Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
The Hutchinson Report
American Urban Radio Network
Al Sharpton Show
Monday 10:00-11:00 AM PST 2:00 to 3:00 EST
Streamed on http://tunein.com/radio/WURD-900-s23419
KPFK Radio Los Angeles 90.7 FM
Saturdays Noon to 1:00 PM PST
Streamed on http://www.kpfk.org/programs/181-hutchinson-report.html
In an exclusive interview on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour with host Earl Ofari Hutchinson on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles on January 6, Marc Morial President/CEO of the National Urban League
EOH: What is one to make of two major GOP Presidential candidates pandering to the worst of the worst when it comes to stereotypes?
MM: We’ve got to call them out to highlight the absurdity and the hatred that underlies both of these statements. I was shocked by Senator Santorum. Over the years we have had several conversations, even with philosophical disagreements, and I was shocked he would stoop so low just before the Iowa caucuses and say something that is not only a pandering to the worst racist elements, but also fundamentally inaccurate. We have seen Newt Gingrich misstate and misspeak in the past. We don’t need Gingrich to counsel us on what we should do as a community when it comes to jobs and job creation. He is appealing to the worst elements who may have an obsession with race. We take no position on who should be the nominee or president, but we are not going to sit by and let these gentlemen say just anything without accountability. I think the other candidates should repudiate Santorum and Gingrich’s statements and let the world know they don’t agree with what was said and how they said it.
EOH: Have they reached out to the Urban League?
MM: No they have not. They made a public statement and it demands a public response. I am hoping they will, instead of waffling, say “I said it, I regret that I said it, I shouldn’t have said it,” and move on. I think it’s the right thing to do. Newt Gingrich has not only pandered, but has also disrespected the NAACP. Any Republican candidate, if they are the nominee of the Republican Party, will get an invitation to come to the National Urban League Conference, and to the NAACP Conference.
EOH: What do you want the GOP Presidential candidates to say on the economic ills, as well as President Obama?
MM: I think it is important to acknowledge the need for a comprehensive jobs and economic growth plan. To the President’s credit, he released the American Jobs Act which incorporated a number of recommendations the Urban League made; focusing on rebuilding abandoned housing as a way of creating jobs, but it has not been voted on because of congressional obstructionism. We would like to hear the Republican candidates talk about how their jobs plan is going to impact urban communities. The Urban League has been vocal on the idea that economic policy has to be targeted to the areas where unemployment is the highest, which happen to be mostly black and brown communities, but not exclusively. I was at an event at the white house with his economic counsel talking about summer jobs for 2012, working to bring companies to the table to commit to hire youth. These candidates need to address how this is going to happen. What you hear is the same rhetoric about cut spending and taxes. It’s trickle-down economics all over again.
EOH: Is the GOP be saying to their constituents if they are elected they are not going to do anythingto deal with the issues of public spending and job creation?
MM: The Republican candidates have been a constant drama of “let’s cut spending”. There is a lot of hypocrisy and inconsistency in this. You don’t hear them talk about cutting tax loopholes, or cutting military spending or spending other than programs that affect people. Domestic programs represent 15%-16% of the budget. You are not going to fix the budget by emasculating those programs that affect people and help them grow their families and enjoy quality of life. Why not cut tax deductions that have been put into the tax code and serve no useful benefit except give groups of industry a way to avoid taxation. We need a fiscal plan, but do not balance the budget on the backs of the poor.
EOH: Are we going to see more gridlock to obstruct the President in 2012?
MM: Yes. It’s unfortunate, but the die has been cast. Real progress in the Congress is going to be limited. It has everything to do with the opposition to the President. They don’t want to see him achieve any degree of success because it’s an election year. A few modest things will get done that have to get done, but real progress is going to be difficult. The president is going to have to lead through executive action. It’s irresponsible that members of Congress don’t want to vote on the confirmation of Federal Judges, people who have been nominated by the President’s lead agencies. It’s rank obstructionism.
EOH: Are some in the GOP that don’t recognize there are white Americans affected, and want the economy to tank in order to get President Obama out of office?
MM: The National Urban League speaks for all disadvantaged Americans who want a nation that helps people grow and prosper and provides a safety net for people who fall on hard times. I hope that people are not setting around saying “let’s not have any economic progress, let’s have a melt-down for political purposes.” It would be highly irresponsible, and they should be removed from office if they are promoting that just because they don’t like the president. We are going to continue to promote our positive agenda and talk forcefully about those that are going to appeal to the base instincts in this country. Bank excesses and private sector abuses were the primary cause of the economic downturn, not government spending.
EOH: Is the Urban League going to reach out to Santorum, Gingrich and Romney, asking them to dialogue with the National Urban League?
MM: We have already invited each perspective Republican nominee as well as President Obama, to come to our convention in New Orleans in 2012. We will wait to see who is nominated. That person already has a standing invitation to join us. It is important the National Urban League makes sure our community votes are important enough that everyone running should come talk to us. We feel that it is important both candidates come to the NAACP Summer conference as well.