Opinion: Columnists

Rice, et al. spoil 'racist' narrative

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I was, to put it mildly, stunned.

There was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, delivering a stirring address at the Republican National Convention.

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, had preceded her the night before. After Rice spoke, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez took the podium and gave a speech of her own.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley -- who called herself "the proud daughter of Indian immigrants -- also spoke, as did Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who described himself as a "child of working-class Hispanic Americans who has lived the American dream."

Surely you can understand why I was stunned, what with Republicans being the party that's waging war against women and all.

And let's not forget the charge that Republicans are anti-immigrant. Yet Republicans can count among their ranks two governors -- Haley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- whose parents immigrated to this nation from India.

To recap: There were two Hispanic who are governors of U.S. states, two governors that are the offspring of Indian immigrants and two black Americans. One was Rice, the other was former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, who was a Democrat when he was in Congress but who's now a Republican.

This doesn't quite sound like the lily-white party liberals love to accuse the Republicans of being, but don't try convincing New York Times columnist David Brooks of that. In a piece that Brooks and no doubt very few others thought was witty, he pretended to write a mock biographical sketch of Romney.

"After a successful stint at Bain," Brooks wrote, "Romney was lured away to run the Winter Olympics, the second most Caucasian institution on earth, after the GOP."

Well, yuk, yuk, Dave. But next time, check the record before you fancy yourself the second coming of Mark Twain.

Since the Republicans are so lily-white, and since Democrats fancy themselves the party of diversity, it should be easy for the Dems, at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week, to produce a black Democrat who's a former secretary of state, and who was appointed by a Democratic president.

Oh, that's right. They can't. That's never happened.

Again, let's recap the record, for the sake of the David Brookses of our nation: Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, appointed the first black secretary of state.

Bush also appointed the second black secretary of state. (Here's another first Brooks didn't take into account about those "waging war on women" Republicans: Martinez is the first Latina governor of a U.S. state.)

Since Democrats can't possibly produce a black Democrat who's a former secretary of state, they can try to produce two black Democrats who are currently governors of two different U.S. states.

Whoops! They can't do that either.

They could produce a black Democrat who is a former governor of a state: Virginia's Doug Wilder. But Wilder's the guy who recently excoriated Vice President Biden for telling a predominantly black audience that Republicans "are going to put y'all back in chains," so I think Dems might pass on letting Wilder take the podium.

You would think, wouldn't you, for all those black folks in the Democratic Party, that it would be easy for them to trot out a black Democrat who held an office as high as the one that Rice and former Secretary of State Colin Powell held.

It should be easy for them to produce a plethora of black Democrats who have won statewide offices like governor, lieutenant governor or comptroller. (Maryland does have a black lieutenant governor who is a Democrat, but even in the Papa Smurf-blue Free State, Republicans got there "firstest with the mostest": former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.)

What does it say about a "diverse" political party that it can't produce as many prominent former elected and appointed minority officials as the "lily-white" party?

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner