GOP's Dye Job Just a Whitewash
See all those black faces on the podium at
the Republican convention? Five months
ago, they would have had a hard time
voting in the South Carolina Republican primary.
Many black South Carolinians who turned out
Feb. 19 found their neighborhood polling places closed. State
GOP officials said it was an oversight, or maybe a manpower
problem, or maybe it was because they didn't think any blacks
really wanted to vote.
In any case, the doors were locked.
But that was then. Now — Shazam! — the Grand Old Party has
transformed itself into the Brand New Party.
Today, at its convention here, the Brand New Party — or maybe
it should be called the Born Yesterday Party — is absolutely
obsessed with the well-being of black Americans, especially the
poor and children. It is also newly enchanted by black popular
As Sen. Pat Moynihan (D-N.Y.) once said, such rapidly shifting
versions of reality have been known to cause catatonia in rats.
Four months ago, when he was fighting for his life in the New
York Republican primary, Gov. George W. Bush ran radio ads
accusing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of opposing research into
cures for breast cancer.
Today, the Brand New Party is absolutely horrified by negative
campaigning. It is something, apparently, that only Vice President
A couple of years ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
(R-Ga.) was issuing Republicans a vocabulary book they could
use to call Democrats corrupt, pathetic traitors and similar names.
Today, the BNP denounces the bitter feuding that has descended
upon Washington — as if Republicans were innocent victims of it.
Eighteen months ago, the Republicans voted on party lines to
impeach President Clinton against the overwhelming opinion of the
Today, they denounce petty partisanship and insist that politicians
must drop their feuding and get back to doing the people's
These sudden shifts — neck-wrenching transitions, as editors call
them — are both great and small.
In the last couple of elections, the GOP was demanding the
abolition of the Education Department and denouncing proposed
national educational standards as a commie plot to take over the
Today, the Brand New Party is demanding rigorous tests of both
our children and their teachers.
When Republicans took over Congress in 1995, they predicted
Medicare would "wither on the vine" as seniors switched to
medical savings accounts and other private-enterprise health
systems. Today, the Brand New Party promises to save
Once, the GOP was demanding English as an official language.
Today, Bush is addressing audiences in Spanish.
Four years ago, Republicans denounced Bill Clinton as a draft
dodger. Today, the BNP nominates a vice presidential candidate,
Dick Cheney, who says he had "other priorities" than serving in the
Maybe this is genuine. Maybe the Republicans have seen the error
of their ways and have swiftly transformed themselves into a
compassionate, color-blind party, the Born Yesterday Party.
It will appeal to everybody else who was born yesterday.