In a politically telling move the Mitt Romney campaign has placed controversial Florida Representative Allen West at the head of a newly created Black Leadership Council. Tea Party conservatives adore West and he is known as the "movement's political avatar." For much of the rest of the country he is infamous for his outrageously offensive racial politics and shockingly bold language. West once described President Obama supporters as "threats to the gene pool."
Judging by candidate Romney's substantial history of race-baiting and superficial "attempts" to gain supporters within the Black community, the creation of the council can be understood as a frail, last minute attempt to reach out to Black voters (0% of which are supporters), dispel charges of racism, and lure in the high numbers of White voters he needs to win. The purported function of the council is to "facilitate dialogue between Mitt Romney and respected leaders who provide unique expertise, experience and knowledge on a range of issues impacting Black American communities." The council, whose sole focus so far has been on economics, is also led by South Carolina Representative Tim Scott and Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carrol with an additional 19 council members. Any claim that the council constitutes a genuine attempt to support the Black community is impeded by the fact that Allen West has been appointed as leader.
Allen West is a Tea Party conservative whose politics demonize members of the Black community, relying heavily on stereotypes. He is powerfully anti-immigrant, actively anti-Muslim and unabashedly describes government prorams as "21st century slavery." He is known to have "no standing in the African-American community." His new position as chair of the Black Leadership Council and de facto frontman for Mitt Romney's interaction with the Black community is definitely cause for concern.