Let’s circle back to Jeb Bush’s National Urban League address from several weeks ago, because if a big, pointed word must be used, it is “symptomatic” of Republican racial complacency.
(It’s best to exclude Ben Carson, because like all black Republicans from Allen West to Tim Scott, he momentarily forgets that he is black. Colorblindness is infectious, you know.)
Bush told us that after his close loss to Lawton Chiles in the 1994 gubernatorial election he went through one of those “transformations” that recovered his sense of humanity: He converted to Catholicism, he began volunteering at the local Urban League (he cares!), started a local charter school (he seriously cares!).
Establishing that he seriously cares, Bush extrapolated his newfound appreciation of the black underclass to bedrock convictions about what can alleviate black ills: a two-parent family, K-12 school vouchers, and a national economy growing at 4 percent annually.
According to the economists, the last maybe a bit far-fetched. The rest is, underwhelming, to say the least.
But no one would be surprised by this lackluster policy approach toward black woes on the part of a Republican, although one may have had hope for Bush because of his affinity for “big, hairy, audacious” ideas or the realization that he had stumbled in his initial response to the Confederate flag fracas in South Carolina.
There was no intelligible and substantive policy because Bush is still using the Ronald Reagan mode of engagement with blacks.
Not necessarily, a “welfare queens” stance but a sly perversion of the late academic and U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s too frequently trotted out point that the problems of black life are embedded in a pathological and cultural misanthropy. Wrong!
Hence the need for a “two-parent” family, according to Bush.
Beside the point!
Once upon a time, Republicans were better than this. Nearly inexplicably, that once upon