclamation … became Republicans, then Tea Party people.”
Love, Scott and Will Hurd — a 35-year-old former CIA agent who became the first black Republican elected to Congress from Texas since the Civil War — all had far-right backing.
In response to this liberal backlash, Condoleezza Rice, a black southerner and former secretary of State for a Republican president, accused the critics of “fear mongering among minorities just because you disagree with Republicans.”
Secretary Rice is exactly right.
Yeah, she usually is.