The following image consists of influential conservative politicians, pundits, talk and radio show hosts (Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mitt Romney, Michael Savage and Lars Larson.) They are influential. They have a significant following. And they are all conservative (some more conservative than the others, obviously). But the other commonality of these folks is pretty simple. They are all white males (grumpy old men); and we see/listen/read about them every day on the news, in newspapers, blogs, etc.
I see this as a big problem and I even wrote about it a few years ago after I had a conversation with a co-worker. In a nutshell, he made this comment after I told him I was a conservative, and I quote, “I thought all conservatives were white!” The problem here revolves around perception. And I would argue that many Americans who vote but are not necessarily “political” have this same perception and it’s hurting conservatives.
Now, it’s been reported that McCain is zeroing in on selecting a candidate. Some say it’s Romney. Others suggest it might be Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. And others are speculating that it might be Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; even though just today he said he is not being considered. If it were up to me, I’d choose Jindal.
But this is an issue that I believe will have an impact far beyond the 2008 Presidential Election. Take a look at what Obama and the democrats have done with their party in the last few months. They have energized their base and the result is this “love affair” with the media; they’re selling more T-shirts, badges, baseball caps and other campaign merchandise. Their people are passionate, spreading the word (viral marketing), and participating. Will this win the election? I don’t know but it sure does look that way.
It’s not only because Obama is black, a great communicator, handsome and energetic. It’s because he is different from what we are used to seeing. Despite his liberal policies and voting record, he is EXACTLY what we need to represent conservatism. People like Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly and our elected officials only cater to a certain group of people; and I would argue that most non-white conservatives just can’t relate to their commentary, policies and personalities. Republicans and conservatives alike need to start thinking long term about the future of America; especially if they want to court minority voters in each of the minority groups.
The reality is that there are a lot of Black, Asian and Hispanic conservatives today but no one ever talks about them; they are rarely interviewed or featured on the news. It’s about marketing, positioning and changing the perceptions of Americans that all conservatives and Republicans we see in the media are not grumpy old white men. Here are a few that I think are worth mentioning.
- Michael S. Steele is the chairman of GOPAC and a former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
- Alan Lee Keyes is a political activist, author and former diplomat. He ran for President in 1996, 2000, and 2008, and was a Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1988, 1992, and 2004; and was appointed Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations under Ronald Reagan.
- Condoleezza Rice is the current Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. She is the first black woman, second African American (after Colin Powell) and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright) to serve as Secretary of State. She was also President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University.
- J. C. Watts, Jr. is a conservative Republican politician, CNN political contributor, former Representative from Oklahoma in the U.S. Congress, and former professional Canadian football player and much celebrated quarterback for the University of Oklahoma.
- Jesse Lee Peterson is president and founder of The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND), an American group dedicated to promoting responsible fatherhood amongst African Americans. He is also a member of Choose Black America, an organization of African Americans who oppose illegal immigration.
- Michelle Malkin is a conservative columnist, blogger, author, and political commentator. She has made frequent guest appearances on national syndicated radio programs and on television networks such as MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and C-SPAN.
- Michelle Eunjoo Park Steel is a Republican member of the California Board of Equalization and is currently the highest ranking Korean American officeholder in the U.S.
- John Kenneth Blackwell is the former secretary of state of the U.S. state of Ohio who made an unsuccessful bid as the Republican nominee for Governor of Ohio in the 2006 election.
Piyush “Bobby” Jindal is the current Republican governor Louisiana. Before his election as governor, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 1st congressional district, to which he was elected in 2004.
- Linda Chavez is a prominent Hispanic-American conservative author, commentator, and radio talk show host. She is also a Fox News analyst, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity. She was once the highest-ranking woman in President Ronald Reagan’s White House.
My question is … where are these people? Why are they not letting thier voices get heard. Why aren’t they speaking out, sharing their opinions, talking to people. With the exception of Michelle Makin (and yes, I love this woman), everyone of these people are totally off the radar; and that’s a problem.
Tags: Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mitt Romney, Michael Savage, Lars Larson, Michael S. Steele, Alan Lee Keyes, Condoleezza Rice, J. C. Watts, Jr., Jesse Lee Peterson, Michelle Malkin, Michelle Eunjoo Park Steel, John Kenneth Blackwell, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, Linda Chavez, conservative politicians, conservative pundits, talk show host, radio show host