When you do one, you have to do them all Posted by: mcq
on Thursday, August 23, 2007
So far we've seen Democratic presidential candidates pander to gays and African Americans at two special debates designed to address their special interests. And, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out after listening to them that the promises were flying in those events.
Picking up on that, Native Americans said, "we're next". But the Dems, apparently, aren't playing:
A presidential forum set for today at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation in Southern California has attracted only three of the eight Democratic candidates: Bill Richardson, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.
The absence of top-tier candidates — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina — shows the leading contenders continue to take the small and usually Democratic Indian vote for granted, organizers say.
"If they won't come talk to us now, they certainly won't be responsive to us if they get in the White House," said Kalyn Free, a Choctaw from Oklahoma who is organizing the Democratic forum, called "Prez on the Rez."
Top contenders said they could not attend because of scheduling conflicts. The event is the first attempt to bring a presidential debate to Indian country.
Uh huh. I think Kalyn Free has it figured out. But here's the deal. When you start dealing in doing debates for particular groups, you better be ready to do all or none. Because if you don't, you'll alienate those who you shun.
And, now that NA's have plugged into the casino biz, that could be an expensive mistake:
Tribes contributed $7.6 million to federal candidates in 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They spent $16.7 million on Washington lobbying last year.
Hmmm ... for campaigns, that's not insignificant money. And that makes the decision to avoid their debate even more unusual.
"They have gone from being the poor sisters of American politics to being more politically influential," said John Kenneth White, a political scientist at Catholic University in Washington. "The challenge they've had is how to be effective politically and savvy politically."
Well they might issue invitations to the Reps and see how they respond as an indication of growing savvy.
I guess you have to draw the line somewhere when you decide to do special interest politics or you'd be at a debate sponsored by left-handed lesbian truck drivers who haul produce on Wednesday and Thursday only, but you do have to wonder if snubbing Native Americans is the place to start. OTOH, with only Kucinich, Gravel and Richardson there, it may be an entertaining debate for a change.
So far we’ve seen Democratic presidential candidates pander to gays and African Americans at two special debates designed to address their special interests.
Those among us who are neither gay nor African American and who are concerned with the documented history of dsicrimination against the two aforementioned minority groups actually welcome the fact that the Democratic candidates appeared at these fourms. For several reasons.
Calling it "pandering" deligitmizes such concerns.