Behold the Diversity of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference: One Woman, One Person of Color ... and Limbaugh
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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.
Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.