Bush's NAACP speech is just a start
Bush's NAACP speechis just a start
Kansas City Star: For five years, President Bush had turned down invitations from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to speak at its annual convention. Until Thursday he was the only president since Herbert Hoover -- a span of seven decades and 11 presidents -- not to address the organization.
The White House had blamed NAACP hostility for the president's absences. But the organization's delegates gave him a warm welcome Thursday.
That doesn't mean the delegates agreed with much of what the president said.
Bush drew applause when he recalled the contributions of blacks to the founding of the country. But the reception chilled noticeably when he discussed key elements of his domestic policy -- the No Child Left Behind Act, school vouchers, repealing the estate tax and government funding for faith-based organizations.
The president, judging from the response, changed few minds with those remarks.
Bush failed to recognize that many blacks, regardless of class, see his education policies as undermining public schools. And many question tax cuts when so many needs in the country have not been met.
Voting Rights Act
Bush gained his longest ovation when he urged the Senate to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act without amendment and told the delegates that he planned to sign it.
Better late than never. Republicans in the House had stalled the renewal for weeks and Bush, unfortunately, did little to push it along.
With the NAACP gathering and the campaign season under way, however, he and Senate Republicans seemed to take a more energetic approach.
Bush acknowledged that many blacks no longer trust the Republican Party and said he regretted that the party of Abraham Lincoln had lost its historical ties with their community.
But finally speaking to the NAACP and supporting voting rights legislation were at least steps in the right direction.
He still has much work to do, however.