President Declines NAACP Invite to Speak
Yahoo! News – President Declines NAACP Invite to Speak
President Bush declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP’s annual convention, the group said. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People expects more than 8,000 people to attend the convention, which opens on Saturday. Democratic challenger John Kerry accepted an invitation to speak next Thursday on the final day of the convention, the NAACP said. Bush spoke at the 2000 NAACP convention in Baltimore when he was running for president. NAACP spokesman John White said Wednesday that Bush has declined invitations in each year of his presidency — becoming the first president since Herbert Hoover not to attend an NAACP convention.
The NAACP received a letter from the White House three weeks ago declining the invitation because of scheduling conflicts and thanking them for understanding. The letter was signed by presidential scheduler Melissa Bennett. White House spokesman Jim Morrell said Wednesday that the president has spoken about “equal opportunity and equal rights for all Americans” in many public places.
This is hardly surprising, although Kevin Drum and Oliver Willis seem to find it outrageous. As Jon Henke (who also links some other stories on the controversy) notes, “African-Americans who will vote for Bush probably do not pay a great deal of attention to NAACP advocacy.”
Just because labels remain, it doesn’t mean the thing they describe are unchanged. The NCAAP has a distinguished history and long deserved the respect they garnered, including appearances by presidents of both parties. But the NAACP, its original objectives long achieved, has become an extremist group. This ad in the 2000 campaign was simply beyond the pale:
[Background sound: deep, eerie metallic; later fade in low clanking]
Renee Mullins (voice over): I’m Renee Mullins, James Byrd’s daughter.
On June 7, 1998 in Texas my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged 3 miles to his death, all because he was black. So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.
Call Governor George W. Bush and tell him to support hate-crime legislation.
We won’t be dragged away from our future.