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They seem perfectly fine with Justice Clarence Thomas.
So, it's not as satisfying but more accurate to say that conservatives can't stand the idea of a black man (or woman) with whom they are not ideologically agreeable in the White House. It's when a black politician goes off the white reservation that the racist knives come out - not the polemical knives reserved for run-of-the-mill on-the-other-side pols, but the flat-out racist knives.
Having dispensed with that, this is mind-boggling:
"While it is beyond dispute that the GOP has a serious outreach problem to African-American voters (which goes back to Barry Goldwater and his libertarian-minded opposition to civil rights legislation) it is not based on some overt or even covert hostility to the black community."
Part of being in the conservative hive-mind is never, ever, ever acknowledging the endless racist dogwhistles and flat-out racism coming from both their leaders and their followers. Fox News has helpfully inoculated them against dangerous crimethoughts on this issue with the, "YOU are the REAL racist!" retort.
It would not be nutpicking at all to find example after example where the lack of Republican appeal to black voters is blamed on 'gifts' from their black brother-in-arms Obama, who as our totalitarian socialist Kenyan dictator is given credit for everything from magically bestowing generous welfare benefits on black folk to "Obamaphones". Higgins' acknowledgement that perhaps the Civil Rights Act had something to do with this state of affairs is the closest I've seen in a while to any Republican thought-leader acknowledging such a thing as a "Southern strategy" on behalf of Republicans. This is still one degree of separation from the actual thing, and in any case it is a near-impossible task to get a doctrinaire conservative to acknowledge that something happened in the last 50 years that converted the Democratic party from bastion of Jim Crow to a leader on civil rights' issues.
In any case, I've almost never heard black politicians and opinion leaders going back to 1965 to explain why they vote so overwhelmingly for Democrats. Why bother when there are so many more recent examples - in fact, in every election cycle the GOP has not failed to prove its fundamentally antagonistic attitude towards average black folk and black culture. You don't even have to wait for the elections - Fox News constantly appeals to white fear of strapping young black bucks. Rush Limbaugh regularly flies his racist freak flag for all to hear.
But Republicans choose not to see/hear any of this. They don't want to. When CPAC had their little "No, I'm Not A Racist, YOU are the REAL Racist" breakout session last week, if they were truly interested in why black folk don't vote for them all they had to do was invite a couple average, random black folk on the street to sit on the panel. But no, the only blacks invited were those who were already on their side and one of them got a hard time anyway for being 'uppity'.
Imagine a guy who can't get a date for the life of him. He refuses to consider that it might be because he doesn't have a car, or his poor grooming, or his hygiene, or his inability to speak to women in a way they find attractive (plenty of homely but funny guys get dates...). He just refuses to change himself in any way whatsoever to make himself more appealing to the opposite sex. In his frustration he gripes to everyone within earshot, "women are just money-grubbing whores! That's why they don't like me!"
Would it never occur to such a person that everyone - including females - can hear what he's saying, and that kind of talk negates whatever positive attributes he might possess?
Is it truly impossible to get conservatives like Higgins to understand that when you constantly write off all those non-Republican-voting blacks as welfare-addicted, lazy, too-stupid-to-know-what's-best-for-them, shiftless, entitled ni**ers, some of them might hear that, take offense, and decide never to vote for your party again even if they might nominally support some of your positions?