The Washington Post

So, I met a black Mormon birther Ron Paul delegate

You know my fascination with that NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that showed 0 percent support for Mitt Romney among the African Americans surveyed. (Again, this was a poll, NOT a census.) So I set out this afternoon to find a black Republican for Romney. This should have been easy since I’d seen many black delegates tooling around the Tampa convention site. But I got the unexpected from Dr. Allen Johnson of Texas.

Dressed in the Texas delegation’s uniform of blue jeans, a cowboy hat and a shirt that resembled the Lone Star State’s flag, Johnson is a black Mormon birther Ron Paul delegate from the Austin area. He said he did not support Romney because “he’s too much like Obama and when he changes away from that on key issues I will be glad to support him.”

Yep. You read that right. The Republican presidential nominee is too much like the president for Johnson’s tastes. But his liberal complaint against Romney extends to the party overall.

“I’ve seen the Republican Party become more liberal each election,” Johnson said. “If you go back to Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole and keep going, each presidential candidate is more liberal than the past. And that’s the wrong direction.”

I pushed back on that notion since it is painfully clear that the GOP is much more conservative today than when Reagan was president. But Johnson pushed back my push-back. “Not the presidents, no. And not the people in Congress. They have not become more conservative. If they’d become more conservative, we wouldn’t have a $16 trillion debt. You can’t blame that totally on one party. Both parties have to take responsibility.” Can’t argue with him on this very specific point.

Johnson reluctantly acknowledged that he voted for President Obama in 2008. It’s a vote, he said, that he regretted. “I expected that he would focus on the economy,” he said. “I expected that he would focus seriously on bringing the troops home and not starting new wars.” He complained that Obama was allowing black people to be killed in Libya and Christians to be killed during the Arab Spring.

As you might imagine, I stood in near-stunned silence. But I got back to my main task. Asking about the NBC-WSJ poll showing 0 percent support for Romney. “I don’t believe that,” Johnson told me. So why, pray tell, should African Americans support Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan?

“They should support the Republican presidential ticket because the focus is on bringing back freedom, not fascism and communism,” Johnson said. “Obama was raised a communist. His parents were communists. His grandparents were communists. What do you expect from him?” I challenged him on that last assertion, which garnered this reply. “Yes, they were CIA.”

Then, without my asking, Johnson volunteered, “Was he born in Kenya? He said he was born in Kenya.” And the long-form birth certificate that President Obama released last year? What did Johnson make of that? “It does not appear to be real. No. I could go on and on. That’s radical enough,” he said with a chuckle as our mind-blowing conversation ended.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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