|Top story: The substance of Romney’s NAACP speech|
READ: Mitt Romney's Speech to The NAACP Convention.
Romney’s jobs plan: “First, I will take full advantage of our energy resources, and I will approve the Keystone pipeline from Canada…Second, I will open up new markets for American products…Third, I will reduce government spending…To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits. Fourth, I will focus on nurturing and developing the skilled workers our economy so desperately needs and the future demands…And finally and perhaps most importantly, I will restore economic freedom.”
Romney’s other plans: “As President, I will promote strong families - and I will defend traditional marriage…federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.”
Real talk: Those excerpts are every specific policy recommendation I could find in Romney’s speech. Right now, unemployment among African-Americans is 14.4 percent. Uninsurance is 20.8 percent. The poverty rate is 25.8 percent. Do those policies seem up to the task of those numbers?
And that’s before you add in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and the planned cuts to programs like Medicaid, and to the many income supports that exist inside the “non-defense discretionary spending” bucket. Frankly, it’s hard to see how Romney’s policies avoid making those numbers worse. The fact is that if your agenda is to redistribute money away from social spending and towards tax cuts and defense, it’s probably not going to help with joblessness, health insurance, or poverty.
Romney’s speech met with some boos. ”Romney said that black families have suffered disproportionately under the Obama presidency, noting that the unemployment rate for African Americans rose to 14.4 percent last month, while the overall rate was 8.2 percent…The hundreds of African Americans in attendance at the NAACP's national convention in Houston gave Romney polite although subdued applause. But he received a loud and sustained spattering of boos when he referenced his opposition to the health-care law he called ‘Obamacare,’ when he said Obama's policies are not helping to create jobs and when he said he would be a better president for black families.” Philip Rucker in The Washington Post.
MOYNIHAN: It all went according to plan.Republicans got exactly what they wanted…As everyone recognizes, a Romney speech to the NAACP will have almost zero impact on the number of African Americans who cast ballots against President Obama, but that wasn't the point. This seemed to be an appeal to independent white voters, the Romney camp underscoring their man's willingness to reach across the aisle and, by implication, to show that he isn't a zealous tea partyer interested in expanding the partisan divide.” Michael Moynihan in the Washington Post.
Question: Why is the fact that Romney got some boos on a single line in a speech before the NAACP such a big story?
WEIGEL: You can’t talk about black unemployment without talking about government jobs. “The pre-speech part of his NAACP remarks that dealt with unemployment deserves another look…’In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent.’ Republicans love this statistic — iron-clad proof that the first black president has been a disaster for blacks. What’s usually left unsaid is the the role that public sector lay-offs have had in pumping up those numbers. Black Americans tend to seek government jobs, historically more stable than the private sector, at a higher rate than other Americans…Romney’s been pretty clear about this. He wants to keep shrinking the public sector…But it’s odd to talk about black unemployment and omit talk of all the educational, bureaucratic, and assorted government jobs that Republicans worked hard to cut back.” David Weigel in Slate.
@daveweigel: 21.2% of black workers work for government, compared to only 16.3% of everyone else.
BOUIE: The GOP’s relationship with African-Americans has fallen apart since 2008.“In the years since the 2008 election, many Republicans have adopted racially charged narratives on everything from the financial collapse -- minorities and the Community Reinvestment Act are to blame -- to a program meant to compensate African American farmers for racial discrimination (it's actually ‘ reparations‘). What's more, in its attacks on Obama, a large portion of the Republican base has adopted an explicitly racial frame. The attacks aren't motivated by race -- the apocalyptic tenor should be familiar to anyone who remembers Bill Clinton's presidency -- but race acts as a filter for their appearance. Birthers -- including prominent members of the GOP -- demand evidence of Obama's citizenship, local Republicans depict Obama's parents as chimpanzees, and online conservatives portray Obama as an African witch doctor.” Jamelle Bouie in The Washington Post.
MACGILLIS: Romney has something he could have talked about. “Here's the thing: Romney actually had something to offer his Houston audience. He could have told them about the signal accomplishment of his term as governor, a law that disproportionately benefited blacks and other minorities in Massachusetts, and that laid the groundwork for a national law that will extend health coverage to millions of African-Americans. But of course, Romney would not do that. Instead, he reiterated his intention to repeal said national law, for which he was unsurprisingly booed… Before the speech was over, Romney was already getting media huzzahs on Twitter for standing his ground in attacking Obamacare despite the audience; but is it really standing one's ground to disavow one's greatest policy accomplishment?…George Romney would not have gone through a speech to the NAACP without mentioning the universal health care law he had signed.” Alec MacGillis in The New Republic.