Speaking to the Urban League's annual convention, President Bush questioned black voters support for Democrats. The Associated Press reports:
The transcript of President Bush's address to the Urban League is available here. There was much more to the President's speech. President Bush asked the audience, which included Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, at least eight significant questions:
"Does the Democrat Party take African-American voters for granted? It's a fair question," Bush told the Urban League's annual convention. "I know plenty of politicians assume they have your vote. But did they earn it, and do they deserve it?"
Bush drew applause each time he ticked off one of his questions to the group: "Is it a good thing for the African-American community to be represented mainly by one political party?"
"Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat Party truly served the African-American people?"
"There is an alternative this year," Bush said. "Take a look at my agenda."
I recommend you read the entire speech. President Bush told the audience that they share the same belief:
Does the Democrat party take African American voters for granted?
Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party?
How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete?
Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community?
Does blocking the faith-based initiative help neighborhoods where the only social service provider could be a church?
Does the status quo in education really, really help the children of this country?
Does class warfare -- has class warfare or higher taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city?
Are you satisfied with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness to the problem of the family?
President Bush also mounted a spirited defense of the
The thing I like about the National Urban League is you believe in the future of the African American community. You've got this great faith that the future is going to be better, and I share that. That's what I'm here to talk about. I believe the same thing.
I believe this country can and will be a place of opportunity and hope for every single citizen. It's not a given; there's work to be done. But it's a goal, and it's an important goal.
I don't care what party you're in, what city you live in, or what state you're from, the goal has got to be -- America has got to be an hospitable, hopeful place for every single citizen. That's what I believe. That's kind of the heart of what they call compassionate conservatism, that the American experience must be alive and viable for everyone, and that government has a role to help people have the tools so they can help themselves. See, I believe in the human spirit; I believe if people have the opportunity and the ability, they will achieve their God-given talents. That's what I believe. And I think that's a proper role for the federal government, to help people.
No Child Left Behind Act:
Progress for African Americans, and progress for all Americans, requires good schools. (Applause.) The system tended to shuffle kids through, and you know what I'm talking about. You know, the hard-to-educate were labeled that, and they just moved through, that's what was happening. We can play like it wasn't happening. It was happening. That's what you get when you get low expectations. It's what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations.
When I first came to the Urban League, I vowed to change that attitude in Washington. It was one of the things I said. I said, give me a chance to work the education system. And we have. We passed good law. Listen, the government has got a funding responsibility. We have. We've increased federal funding for K through 12 by 49 percent from 2001. I label that significant. (Applause.)
But you know what else has changed? For the first time, the federal government is asking the question, can our children actually read? And see, I feel comfortable asking that question, because I believe every child can read. You don't ask that question if you believe certain children cannot read; you say, okay, fine, shuffle them through, the consequences of which, when people get out of high school, they're illiterate, they're lost, they're frustrated. They don't have a chance to realize the great promise of the country. We're changing that attitude in public schools.
The philosophy of the No Child Left Behind Act says, every child can learn, we expect every child to learn, and we expect you to show us whether or not every child is learning. (Applause.)
And it's paying off. The test scores, the accountability systems are beginning to show that African American fourth graders are catching up. There is an education gap in America and so long as there is an education gap, we must be relentless in our pursuit for excellence. (Applause.)
Near the end of his remarks President Bush quoted Charlie Gaines:
I'll be surprised if the speech gets the positive coverage in the mainstream media that it deserves.
Blacks are gagging on the donkey but not yet ready to swallow the elephant.