Friday, July 13, 2012

VP Joe Biden Gets A Standing Ovation at the NAACP National Convention

When Vice President Joseph Biden walked on to the stage to address the NAACP National Convention, he received a long standing ovation like a rock star. Unlike Romney, Biden did not have to bus in house negroes to cheer for him.

Biden began his speech by stating that he is a lifetime member of the NAACP. Then, he proceeded to praise the nation's first African American President, Barack Obama. He talked about how President Obama saved the financial system from total collapse. He talked about how Obama saved the American automobile industry from bankruptcy. He proclaimed that President Obama made the right call to go after Osama bin Laden. Biden touted the historic passage of healthcare reform. With each line, the crowd gave him a thunderous applause.

After discussing the accomplishments of the Obama Administration, Biden went on to mention important civil rights issues as racial profiling, equal pay, the right to choose, fair taxation, and affordable healthcare. Then, Biden asked the crowd to imagine what the Department of Justice and the United States Supreme Court would look like if Mitt Romney won the election. That thought was frightening.

When the speech was over, the NAACP crowd gave him a standing ovation. Then, Biden walked down the line, shaking hands and talking photographs with supporters. The crowd cheered for Biden because the Obama Administration supports the issues that matter to African Americans.

This morning, I saw a Morning Joe tweet that read "Scarborough on Biden's NAACP Speech: It's Not 1963." I watched the Morning Joe video. If I had access to a PC, I would post the video. On the program, host Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele essentially asserted that Joe Biden was exaggerating the problem of voter identification laws.

The sense of urgency cannot be exaggerated.  According to several news reports, over 750,000 people, in Pennsylvania alone, may be disenfranchised as a result of voter identification laws.  According to the Brennan Center, approximately 11 percent of the US voting age population does not have government issued photo identification. Voter ID laws disproportionately impact African Americans. Twenty-five percent of African Americans do not have government issued photo identification. So, this is not some trivial issue.  I salute Biden for raising that issue.

On Morning Joe, Michael Steele mentioned that the Obama Administration has failed to address the problem of high unemployment in the black community. Black unemployment hovers around 14 percent. The national unemployment rate is approximately 8 percent. Clearly, the problem of high unemployment in the black community must be specifically addressed by the Obama Administration. We must continue to press the President to address the issue.

However, other than de-regulation and lower taxes for the rich, the GOP has no real plan to address the problem. Frankly, they do not care about the black community at all. So, black Republicans have no legitimacy with respect to that issue.

Finally, many critics have asked why the President did not address the NAACP National Convention. Attending an event is far less important than supporting and passing laws and policies that protect the interests of African Americans. Although the President did not attend the NAACP National Convention, his administration supports the legislative priorities of the NAACP. In addition, unlike during the Bush Administration, Obama's Department of Justice has made civil rights enforcement a top priority.

However, the question about Obama not attending the NAACP National Convention is legitimate. The President did not attend the Convention in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Why not, Mr. President?

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

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