What?!! J.C.! Armstrong!

The AP has a story, Black conservatives conflicted on Obama campaign. I’m not overly surprised that, say, Colin Powell is thinking of voting for Obama. But J.C. Watts and Armstrong Williams? These guys are about as conservative as you can get. And I include socially conservative in that–they’re against abortion, which Obama wants to remain legal.

I read in one conspiracy article that Obama uses witchcraft to seduce people. I doubt that’s true, but it’s amazing that prominent black conservatives are thinking of voting for him.

J.C. Watts says something sobering. The article states: “Watts said he’s still a Republican, but he criticizes his party for neglecting the black community. Black Republicans, he said, have to concede that while they might not agree with Democrats on issues, at least that party reaches out to them. ‘And Obama highlights that even more,’ Watts said, adding that he expects Obama to take on issues such as poverty and urban policy. ‘Republicans often seem indifferent to those things’” (emphasis mine).

I don’t know. Bush II appointed African-Americans to prominent posts, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which handles urban policy. I wonder what J.C. Watts means. And I actually take his opinion seriously, considering his conservative credentials.

I checked the documented wikipedia article (see J. C. Watts) and saw some interesting quotes. “In an interview with the Washington Post, Watts chastised some black Democrats and civil rights leaders as ‘race-hustling poverty pimps’, whose careers he said depend on keeping blacks dependent on the government.” So why does Watts like Obama for wanting the government to take on poverty?

Here’s another J.C. quote: “Republicans want to say we reach out. But what we do instead is 60 days before an election, we’ll spend some money on black radio and TV or buy an ad in Ebony and Jet, and that’s our outreach. People read through that.”

I agree that the GOP should do more to reach out to African-Americans, not because they’ll get their votes overnight, but because they’d do well to be the party of all people. The GOP has ideas such as freedom and less government. They should show how these things can work for the benefit of those who are not their voting base.

Bush II has done fairly well in helping the Republican Party to reach out to African-Americans. But more remains to be done.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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29 Responses to What?!! J.C.! Armstrong!

  1. Russell Miller says:

    Dude, I am not surprised at all. I lean left, but I think it’s obvious to all but those who are in complete denial that the republican party is completely imploding onto itself. And if McCain is the best they’ve got to offer (and sadly enough he was the best out of a whole pile of really bad candidates) I think that the GOP is basically an animated corpse at this point.

    Couple that with Obama being a gifted orator and a darn sight better than anything we’ve had in years and this could get ugly.

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  2. James Pate says:

    Yeah, but we’ve had our share of less than charismatic candidates in the past (Bob Dole), and J.C. Watts and Armstrong Williams were still Republican. I wonder what’s different this time around. I mean, neither one mentioned the war.

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  3. Russell Miller says:

    While Bob Dole, etc., were not charismatic, they at least had some grounding in reality. Seemingly none of the current crop do. McCain is flying in the face of most of the country with his stances on the war and his social conservative stances, and he is being dragged down by his association with Dubya. I think this is just the first sign of a stampede towards Obama, because people are sick and tired of the current breed of conservatives.

    And before you judge me, I’d probably be a conservative too in another life. I am definitely not a liberal. But I’ll fall in with the Democrats before I give this bunch the time of day.

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  4. James Pate says:

    Yeah, I remember reading in your posts on you life that you once were a conservative.

    I’m not sure if McCain being a social conservative will alienate him from the public, since marriage amendments passed all over the country in 2000. Maybe the fact that he’s obviously PRETENDING to be that will do so, however.

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  5. Pascalian Awakenings says:

    “they’re against abortion, which Obama wants to remain legal.”

    Obama is the most radical anti-life presidential candidate I have seen. “Punished with a baby” and his votes supporting infanticide…wow! Then there is always “off-limits Michelle” who called partial birth abortion a legitimate medical practice. He is far beyond pro-choice.

    He may be a great orator with a prepared speech, but he is a bumbling idiot when he has to speak extemporaneously. “uh…uh…and….uh…” I’d include some of his verbal buffoonery, but that would take too long because there are sooooo many. When Bush made idiotic verbal errors it was repeatedly on the news, but not so with the Obama-messiah. I’m waiting for the Obama-isms lists.

    I would not vote for this guy for school board.

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  6. James Pate says:

    Hi Yvette. Yeah, I saw him display some of that eloquence when he was talking about health care.

    BTW, I like your latest post about abortion.

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  7. Pascalian Awakenings says:

    James, I literally laughed out loud when I read “eloquence.”

    Thanks re: the abortion article.

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  8. Russell Miller says:

    Considering all of the assaults on our civil liberties that the republicans are engineering, I’m quite content to vote for obama as long as his platform isn’t “kill all the babies”. Bigger fish to fry and all that.

    No way do I want Bush II in office. No way no how. Anyone who is making abortion their top platform can’t, in my opinion, see the forest for the trees. We’re way beyond all that stuff right now. Fix the country, then worry about what women are doing with their own bodies.

    (I’m pro choice, btw. NOT pro abortion. There is a difference.)

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  9. James Pate says:

    What is the difference, Russell? Are you a believer in the Mario Cuomo position?

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  10. Russell Miller says:

    Pro-abortion are those who go “abortions for everyone!” and “the only good baby is an aborted baby!”.

    Pro-choice is not necessarily pro abortion. It’s just that – pro-choice. I don’t see that it’s any of my business what a woman does with her body unless there’s a very strong reason otherwise, and the science behind when a baby is viable is not definitive.

    But I don’t *like* abortion. I won’t be with a woman who had one, I don’t think. But just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I can’t be for a woman’s right to choose. It’s not mutually exclusive.

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  11. James Pate says:

    Why don’t you like abortion, Russell?

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  12. Russell Miller says:

    Because it’s personally repugnant to me.

    Which is not a good enough reason to tell someone else not to.

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  13. FT says:

    May also add my view on abortion, James. I am a pro-lifer but I do allow some exceptions (rape, incest and threats to the health and safety to the mother). I think the religious right’s dualistic and legalistic appraoch to have NO abortions with NO exceptions is simply growing old. There needs to be more of a wholistic solution to pro-life, which also includes care of the child during the first 18-21years AFTER birth. I have only heard former Governor Huckabee take that approach. Other Republicans have this attitude of caring for the fetus but after the birth of the baby, their attitude is , “Your on your own!!!” Little wonder why Republicans are in trouble. People are seeing, as Russ has articulated their withdrawl from reality and their silly tenaciousness to a rigid, inflexible purist ideological that is simply proving not working and is nothing more than magical thinking that benefits nobody in the long term. I think the future of the pro-life movement belongs to people like Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame) who is honorary chair of Feminists for Life which do take a more wholistic, rational and a more intelligent stand for pro-life. There are more approaches to preserve the life of a baby besides than thinking that a no abortions, no exceptions law will be a panacea to all problems. That’s just plain silly magical thinking.

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  14. steph says:

    One thing that irritates me is men dictating what women should do with their bodies. Let the women decide. I am not pro-abortion (I don’t know many women who are – more men whose morals are not appealing to me) except in exceptional circumstances. However I am most certainly pro-Obama for other reasons – and as a good human being, there are more important things on his agenda than the abortion issue.

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  15. James Pate says:

    I may write a post on this topic later today.

    See, I understand the old pro-choice position better than I do the newer one. The old one was basically, “Look, the fetus is just a blob of tissue, so abortion doesn’t matter.” That’s at least consistent! But when people take the Mario Cuomo position–I’m against abortion personally, but I say it should still be legal–that just strikes me as inconsistent. Why is one against abortion personally? If the words “baby” or “murder” come into the person’s answer, then that tells me that the pro-choicer sees abortion as murder of a human being. And, in that case, I ask, why not ban that?

    I can see your point on some of your comments, Felix, yet I disagree with you on one point: I don’t think that the mainstream pro-life position is “no abortions, no exceptions.” Sure, the Republican platform may not mention exceptions, but the vast majority of pro-life politicians I’ve seen favor some exceptions.

    I sympathize somewhat with the view that we should take a holistic approach. It’s hard supporting another child! Plus, what do we do about prenatal care and infant mortality? But conservatives ask if more government is the way to solve these problems. Does it work? But, of course, it should do so without seeming like it’s putting people out in the cold.

    I’ll check my John the Baptist post, because I’m sure Steph has commented there. 😉

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  16. Russell Miller says:

    It’s only inconsistent if you are of the point of view that everyone else should be required to follow your opinions and your moral code.

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  17. James Pate says:

    So are you a libertarian, Russell? Because if you truly are a liberal, then you believe in using the state to enforce your opinions, on guns, welfare, taxation, the environment, etc., etc.

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  18. Russell Miller says:

    I thought I said specifically that I wasn’t a liberal.

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  19. James Pate says:

    I read through your responses. Yeah, you said you definitely were not a liberal, but you said at the beginning that you lean left, and I guess that’s the statement that stuck in my memory banks.

    So I’ll go back to my one question: Are you a libertarian? Are there times when you feel the government should enforce morality?

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  20. FT says:

    ((Felix, yet I disagree with you on one point: I don’t think that the mainstream pro-life position is “no abortions, no exceptions.” Sure, the Republican platform may not mention exceptions, but the vast majority of pro-life politicians I’ve seen favor some exceptions.))

    The RNC must be paying you real good 🙂 !!! I am definately sure you have heard of Louisana Governor Bobby Jindal (actually whom I respect but disagree with his approach). He is pro-life, no exceptions. His name is touted to be on McCain’s VP list.

    ((I sympathize somewhat with the view that we should take a holistic approach. It’s hard supporting another child! Plus, what do we do about prenatal care and infant mortality? But conservatives ask if more government is the way to solve these problems))

    Forget this old school notion of small government vs. big government because it is becoming irrelevant. Nobody wants bigger bureacracies. Everybody wants some REAL fiscal conservativism after Bush failed to bring about just that(remember the national debt is 9 trillion dollars—a true fiscal conservative would make an effort that something like that never materializes).The real issue is about EFFECTIVE and RESPONSIVE government. Washington has yet to grasp that concept and stop being stuck on stupid on this ideological purist dualistic view of big vs. small government (and I am blaming both parties as a collective).

    I am darn sure that there is a billion dollars out of the taxes already given for some basic help for mothers in need. Also may I add, who says public-private partnerships in ventures like these are a bad idea?

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  21. Russell Miller says:

    I am a libertarian except for in narrow circumstances. I was actually a member of the libertarian party for a while.

    There are circumstances where government needs to be involved. I think health care is one, on that I agree with the liberals. I think it makes sense to *reasonably* protect the environment. I also think the conservatives have it right on one or two things – mostly involving fiscal responsibility (the real conservatives, not these Nimrods in office now). Basically, I fall in with neither major party, lean a bit left, but am mostly libertarian.

    The whole abortion argument, to me, is one about morality. Apart from the fact that there’s a mass of tissue in a woman’s body, there really is no scientific criteria saying “the baby is viable at this-and-such age”. Because of that, I think it’s a decision best left to the woman to make.

    My personal opinion is that a baby is viable after the second trimester, that abortions during the first trimester really are not anything other than removing a lump of tissue, and that the second trimster is a bit fuzzy. But that’s my personal opinion, and I’m not comfortable forcing my morality on someone else just because it’s what I think is right.

    Now once the baby is born, of course, that baby is pretty obviously viable, and that’s where the personhood kicks in – it’s separate from the mother and is its own entity.

    This in general is something I have a major problem with the religious specifically and conservatives generally. I will admit that in some cases it is appropriate to govern the behavior of others – but that is generally when that behavior is actually hurting someone else. As the “baby” isn’t yet viable, it’s not “someone else”, so it really, in my opinion, doesn’t count.

    Basically, it ain’t my call, and I don’t want to pretend like it is, and I resent it when other people make that call on their own and expect others to abide by it. It’s offensive.

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  22. James Pate says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Russell. So it’s the second and third trimester abortions that disgust you, but not the first?

    Felix, I wish the RNC would pay me for my services. I can use the money.

    I was unaware of Jindal’s position. But Ronald Reagan and George Bush I favored exceptions. Most Republican politicians do. And the ones who claim not to favor them–and I’m thinking specifically here of Ken Blackwell here in Ohio–don’t think we should just let the mother die. For them, getting rid of a baby through an operation is technically not an abotion. (I know this sounds bizarre. I wrote something on another site about this a few years ago, and I’ll dig it up if you want me to).

    Yeah, nobody wants bigger bureaucracies, like all of the politicians sincerely care about removing the lobbyists from government (you can probably tell I’m getting jaded by the political process). But we still get bigger bureaucracies. And I can’t think of a big government venture that hasn’t turned out to be a big bureaucracy.

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  23. Russell Miller says:

    They all disgust me in their own way, but I see the first as at least defensible.

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  24. Jake says:

    “But when people take the Mario Cuomo position–I’m against abortion personally, but I say it should still be legal–that just strikes me as inconsistent.”

    Good discussion!

    The same could be said of divorce or even infidelity.

    I’m irritated when I hear uber-conservatives decry abortion, yet at the same time try to limit public funding for young, single mothers (and their children); and yet, who are unwilling to adopt. I don’t consider Reverend Dimsdale, A.K.A. “Dr” James Dobson, to be the paragon of social change.

    Frankly, I would find the pro-life rhetoric more convincing if it were coupled with love.

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  25. Russell Miller says:

    Jake: good point. At the root of it all is judgement. If they truly cared, they’d give women a *reason* not to. But no.

    More flies with honey and all that.

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  26. James Pate says:

    But, on some level, Jake and Russell, it is coupled with love. Falwell had his homes for unwed mothers. Dr. Dobson (and his doctorate is real) gives advice to families, including single parent ones.

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  27. Russell Miller says:

    I shudder to think what went on in those homes. Maybe or maybe not there was love, but I would bet you money it wasn’t unconditional.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    The home for mothers is interesting, but I still have my doubts. A couple friend of ours are very active prolifers (we avoid the abortion conversation like the plague!), and she volunteered at a pregnancy center, but rather than offer my help to pregnant young woman and the bleak outlook of their future child, the advice consisted of showing fetus’ and exploiting their guilt. I don’t know if that’s indicative of other centers, but from what I’ve read on tracts left around campus (Johns Hopkins), I was repulsed.

    But I’m sure there are plenty of people who are more constructive. But my impressions is that these are the minority, and when love is shown, all too often it sounds manipulative.

    In the end this doesn’t really address the issue of abortion as much as the shrill cries I often hear. What’d St. Francis say: “use words if necessary”.

    Lastly, too often this debate emanates from the pulpit of some wealthy, or at worst, a middle-class white church. I’ve lived in the inner-city, and believe me, Baltimore is very rough, and the problems that face so many people are so great. It often seems hopeless, and whatever the evil of abortion, the alternatives seem more dire. And that’s how life often is, unfortunately.

    Thanks for running such a great blog James!

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  29. James Pate says:

    Thank you all for making this blog great!

    I doubt that I’m as immersed in evangelicalism as you were, Jake, since you went to DTS. From my experience, though, there are Crisis Pregnancy Centers that try to help unwed mothers with supplies. I once helped out with a Crisis Pregnancy Center baby shower, and, sure, there was the anti-abortion literature, and the prayer circle in which some rebuked Satan (I didn’t even know we were supposed to be talking to the devil). But people also donated supplies to help the mothers.

    Do these homes not show unconditional love? I don’t know. One day after an AA meeting, I spoke with a woman who goes to Regent University online, and her dream is to open up a recovery house. She said she wants it to be a place where she can show God’s love unconditionally, since God showed her that when she used drugs and alcohol. And you find some of that within evangelicalism, in addition to all the self-righteousness and the know-it-all-ism.

    That’s why I’m liking this John Marks book, which I’ll be referencing in the coming days. He is not an evangelical, but an ex-evangelical. Yet, his book looks at various aspects of evangelicalism–the bad, the ugly, but also the good. There are Christians out there who take Jesus’ commands seriously. And you probably know that, Jake, since you’re in a group that does that.

    Regarding the inner city, there was this one janitor woman who got me thinking about that once. I was hanging up pro-life posters in my high school, and she asked me what I was doing. I told her, and she said, “You know, some of those babies are better off dead, than having to go through the horrible life they’d have to go through.”

    There was a lot of humility there. There was no “I have a right to do what I want with MY body.” There was concern for the babies. And, yet, I have to disagree with her, since such reasoning can justify infanticide as well.

    I’m not sure if Cincinnati is as rough as Baltimore, but my bus has gone through some pretty bad areas. And, yet, I still manage to see big billboards that say “Abortion kills black babies.” And so being in the inner city doesn’t predetermine anyone to be pro-choice.

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