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8.22.2010

gop backing away from its bright young stars of color?

This is an interesting ColorLines piece observing that despite recent Republican efforts to add some color to an overwhelmingly white GOP caucus, it looks like the party's leadership is already abandoning some of the "stars" that brought color to their ranks, including Asian American congressmen like Reps. Joseph Cao and Charles Djou: GOP Backs Away From Its Bright Young Stars of Color.
Yesterday, Think Progress reported via Politico that the National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) 2010 blueprint for winning Congress noticeably omits Reps. Joseph Cao and Charles Djou. Cao, a Louisiana lawmaker, was the caucus's first Asian-American member in 2008, and even got top notch support from House Minority Leader John Boehner, who penned a memo titled "The Future is Cao." Djou joined Cao last spring after beating the odds in a heavily Democratic Hawaiian district. The two were seen as having opened the door for a crop of young, Republicans of color who soon followed, including first generation Filipino Steve Austria.

Now, both lawmakers are facing tough re-election bids in their home districts, and there's little evidence to show that they'll get any help from party leaders. Republicans are going on the offensive heading into November, buying billboards and ads in districts currently held by Democrats. But the gesture hasn't extended to Cao and Djou, reports Politico.
If you recall, Cao was the only House Republican who voted in favor of health care reform. And Djou has openly criticized the Republican party's efforts to re-examine the 14th amendment and supports a repeal of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. Their occasional breaks with the party line probably hasn't won over too many people in the GOP. Diversity is hard.

On a related note, check out this Salon article on Indian American politicians and the perceived cultural conformity and assmilation that takes place to become a more viable candidate to voters -- how "American do you need to be to win an election? For Indian-American pols, the "What are you?" test.