"The overwhelming diversity of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference: one woman, one person of color."
Today, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference announced that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had agreed to speak at its April 8-11 event in New Orleans. The conference bills itself as “the most prominent Republican event outside of a Republican National Convention.” Reflecting the Republican Party’s difficulty in reaching out to minority voters — despite the RNC’s election of Michael Steele as chairman — the line-up of confirmed and invited speakers has just one woman (former Alaska governor Sarah Palin) and one person of color (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal):
- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (invited)
- Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (invited)
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (invited)
- Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (invited)
- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (invited)
- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (invited)
- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
- Fox News Host Sean Hannity (invited)
- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (invited)
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (invited)
- Radio Host Rush Limbaugh (invited)
When Steele became RNC chairman last year, there were only five African-American committeemembers — including Steele himself. There are no black Republican members of Congress; the three Cuban-Americans, one Vietnamese-American, and one Hispanic American represent the caucus’ entire minority membership.