Some of His Best Friends Are Green


For Bush, Black Is Beautiful, if by ‘Black’ You Mean Stan O’Neal

Was Dubya making a symbolic gesture toward black Americans by snubbing the NAACP’s national convention last week? Maybe, maybe not. You could argue that he was simply following the money. Merrill Lynch CEO E. Stanley O’Neal, the most prominent black Wall Streeter, set an all-time fundraising record for Bush by writing a letter in June 2003 to Merrill’s senior execs, asking them to contribute. As The Washington Post‘s Thomas B. Edsall and Jonathan Weisman pointed out this past May, that letter generated $279,750 in less than three weeks’ time, a record for such a short period. Stan O’Neal is one of nine Wall Street “Rangers”—the super fundraisers of the Bush campaign, the Post noted. And the Bush regime has done right by Wall Street with tax cuts on investments, capital gains, corporations, and estates. More than a year later, O’Neal’s fundraising record still stands, according to the Post.

O’Neal is a trustee of the National Urban League, which is headquartered at 120 Wall Street, so is it any wonder that Bush has already made plans to speak at its convention later this month? (John Kerry‘s also been invited.) The Urban League runs such programs as “Opportunity Works!,” a job-training program. And that’s good, because, as the Post notes, O’Neal himself has eliminated 24,000 jobs at Merrill Lynch.

The Urban League is dominated by business types, and many of its top leaders are just your average rich white guys. Not a Joe Slovo among them.

As for the NAACP, well, there are some reasons the Bush regime is pissed. Back in October 2000, the NAACP ran a TV ad showing a pickup truck dragging a chain, with a voice-over from the daughter of Texas hate-crime victim James Byrd, decrying Bush’s refusal to sign hate-crime legislation. See right-winger L. Brent Bozell III‘s dissection of that ad. But to see what Dubya looks like behind the wheel of a pickup, check out the Bush campaign’s Farm & Ranch Team site.