See no evil

Jim Geraghty profiles Katon Dawson, chairman of the South Carolina Republican party and candidate for Republican National Committee chair. Dawson says that many African-Americans have socially conservative instincts, particularly on the issues of abortion and gay marriage, and that Republicans who reach out to such African-Americans can achieve a significant level of support.

Dawson may or may not be right about this (consider me skeptical). But it’s pretty clear that the path to gaining African-American support for Republicans is not to be found in selecting a National Committee chair who, like Dawson, belonged for 12 years to a country club that does not admit black members.

Nor, for that matter, do I want my party to be led by such an individual. Dawson apparently contends that since African-Americans sometimes appear at the club as guests, he assumed there was no racial bar to membership. Once he learned of the bar this year, Dawson tried to change the policy and resigned when he did not succeed.

It’s difficult to believe that a long-time member of a club would not know that it excluded blacks from membership (we would be extremely skeptical of a Democrat who invoked this excuse). In any case, I would expect a political leader to find out about something this politically sensitive and morally important.

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