Don’t miss this crucial column from NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez in which she recounts the story of how Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP impressed her Nigerian cab driver in the Beltway:
The mid-July rumor that Mitt Romney might pick former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice as his running-mate was a fun Matt Drudge scoop for those few in the country who live off political-campaign gossip during Acela rides between Boston and New York or Philly and D.C. It was a treat for junkies looking for a pre-convention news high, coming so soon after Ann Romney’s offering that her husband might be considering a woman to fill the slot.
A woman is a good idea. Or a Marco Rubio. A Bobby Jindal. That’s the unsolicited advice one political veteran offered while discussing Mitt Romney’s potential vice-presidential pick. Most important, he said, “You’ve got to go to the future.” Oddly, that’s what the Condi rumors reflected, despite the fact that she had served in George W. Bush’s cabinet. . . .
Romney also issued a challenge to embrace school choice as a civil-rights issue. One of President Obama’s more indefensible positions is reflected in his stubborn refusal to be an advocate for some of the poorest children in Washington, D.C., who are plagued by dismal, dangerous schools. Talking about the intolerable inequality that persists in educational opportunity, Romney quoted Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” That’s a statement for our times, soul-reviving for our country and our culture.
It was one of several quality borrowed lines Romney offered. “Every good cause on this earth,” Romney said, “relies in the end on a plan bigger than ours. ‘Without dependence on God,’ as Dr. King said, ‘our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest night.’ Unless his spirit pervades our lives, we find only what G. K. Chesterton called ‘cures that don’t cure, blessings that don’t bless, and solutions that don’t solve.’” This is a crucial part of the conservative proposition this November that Romney represents: that government is not our sole or even our primary hope, and it’s not our primary agent of transformational change. . .
The Romney campaign doesn’t need a vice-presidential gimmick. Mitt Romney just needs to be himself. That NAACP speech was a model and a turning point. “Take a look,” he said at his unleashing. If he keeps talking that way, whole new audiences might do just that.”
Few of us political junkies in Dixie ride the Acela train in the Northeast corridor between Boston, New York City, and DC. Maybe we could have seen Romney’s “unleashing” from that vantagepoint?
Down South, it sounded like he was booed by a bunch of African-Americans after promising to give away our new schools in our overpriced suburbs because blacks have totally destroyed our old public schools, and it is also looked like he has a rock solid grasp on 1 percent of the black vote.
Note: Condoleeza Rice probably voted for Obama in 2008.