In front of a predominately White audience last week, Sen. Rand Paul did his part in the Republicans’ national rebranding effort and attempted to make his pitch to African Americans in Detroit. The lack of interest here is curious, considering that approximately 83 percent of our hometown’s residents are, in fact, African American.
Nonetheless, Senator Paul and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus expect gold stars for merely showing up in the Motor City and making speeches. They claim that reaching out to communities of color is important to them, and indeed it is, if they plan on winning any national elections any time soon. But while reaching out to talk to us is great, what is more important to African Americans is that you walk the walk.
So either the Grand Obstructionist Party—as Republicans have proven themselves to be in 2013—truly believes that the people of Detroit have short memories of their out-of-touch rhetoric and policy record here in Michigan, they are banking on us to forget it, or don’t think we pay attention. But we’ve got news for them: We don’t forget so easily.
After all, it was just last year, during the 2012 campaign, that former Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser—who at the time was national finance chair for the Republican National Committee—told a Tea Party meeting that voters in Detroit are picked up at “pool halls and…barbershops,” and bussed “from precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times.” He added that outsiders wouldn’t be going “where those pool halls and barbershops are” to get out the vote in November, at least “not without a side arm.”