Perhaps the Republican National Committee should have asked Pastor Stephen Broden to address the convention.
Broden, a pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas and a first-time delegate, made an impassioned case for why he believes more African American voters should join the Republican Party and vote for Mitt Romney in November. In an interview near the Texas delegation's section at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Broden criticized President Obama while heaping praise on Romney and the Texas delegation.
"I'm pleased with with the Texas delegation," he said. "This is a patriotic group. These are people who are deeply concerned about our country, about our nation, and are engaged at a level that I have not witnessed in and around the state to the degree that I have in this group here."
On a night when rousing speeches were delivered from the podium by Mia Love, Artur Davis, Ann Romney and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Broden spoke with a reporter at length about the five issues that convinced him to register as a member of the GOP.
"The platform of the Republican Party best reflects my values," he said. "I am a social conservative, evangelical, and many of the social issues that were of concern to me as a pastor and as a citizen were best reflected in the platform of the Republican Party.
"There's five issues that I think our culture is faced with today that deals with those social issues. Those five are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning and the redefinition of marriage. Those five issues are in play today, and I think the Republican Party has the best answer to those issues."
Yet it seems unlikely that even the most articulate, charismatic and knowledgable advocate would be able to sway a significant number of African Americans voters, who chose Obama over Romney by a whopping margin of 96 percent to 0 percent in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Asked if Republicans were doing enough to reach out to African Americans and other communities of color, Broden replied: "Oh, absolutely."
Sporting a crisp Stetson hat like every other member of his delegation, he sounded less like a cowboy and more like a historian — one with a partisan viewpoint, to be sure, but a historian nonetheless.
"When you look at the two parties, and the history and the legacy of the two parties — the Republican Party is the party of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was through the abolitionist movement and the Republican Party that blacks in America were set free from slavery, and though the efforts of the Republican Party during the '50s and '60s that introduced civil rights — it was the initiative of the Republican Party — whereas, the Democratic Party is the party of the Klan, is the party that resisted civil right, that Bull Connor was a member of.
While Democrats would certainly take issue with Broden's historical narrative, no one who hears him talk politics could doubt depth of his conviction or his skill as an advocate.
As Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" emanated from the arena's PA system (followed by chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"), Broden explained why he will not be voting for Obama in November.
"What do I personally think of him? My thought of him is through the grid of my politics," he said. "I see him as the antithesis of the founding principles that made this nation great, that he is operating on an idea, a worldview that contradicts my world view and my values — and what I believe, the values of our nation. … I see him as someone is on the opposite side of where I stand. That's how I see him."
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