To the editor:
Republican presidential candidates have struggled to attract votes from African-Americans in recent decades; this election is no exception. George W. Bush's problems border on the pathetic. Whoopi Goldberg's jokes hurt his feelings (interesting how she was singled out for criticism, when white performers at the Kerry fund-raiser also targeted Bush). The NAACP was mean to him. Rather than try to reach understanding with our most prestigious and effective civil rights group, Bush will ignore it.
But this doesn't mean the GOP isn't trying to woo black people. In a Knight-Ridder story published in the July 15 Journal-World, "Kerry campaign targets black voters," the writer also discusses Republican outreach to black voters. The GOP has recruited several prominent African-Americans, but one name stands out: Don King. That's Don King the boxing promoter, who went to prison for killing two men in the 1950s, swindled his clients, and associated with John Gotti and other gangsters. Well, at least he's not friends with Hillary Clinton.
I won't dwell on how the conservative media (Fox News, Limbaugh, Drudge Report, etc.) would react if Democrats chose someone like King for a spokesman. We know the answer to that. What I want to know is this: Couldn't the Republicans have found a better representative to persuade the black community? And doesn't their choice show misunderstanding of, and contempt for, that community?