Published by Andre Showell on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm.
By Andre Showell
You should never judge a book by its cover. I know it’s a cliché but it’s also the plain old truth. I learned that lesson this week after I traveled with colleagues to the Republican National Committee Convention walk-through in Tampa, Florida. In addition to checking out the lay of the land for the upcoming convention, we also had a chance to spend some quality time with some of the movers and shakers behind the Republican Party.
James Davis, the director of communications and chief spokesman for the RNC Convention, was one of the most engaging. Beneath the pinstripe suits and wingtip shoes lies an interesting story that separates this husband and father of two from any preconceived notions many people have about Republicans.
While James is a vocal supporter of Republican ideals, he has a personal journey that was far from typical. He grew up in Vidalia, Georgia, in a poor neighborhood. He said his was the only white family in a Black community, so he has never been afraid to stand out. His experience also explained the apparent ease with which he seemed to connect with our all-African American delegation of staffers.
James explained that he, like many in the Black community, is the product of teen parents and was raised by his grandparents. And despite a less-than-ideal upbringing, he worked his way through school by waiting tables, until his fate changed. During one of his shifts, he waited on a customer who changed the course of his life. That customer happened to be a former assistant secretary of defense who ended up helping him land an internship at the Department of Defense during the Bush administration. James took the offer, got a loan to cover his expenses and was eventually hired as a researcher.
And the rest is history. He ascended the ranks of the GOP and today plays a key role in the election bid of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
This political operative knows more about the needs and concerns of the struggling and underserved than I ever will. And while he knows what it’s like to live life along the margins of society, when opportunity knocked, he was ready to open the door.
Published by Andre Showell on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm.
(Photo: LARRY DOWNING/Landov)
By Andre Showell
President Obama began the day with a mission: convincing Congress to move into action before their summer recess, even though it’s an election year. He started the day by visiting a small business in Washington, D.C., with the goal of urging Congress to pass legislation that gives a 10 percent income tax credit to firms that create jobs and wage increases.
Republicans have always prided themselves in being the party that stands for businesses, but with today’s visit and the subsequent round table with small business leaders, the president appears to be poised to gain some cred with job creators.
But it was the midweek, midday lunch that the White House Press Corps wanted to know about. Oh to be a fly on the wall at the president’s lunch appointment with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. They dined on sandwiches from local deli The Taylor Gourmet. But was bipartisanship on their plates?
White House Spokesman Jay Carney described the meeting as congenial, saying, “The president urged the leaders to act on additional measures to move on the to-do list he issued, which includes the kinds of priorities that we should be able to work together on to support the middle class.”
But the looming debt crisis was likely the unwanted guest at the lunch. With Republicans echoing the call for reduced spending and Democrats calling for a balanced approach that preserves entitlements, there are concerns that we could be in for a repeat of last summer’s showdown that put the economy on the brink of default. Carney said, “The president made clear we are not going to re-create the debt ceiling debacle. It is not acceptable to hold the economy hostage to one party’s political ideology.”
It appears that the lunch produced no agreement between the two parties to get to the bottom of the problem, so get ready for a new theatrical production of last summer’s flop called “The Debt Ceiling Debacle: Part II.”