Alphonso Jackson: Republican Like Me

Minority party: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is a strong proponent of awarding more government contracts to minority-owned businesses. Indeed, since his appointment in 2001, he has increased his agency’s percentage of minority contract awards by 23 percent — more than any other federal agency.

That number probably could have been more, but Jackson has a policy that could be summed up as, “It ain’t the color of your skin, but whether you’re Republican.”

‘Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?’

At least that’s what it seemed like when he addressed a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council, a national minority real estate consortium, in Dallas recently, as reported by the Dallas Business Journal. During his address, Jackson told his audience a cautionary tale about a conversation he had with a prospective minority advertising contractor.

“He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,” Jackson said of the prospective contractor. “He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary.’

“He didn’t get the contract,” Jackson continued. “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe.”

Okay, so both these bozos deserve dope slaps. Jackson for placing politics and political loyalty over competency in awarding contracts and the prospective contractor for saying something dumb that blows his chances. Come to think of it, though, if the guy is in advertising and he doesn’t know that you don’t tell the client that his baby is ugly and he has bad breath, maybe he wasn’t competent after all.

But Jackson’s approach does reflect that of the man who appointed him: Why pick somebody who’d do a good job when you can pick an incompetent crony who shares your politics and values?

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