The NAACP convention isn't over yet, but it has already been a smashing success.
All the goals have been met. The racial divide has been widened, so the existence of the organization and its leaders' roles are safe for the foreseeable future.
Well done Messrs. Bond, Mfume and Street.
The only downside, of course - apparently of little interest to this week's speakers - is that the interests of those who the NAACP claims to represent haven't been enhanced. To the contrary, the group's stated goal of eradicating racism will now be harder to achieve. But why get caught up in the small print? This is, after all, about self-preservation.
Think about it. If the president were shown respect by the NAACP instead of vindictiveness (even when disagreement exists) there WOULD be racial dialogue, and presumably there'd be progress, too. The NAACP can't have that! It'd be out of business.
So instead, the NAACP brought its playbook to town this week. Unlike the Eagles', this one doesn't seem to change season to season. One chapter apparently says you can best assure your own standing, and that of the political party that takes your constituents for granted, by doing the following: 1) Spur divide; 2) Highlight division; 3) Justify existence; and 4) Elect Democrats. (Then, repeat steps 1-4.)
The playbook says you sow the seeds even before the convention begins. Hence we had Chairman Bond say a month ago: Bush and other Republicans appeal to a racist "dark underside of American culture." (And he wonders why the president didn't want to break bread?) "They preach racial equality but practice racial division. Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side."
Note the southern reference. Classic "spur divide" stuff.
Time next to highlight the divide. For that we turn to Mr. Mfume:
"We're not fools. If you're going to court us, court us in the daytime, but not like we're a prostitute where you run around at night or behind closed doors and want to deal with us, but not want to deal with us in the light of the day."
Good stuff. The "they think we are hookers" argument. That'll play.
Now throw in some local color, er, representation. John Street told a cheering crowd that the brothers and sisters are still in charge. "I will never apologize for [appointing] a black chief of staff, a black police commissioner, a black fire commissioner."
Perfecto. Now time to justify the NAACP existence and its relationship to the Democratic Party. Back to Chairman Bond:
"The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 marked the beginning of the dependence of the Republican Party on the politics of racial division to win elections and gain power. By playing the race card in election after election, they've appealed to the dark underside of American culture, to the minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality.
"They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division. Apparently they really do think we all look alike - to hear them, Martin Luther King and Clarence Thomas are the same man.
"They've tried to patch the leaky economy - and every other domestic problem - with duct tape and plastic sheets.
"They write a new constitution for Iraq and ignore the constitution here at home."
That's the ticket. Let's see, Voting Rights Act (check), Clarence Thomas (check) and the Iraqi war (check). He forgot to throw in Ashcroft and the Patriot Act, but it should still fly. And there you have it, the perfect NAACP convention. As well-planned as the Reagan funeral - but it only had to be staged on one coast. If only the Dems and the GOP could connect so many dots at once, Boston and New York would be rockin' this summer.
Here's the best part: There is absolutely zero risk of anyone in the media exposing this self-serving charade. They're afraid to. Because they might get called the R-word for doing so. It's a beautiful thing.
It's just a shame that race relations are held hostage by so few who go far to hold onto so little.
Cue Kerry stage left. Ready closing ceremonies.
Michael Smerconish can be heard 5:30-9 a.m. on 1210/AM. Contact him via the Web at www.mastalk.com.