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July 16, 2008

McCain At The NAACP Today

Let's be honest, black votes are tough to come by in normal times for Republican presidential candidates and this isn't a normal year for obvious reasons. Still, McCain went and did his thing today.

I have to admit I really liked his remarks on education.

After decades of hearing the same big promises from the public education establishment, and seeing the same poor results, it is surely time to shake off old ways and to demand new reforms. That isn't just my opinion; it is the conviction of parents in poor neighborhoods across this nation who want better lives for their children. In Washington, D.C., the Opportunity Scholarship program serves more than 1,900 boys and girls from families with an average income of 23,000 dollars a year. And more than 7,000 more families have applied for that program. What they all have in common is the desire to get their kids into a better school.

Democrats in Congress, including my opponent, oppose the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. In remarks to the American Federation of Teachers last weekend, Senator Obama dismissed public support for private school vouchers for low-income Americans as, "tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice." All of that went over well with the teachers union, but where does it leave families and their children who are stuck in failing schools?

...If I am elected president, school choice for all who want it, an expansion of Opportunity Scholarships, and alternative certification for teachers will all be part of a serious agenda of education reform.

I fear there's some huge federal plan behind this rhetoric that I'll hate but this, along with his ideas to get non traditional teachers in classrooms, is good stuff.

Will any of this pass a Democrat controlled Congress? Sadly, no.

As is his habit, McCain took questions after his speech.


After McCain's speech to the NAACP, former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD) admitted the Arizona senator is unlikely to garner much of the black vote, but praised him for connecting with the audience.

...Unlike Obama, McCain held a Q&A after his speech, which caused a visible stir in the room.

"You could hear the room go, what?! He's actually going to open this up?!" Steele later said. "And I was asking folks, 'Did Barack do that?' And they were, like, 'No.' So, I think it speaks to the style. It speaks to the substance of the man in terms of how he wants to engage the black community, and I appreciate him doing it.

Despite my, um, lack of enthusiasm for McCain, I love that he takes so many questions. It's a very small 'r' republican thing to do. No question is going to change his mind or likely win him many votes but it's still the right thing to do. The fact that the potential for disaster is much higher than any likely reward is another thing I respect. That type of high wire act is much more like the real job than controlled speeches are. It's good to see a candidate willing to get in the arena and stand up for what he believes in.

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posted by DrewM. at 05:03 PM

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