BRIAN LAMB: Crystal Wright, why did you call your blog ConservativeBlackChick.com?
CRYSTAL WRIGHT: Not a big story behind that, but I felt like it really illustrated what I was trying to convey and it also showed who I was. It's literal and it's fun and it actually came into being because I was at a reunion for my alma mater, Georgetown University, talking to a good friend of mine, and she said, "You should just do your own blog."
And I said, "OK, Abenna (ph). What would – what do you think I should call it?" And then out popped the words "conservative black chick."
LAMB: When did you do it first?
WRIGHT: 2009 is when I started the blog. Around 2009, I think, 2010. I started blogging in 2009 when President Obama got elected, actually. I was very frustrated by his election early on.
WRIGHT: Because I felt as though he ran, he was trying to run a little more as a moderate Democrat and to pull in people like in what was a red state of Virginia, turn it blue. So I said, this is interesting, let's see what this guy does with it.
And then in January 2009 when he started making his appointments, and I began to see the same faces of the Clinton administration that I had seen when I first came to Washington, I was becoming increasingly frustrated.
And then really Obamacare is what tipped me over the edge with unemployment, where it was in this country, I shook my head and I said, "Why isn't this president focusing on job creation? People don't want what was close to universal healthcare right now."
LAMB: When did you become a conservative?
WRIGHT: I don't really know if it was a light bulb going off in my head, but I do know that the way I was raised as a kid by my parents was always, you know, you grow up in life, you take responsibility for your actions and you don't ever depend on somebody to do something for you. We would sit around the dinner table at night and all have dinner as a family together. But – and my parents didn't ever talk to us about politics, but they talked to us a lot about values and keeping your promises to people.
And I think I really became a conservative when I moved to Washington in the mid to late, well, mid-90s, 1995. And I started working in television news and going out, sitting in on hearings for ABC News, at the time I was working for them. And I remember walking up and down Constitution and Independence Avenue and seeing all these government buildings, and I thought to myself, "What the heck do all these people do all day?" And I just felt like the more I engaged with government, the more conservative I became, if that makes any sense. I just – I felt like government wasn't doing a whole lot for Crystal Wright, so why was I paying all this money in taxes for it?
LAMB: When should government, in your opinion, be involved with the average person?
WRIGHT: I think government should be there for the indigent and the poor, certainly. I think government should be there as a framework for how we conduct business. And really a structure for society, which, when you read the Constitution, that's what the founding fathers really had in mind, I believe.
I don't think government is there to necessarily prop all of us up. Because then there wouldn't be a safety net left for the people in life who really need it, people who are disabled, people who fall on hard times, perhaps, and need a little help along the way.
But I feel as though government now has grown so much beyond what our founding fathers wanted it to be. I mean, it's by the people, for the people. And it's really a framework, in my opinion, for how we live our life and conduct business.
LAMB: Go back to that table that you used to sit around at home. Where was it? And who sat around the table? And what did your mom and do, or what do they do?
WRIGHT: Yes. Well, I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and the table was the kitchen table. And when we all got home from school, my Dad got home from work, Mom was always cooking most of the time a good meal, I think. Sometimes I didn't love meatloaf and liver when she tried to make us eat it. But, you know, it was a time when we all sat down and I remember watching Walter Cronkite and Ted Koppel at the time, when the Iran hostage crisis was going on.
And we just talked about current events, what we had done at school, our grades, what was going on in our life, our lives, and we just sat around the table as a family. And it was such a meaningful thing to me. And it really left such a strong imprint on my life even to this day as an adult.
When I'm with my family, we sit at home and we talk about things going on, current events of course, and what's going on in our lives. And I think that's really important and I think, as a country, somehow we've gotten away from that family time, and I do think that makes a difference in kids' lives. I mean, I don't want to get, you know, on a high horse here, but families that eat together tend to stay together. And their kids do well, so.
LAMB: How many kids around that table?
WRIGHT: I'm sorry, it was three of us, so I have two younger brothers. So it was me, I was the only girl, and two younger brothers. And, you know.
LAMB: What's their politics?
WRIGHT: I would say conservative. Maybe not necessarily identifying as Republican, but definitely conservative, living in a very liberal state of Washington state. I don't know how they ended up out there, but that's where they are.
LAMB: And what about Mom and Dad, what do they do?
WRIGHT: My father is a dentist. He has been a practicing dentist for a gazillion years, probably 40 years. And my mom was a schoolteacher. She taught K through second grade when we were all little. And then she got out of the workforce and now, you know, goes in and out of it. She works at my dad's office, making sure the bills are paid.
LAMB: And they still live in Richmond?
WRIGHT: They do. And they're married. They've been married over 40 years, almost 50. I think 50 years is coming up.
LAMB: How often are you picked as a balance? ConservativeBlackChick.com balances out something else, and what would you often balance out?
WRIGHT: I don't know if I'm often picked as a balance, but I'm picked typically to go on panels and perhaps do news programs because people consider me an anomaly. Why, I don't really know, because there are a lot of black conservatives. So I tend to become a punching bag when I go on some television, majority of the interviews I do. I'm the punching bag for the liberal host or the liberal guest, is my perception of it, a lot of times.
LAMB: How do you feel about that?
WRIGHT: I don't like it because I know that there are a lot of black Republicans out there. I mean, if people do, you know, go back in history and do their homework, they'll realize that the Republican party was the home to black Americans up through probably the '60s. And it was really the Republican Party that did a lot to get blacks elected to office and make sure they would vote and all sorts of great things, fought for civil rights. So it frustrates me. And I don't like it, I get angry about it actually.
LAMB: Here's a video clip, for – you participated in the Congressional Black Caucus' annual legislative conference back in September of this year. Let's just watch a little bit of this.
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROFESSOR MARC LAMONT HILL: I want to push this forward just a little bit. So when you look at the data that suggests that when these laws get implemented, fewer black people vote, fewer black people have access to the polls...
WRIGHT: Data, OK.
HILL: How is that not, on its face, a racialized set of laws and policies?
WRIGHT: Well, I want to start, I want to backtrack a little bit and then I want to go ...
HILL: Fair enough.
WRIGHT: To some data that nobody's mentioning and Ron Christie has touched on. I grew up knowing that my parents sat at lunch counters, my mom tells me these stories, they resonate with me because they made me the woman I am, the fearless woman to have a different opinion, to sit here before you and say that I don't think Martin Luther King fought for us to be in the year 2012 to be told that blacks can't, can't, can't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: Fearless. Are you fearless?
WRIGHT: Ah, yes, to my own detriment, sometimes I think.
LAMB: Give us an example.
WRIGHT: Just the fact that I speak out and write a lot of the things I write as a black woman and a conservative black woman, I think, is an example. And the tape you just played is an example of my fearlessness. And really it goes back to what I was explaining earlier, the way I was raised, that my mother always – and I get a little emotional because my parents are a big part of my life and who I am today – and no matter what we as kids, my brothers and I, ever wanted to pursue in life, we were always told, you know what, kids, no matter what, you can do it. And there's no barrier to you doing it except yourself. And they never let us quit. That's what they always told us. My mom said, you know what, you make a commitment, you're going to do it. I want you to follow through till the end. Dad was the same way.
So when I hear these accusations that black people, voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities because it – it implies to me that somehow we have something missing in our brain, we're lesser than, you know. To me, if white Americans can get IDs to vote and go through all the processes to follow the laws, what are you telling black people? That somehow they're not good enough, they're lesser than. And that's what bothers me a lot, about a lot of the rhetoric coming from Democrats and the left. That we always have to make special, you know, there has to be a specialness when we deal with minorities because they're too feeble-minded, we really need to make concessions for them because they can't follow the rules like everybody else.
And when you treat people like victims, then I don't think they want to aspire. And I just, I really resent it. I think it's bad to teach young people that kind of rhetoric. And it's nothing to write home about or sing praises about when you have, what, like one in six Americans on food stamps right now. I mean, that's something we should all not be so happy about. So.
LAMB: You also alluded, in your comments, about what your parents lived through back in their early years, lunch counters and things. Can you give us some more background on that, and your father, in being a dentist, and where he went?
WRIGHT: Sure. My father was one of the very first folks to go through, I guess, post-civil rights, he was one of the first blacks to get admitted to the Medical College of Virginia in the dental school. He was the only black in his class. And he dealt with discrimination from his professors when he was in dental school. He would help other classmates of his study, and produced the same work as his white counterparts, and he would get graded down and they would get As.
I hear stories from my parents talking about how they were called the N-word and all sorts of ugly things. My mom talks about sitting at lunch counters with my father during segregation. She talks to us often about when she was a little girl, she had to go to the segregated beach but she could see where the line marked off, here's for blacks and here's for whites. She was on the black side and she could see the white kids and their families enjoying umbrellas and being able to rent all these great things for a day at the beach, and meanwhile she didn't have access to those same things.
My mother tells me when she was going to ballet class, I think she was like 13, she was probably, she says that she – “Before Rosa Parks did that, I had my own encounter on the bus.” I said, "Mom, what are you talking about?" She said, "I'm serious." She was going to ballet class and she got on the bus. She went to back of the bus like she was supposed to in Richmond, Virginia. A white, older man got on and told her she needed to move. And she looked at him, she said, "Sir, I'm already in the back of the bus. Where do you want me to go?" So she sat there. The bus driver didn't make her move.
So I get a lot of my fearlessness, I think, from my mother, probably, because my dad's a little more shy. But I get fortitude from him, and other strengths. But the fearlessness probably comes a lot from my mother. When I hear these stories, you know, “My mother, myself,” that's what people say. And I can't help, I guess, it's all in the genes why I'm the way I am and why I speak out. Because I think we should all want to get more engaged in the political process, not less engaged.
LAMB: How did all of that affect your parents? And how much do they talk about those days today?
WRIGHT: They talk about it a lot, and I think especially now since we have the first black president of the United States that was elected, which was very historic, my mother had tears in her eyes when Barack Obama became president in 2008.
LAMB: Did she vote for him?
WRIGHT: Yes, she did.
LAMB: How about dad?
WRIGHT: I'm not sure about dad.
LAMB: Did they vote ...
WRIGHT: But he said he did, so.
LAMB: Did they vote for him again?
WRIGHT: My father did not vote for him again. I haven't asked my mom. My mom and I haven't followed up on her vote yet.
LAMB: Did you vote for him originally?
WRIGHT: I did, actually.
LAMB: And did you vote for him again?
WRIGHT: No. I did not.
LAMB: OK. Parse all that.
WRIGHT: I know, that's a lot. That's the first time I've probably even said how I voted in 2008. It was historic to, for me, knowing how my grandmother lived, my uncles and my mom and my dad, it was historic to be able to, in 2008, to go into a voting booth and see a black man running on the ticket that you had the option of voting for for president. Very moving, meaningful, it was great. I'm glad that we as a country got past that barrier.
I'm troubled, however, on the other side of that, that the president, in my opinion, isn't being judged and held to the same standards as his predecessors. Because, I believe, of his race. I think we have a coddling of his presidency by the mainstream media because he's the first black president and they're fearful of offending. That really troubles me. I think it's great that we crossed the Rubicon, in many ways, as a country. And the people chose again, and they voted to give him another four years. I don't know think that was the right choice but we live in a democracy and that's the way it is.
And I know, talking to my mother about – we talk a lot about politics, probably more now, I think, as a family, because of the president and his policies and the fact that he's black. There's a lot going on there, I think, for black Americans. And I'm not so sure if all the black Americans who voted for him a second time around really looked at his record and what he has or has not done for them as a people or a race.
So it's complicated, certainly, but I don't think – for me the second time around, it wasn't that complicated. I wanted to believe that he wasn't going to govern in the way that he governed the first term. And it was a complicated vote. For me, McCain and Palin weren't as strong of a ticket as I would have liked to have seen. So I don't know if that answers your question, but.
LAMB: Well, I want to go back to your parents. So we started off with that. What impact did all of their early upbringing have on them and how much did they carry with them to this day?
WRIGHT: I don't, I don't think that they carry it with them, you know, as a badge, like here, see my civil rights work, let me show it to you. It's not like – my parents aren't going around saying, oh, woe is me, look at how much we had to overcome, how much we had to fight to get to where we are. No, I think their parents instilled in them the same values they're instilling in me.
My parents carry around – when we're going through bad times as children and we need some pep talks, that's when my parent say, "Hey, look, if we can go through the crap we had to go through, you can suffer these minor bumps in the road. And here's how you do it. You have fortitude, you keep pressing forward."
That's really the message I always get from my parents. But it's not to say that racism doesn't still exist and there's not – I think in many ways my parents are often telling me, we feel like the country's more divided now, maybe in a more subtle way than it was when they were sitting at lunch counters.
LAMB: Let's go back to that Congressional Black Caucus meeting again where you have an exchange with Al Sharpton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Going back to Al, Reverend Sharpton's comment, last time I looked, the Supreme Court is the law of the land. So when Texas and all these other states who have been denied, and Florida, take their case to the Supreme Court, they're going to look at the Indiana – the Supreme Court will look at what was passed in 2008 by a majority of six to three, I believe, and they're going to say that is precedent.
AL SHARPTON: No, and what did the ...
WRIGHT: And Indiana had a free voter ID.
SHARPTON: But this is where we're talking about fact. They decided on the Indiana case, it was Constitutional for them to establish ID. They did not say that all of those states who have subsequently done that ...
WRIGHT: Correct. They talked about Indiana.
SHARPTON: Hold it now, don’t...
WRIGHT: Let me finish, though, because you misrepresented what I said.
SHARPTON: No, because you're misrepresenting–
WRIGHT: No, I'm not. The Supreme Court–
HILL: Here's what we're going to do, hold on, hold on, hold on.
WRIGHT: The Supreme Court is the law of the land.
SHARPTON: But they've not ruled on these states.
WRIGHT: Correct. But they're going to look to the Indiana case as precedent.
HILL: I don't want to have to start cutting people's mics, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: He was going to cut your mic off there.
WRIGHT: Yes, I know, he was, that's not ...
LAMB: What does it, what does it feel like – I don't even like that question. You're sitting there and people are prejudiced against you ...
LAMB: For being a black conservative. What's that like? And what do you, what is it- is it hard to be in a situation like that?
WRIGHT: Yes, because most of the attacks and vitriol that I get are coming from black people that look like me, other blacks. It's not coming from – people would think it'd be counter to that, right? People who didn't look like me would be throwing all these aspersions at me. But it's situations like this, when I'm in a predominantly black, liberal environment, I get attacked viciously. And it doesn't feel great, but I'm not going to sit there and be somebody's punching bag and not set the record straight about the reality of voter ID laws.
And what I was talking about in that clip that you ran was that when the Supreme Court ruled and upheld the Indiana law, laws that were passed in Indiana and Georgia, rather, voter rolls went up for minorities. Up, not down. So it debunks the argument that Sharpton was trying to tell me that, “Oh, it disenfranchises blacks, they can't get to the polls.” And the Supreme Court said, “Hey, on the Indiana case we don't think it's going to prevent minorities from voting.” So when other cases come before the Supreme Court, they're certainly going to look at how they ruled in Indiana, and that was the point I was trying to make.
LAMB: I want to go back to one of your blogs.
LAMB: In getting ready for this show I read the following: "Old, white men just don't cut it anymore." I'm getting the message. "And are not reflective of the changing demographics of the country. America is browning up, not whitening up, as evidenced by the U.S. Census findings that minorities will make up 54 percent of the population in 2050." What's wrong with we old white guys?
WRIGHT: There's nothing wrong with white guys, Brian, I like you, you're a really nice guy. And I have a – this is going to sound clichéd and bad, but I have a lot of white friends, Brian. But no, all kidding aside, the reason why it's a problem is because Mitt Romney lost because he pretty much, in my opinion, ignored the minority votes. He gave lip service to Hispanics and Latinos, threw up a couple of ads and thought, “Hey, ya'll! Come, come to the polls and vote for me.” It doesn't work like that. With blacks, there was virtually no outreach.
And the president, while I don't agree with his message, he filled the void with a message to all groups, including women. And the fact is, like I said in the blog – Romney won, I think, five percentage more points among white voters than McCain. I think it was almost 60 percent, McCain was around 55 percent. And that still wasn't enough to carry him to the White House. And what we know is the next election, those numbers are going to go down, down, down.
So if the Republican Party doesn't do something about fixing it’s image and really do something about bringing more people into this big tent that we claim that we're all members of, we're not going to win elections and, as my father said to me last week, we're probably going to be voted literally out of existence, the Republican Party, if we don't get our act together.
LAMB: Later you write in this blog, "After receiving the Republican nomination, Romney then refused to run a 21st-century campaign. He stuck with an insular, all-white boys' club approach to running his campaign and strategy and it showed." If he had had a lot of black people around him, wouldn't everybody say that's phony?
WRIGHT: No. I think if Mitt Romney actually had black people around him and Latinas and Hispanics, he quite possibly could've won. I mean, I don't think they would've said it's phony, I think they would've said, "Wow. Look at this guy, he gets it. He gets it."
LAMB: But what about the analysis by people around him saying if you do that then you're going to lose people.
WRIGHT: Well, people were saying that if he – some people would've argued it would look like he's pandering. I've heard that. But I think that's the biggest joke running. And the big problem that I had with Mitt Romney is, from inside the campaign to the people he was putting as spokespeople for the face of the campaign, it was the same face. You had mostly white males and then you had some peppering with white females. But that's not, that's not saying, hey, I'm inclusive, I'm your guy.
To his credit, Mitt Romney went to the NAACP and made his case to black Americans, right? So I thought, this is great. I thought it was one of the best speeches he gave during the campaign, but he didn't follow it up with anything. So that was, that – if you look at that in hindsight, people would say, “That's pandering because you didn't follow it up.”
LAMB: I'd like to read some more. "Romney was an out of touch candidate who deserved what he got. But he deserved what he got but ultimately took supporters down with him. Running against Obama with the media swooning over the president in the background." How much do you think the media swoons over President Obama? And can you give us some examples?
WRIGHT: I think an enormous amount. I think, for example, the situation going on with Benghazi, the attack on the consulate there. If this had been George Bush and you'd had a Republican, they wouldn't have – you know, Candy Crowley, the way she inserted herself to jump to the president's defense in that third debate, I believe, or second debate with Mitt Romney, was so inappropriate. It went beyond the pale. And I really don't believe that if that was a Republican incumbent, Candy Crowley would've jumped in like that.
And I think, going back to the 2008 campaign, the president's relationship with Jeremiah Wright, the Reverend who was his Reverend for 20 years. Obama belonged to Reverend Wright's church. And he had incendiary sermons that he gave. He baptized his children. He married, he presided over the marriage between President Obama and Michelle. And that really got very scant attention by the mainstream media. I mean, these were awful sermons that Reverend Wright gave, saying that, you know, basically America deserves what they got from 9/11. I won't repeat a lot of the awful things that the Reverend said. But those are examples that come to mind.
And also, really, the president's failed record in his first term. The media did not hold the president accountable when the president said, "If I can't get the job done in four years, I should be a one-term president." Now President Obama said that. Why weren't, why haven't we been hearing, why didn't we hear that on the campaign trail from the mainstream media? Why isn't it no one at the White House in the press corps stood up to the president and said, "Mr. President, you yourself said if you couldn't get employment down, if you couldn't solve the country's economic problems, you should be a one-term proposition." Why isn't anybody calling him on his failed promises?
LAMB: What do you say to either white or black liberals, Democrats listening saying, oh, Crystal Wright, she's got all the talking points? And why do you feel this way and 95 percent of the black people feel the other way?
WRIGHT: Well, I don't have any talking points because a lot of times many things I have written have not even necessarily been in lockstep with the Republican Party. So I don't do talking points. I do think that I'm one of the few black conservatives out there actually talking about how the president's race is playing into how the liberal media is not holding him accountable to his failed record. So ...
LAMB: Why aren't they, from your point of view?
WRIGHT: I don't think the liberal press is – I think they're swooning over the president because he is the first, meaning the first black man, the first black person to take office as president. I really believe that and I also believe they have a love affair with President Obama, almost as though he is celebrity-like in their minds. This man, in my opinion, can do no wrong and the liberal press is going to continue to prop him up and prop him up until the bitter end.
I mean, I almost wonder to myself what would President Obama have to do that would be so egregious for the liberal media to turn on him? Because if you look back on the campaign, I find it really strange that throughout the presidential campaign, all the questions were always directed to Mitt Romney. “What's your economic plan? What are you going to do to fix the country,” right? Well, Mitt Romney had an economic plan and he talked about it ad nauseam. He talked about reforming taxes, reigning in entitlement spending.
But why were – but to me, the media didn't do an equal job of grilling the president on his failed record. “Mr. President, what is your plan for a second term?” Was he ever asked that? No. He really wasn't. And I think it's outrageous because those questions were asked of all his predecessors, Reagan, Bush. Every incumbent. Clinton, for God's sake. Clinton actually had a record to run on, though. But they grilled him on his other personal scandals, I will say.
LAMB: Let's go back to that CBC meeting because you bring up some other things in this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Why is it that in 1960 we had 36 percent of black males who were incarcerated. In 1960. I was rereading the Moynihan report, which the deceased Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote for President Johnson about the state of black America as he saw it in 1964. And then I thought about today, where we have 55 percent of blacks in prison and then I looked back at the report and I saw that, at the time, in 1964 when Moynihan wrote this report to give it to President Johnson, he said the biggest thing that he saw, the crisis affecting black Americans, was the breakdown of the black family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: Two issues there. Fifty-five percent of black males are in prison, today?
WRIGHT: It's something, it's high, it's quite an enormous amount. I think it's about 50, 55 percent. I don't have the ...
LAMB: Why? I've heard folks who don't think like you say the reason is because the laws are written against the black folks, and the drugs, and the crack versus the crack cocaine.
WRIGHT: Right, the sentencing got, the sentencing guidelines for ...
LAMB: Powder versus ...
WRIGHT: Right, right. For crack cocaine versus the powder, right. You know, Shelby Steele, who's a great professor at Stanford, I believe ...
WRIGHT: And also a great published author, writes a lot about this. And, as well as many others, but he comes to mind. Juan Williams has written about this when the Trayvon Martin shooting happened. And, you know, it's not the sentencing guidelines that the reason why you have a disproportionate number of black males in prison. It's not.
It's because we have had, and I talk about Daniel Patrick Moynihan's report, the Moynihan report that he wrote for President Johnson. And what he – the whole report is about how he saw a decline, a breakdown in the black family and simultaneously, parallel to this breakdown, he was seeing a rise among blacks on welfare. And he said this is a very disturbing trend to me.
And, he said, I'm seeing a lot of black families headed by single, black women. I'm very concerned about this. At the time, it was around a little over 20 percent of black homes headed by single, black women. Today you have – or, I'm sorry, the illegitimate birthrate, it was about 23 percent of all black babies born were born to unwed mothers. Today it's 73 percent.
So the reason why we have more black males in prison, in my opinion, is not because of sentencing guidelines for crack versus powder cocaine, it's because you have 73 percent of black babies born into homes without fathers, where you don't have a marriage to support and welcome this child and nurture this child. That's what it's because of.
And you have these failed policies, in my opinion, by Democrats, who think the solution is let's just throw money at it. Because, think about this, Brian, our system rewards women for not having men in the home. No fathers. You get money. You can be – and I'm not saying that white Americans aren't on welfare. This is the number people will tell you, oh, more whites are on welfare. True. But there's – we – blacks represent a smaller portion of the population and we have a disproportionate number of us who are on welfare. Not a good thing. That is not empowering. And if we look at what was happening in the '60s, we haven't done much better. We've gotten worse. How is this empowering to black Americans?
LAMB: What – how did we get to the point, 40 percent of the children are born out of wedlock in the country, all races. Seventy-three percent, as you say, black race born out of wedlock. Where did this come from?
WRIGHT: I think what it's coming from is two things. We don't – people don't talk about how, you know, it's great to get married. It's great to have a family.
LAMB: Have you done it?
WRIGHT: These are good things. I have not had a – I don't have any children because I'm not married. I would like to get married first, and then have a child. But, so no, I haven't don't the family thing. But I've been raised by two loving parents. And I think somewhere along the line we, as a country, have said, “Marriage isn't sexy anymore. Family isn't sexy anymore.” Well, and the numbers are bearing this out. We have an education gap, I mean, I'm talking about black Americans, now. But overall, 40 percent, you just highlighted that, 40 percent of babies born out of wedlock. I mean, that's really what it is, let's not sugarcoat it here. That doesn't do, you're not doing kids a favor and you're not doing our country a favor.
LAMB: But how do you change that?
WRIGHT: Well, you change it by talking about – I don't understand, when I was growing up and I went to school, we talked about, teachers, I guess, could talk about traditional family values and not be accused of being non-politically correct. It sounds very basic but I don't understand why, on a very fundamental level, why aren't we talking to little kids about, you know, family? I mean, really. And maybe the family is changing a little bit, the face of it. But why can't we talk about family.
And also sex education. We need to bring that back into public schools. I remember learning about all of that, the biology of the body and all that, the birds and the bees, in middle school. You know, in a very scientific way, of course. And it was reinforced at home. But if we're going to talk about sex education, we also should be talking about abstinence and, “Hey guys, there's a great way not to get pregnant: not to have sex.” And there's nothing wrong with abstinence.
LAMB: Let's go back to your life for a little bit. You say you're raised in Richmond. Where did you go to get your undergraduate degree?
WRIGHT: I received my undergraduate degree at Georgetown University, right here in DC.
LAMB: Did you stop at undergraduate? Or did you go on?
WRIGHT: No, I did not. I went to – I wanted to be an actress. I had aspirations of being on the big screen. So I got my master's in fine arts in theater at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
LAMB: Why didn't you go on to be an actress?
WRIGHT: Well, the reality of that was a little tougher than I anticipated. And I didn't like starving in New York, so my plan B was journalism. I always loved writing and literature. So I came to DC and interned at CNN and the rest is a little bit of history. I ended up staying here, so.
LAMB: How long were you at CNN?
WRIGHT: I was there I guess about maybe six or – I did an internship and then ripped scripts as a freelancer, I was hired on after that, so maybe six months, eight months. And then ...
LAMB: What'd you do then, after that?
WRIGHT: I worked for ABC News as an off-air reporter here in their DC bureau. And then I left there and I was one of their first folks to be hired by Fox News Channel when they started up their DC bureau back in the day. And I covered the State Department when Madeleine Albright was Secretary of State. I was the producer on site.
So those were interesting days. Not always fun days, because we were kind of the stepchild of all the networks, the cable networks, because we were a conservative venture trying to break into the scene.
LAMB: Did you have to be conservative to go to work at Fox?
WRIGHT: Oh, no, not at all. I would say Fox was definitely an equal opportunity employer in every aspect of that.
LAMB: How long did you work there?
WRIGHT: I guess a little over maybe a year and a half.
LAMB: So what do you do now?
WRIGHT: I am a public relations consultant, so I'm pulling a little bit from everything, my acting and my journalism.
LAMB: How much, I saw some reference that you did some work for the Republican National Committee?
WRIGHT: I did help them with a Web site that has not been launched yet, an outreach Web site to black Americans, funny enough. But it has not yet launched.
LAMB: You sounded frustrated when I read about it.
WRIGHT: Yes, I was frustrated. I'm frustrated that the RNC didn't launch it before the election. They claim that they didn't have funding for it. Which kind of boggles the mind, when you think of the RNC, they raised a lot of money this election cycle. And I think that if they had launched it, it could've, with activities behind it, it could've had a meaningful impact, but the decision was made not to.
And I think that just speaks to what I was talking to you about earlier. I mean, we've got to grow the tent, but we can't give lip service to, oh, now we're the party of inclusion, we really mean it, we really do. Because we lost. It was an epic fail, 2012, in my opinion.
LAMB: Several months ago, we had here Angela Rye, who's the executive director and general counsel of the Congressional Black Caucus. Let's watch a little bit of what she said and get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA RYE: There are summer youth job programs in the bill, there are all types of proposals that help in job creation. And that's exactly what we need right now. I know the economy is on the rebound, but if we had some more targeted solutions, such as what was presented in the president's American Jobs Act, we'd move a lot farther down the road. But right now it's a very divisive Congress. It's been really, really hard to get anything accomplished. Really hard.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: That was back in April 2012. What do you think of, when you hear that, would you be behind the president's jobs bill?
WRIGHT: No, I would not be behind the president's jobs bill. I think it was a bunch of poppycock, to borrow from an old phrase my grandmother used to use. Because the president wanted, I think it was $400 billion, a little over $400 billion more funding from Congress to support, you know, his jobs bill, which was going to give, create jobs for what I would consider his winners, and then everybody else would lose.
But it wasn't, we don't need more money and more spending for jobs, what we need in my opinion, and I think that Republicans have done a good job of articulating this, is reducing the number of regulations that are making businesses very petrified of hiring people.
And case study number one is Obamacare. I read an interesting article a couple weeks ago in the "Wall Street Journal" about how many businesses now are reducing their work hours for employees to below 30 hours, so they don't have to pay, if they have more than 50 employees, so they don't have to pay health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. So the way you create jobs, and right now we know that businesses are sitting on top of two trillion dollars in cash. Because they don't know what this president is going to hurl at them next with more expenditures, like Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was written into Dodd-Frank is, you know, I have clients in financial services and I know that that is making them very nervous.
People are just not hiring, companies, because they just don't know, again, if they're going to be able to have the money on hand to deal with the compliance costs of all these regulations. And especially small businesses. Right now we are waiting to see if Congress and the president can work out something on the Bush tax cuts expiring in January. And many people know that $250,000 is what a lot of small businesses earn, 250 or higher, and they file their taxes as individuals. So they would get hit by this, they're certainly not going to hire if their taxes are going to go up.
So when I hear things like that from the Congressional Black Caucus, I just don't think the solution is more money. I mean, the president threw money at this problem and unemployment is still at about eight percent.
LAMB: What do you think of the Black Caucus as an organization?
WRIGHT: I think it's become irrelevant, in opinion.
WRIGHT: Because it, what – I guess the better question is what has the Black Caucus done for blacks with respect to education, incarceration rates, we just talked about that with black males ...
LAMB: What power do they have, though?
WRIGHT: Well, they were founded in 1970, '71, I believe, to be the conscience of the Congress, to hold presidents accountable and also make sure that policies are passed to benefit black Americans. Well, right now, I'm going to give you an example why I think the body is a joke, in my opinion, and is nothing more than the parleyer, if that's a word, of black victimization.
Representative Emanuel Cleaver, he is the current head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Right before the election, when I attended that town hall event that they had on voter ID, Emanuel Cleaver gave a couple interviews to the, one in particular to "The Root" publication.
And he said if President Obama was white and unemployment was what it was for black Americans at about 14 percent right now, he said that blacks and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus would be marching around the White House because they just would not stand for it. He said, but, and he was almost laughing, when I read the article it seemed like Representative Cleaver was joking, he said, but you know, the president knows we're going to give deference to him. We're going to give him a break, in so many words.
So, you tell me how that body is not irrelevant if he actually admits that they're not holding President Obama accountable to the same standards as previous presidents because of the color of his skin. Unemployment is the highest it's been for black Americans in, I guess, since 1984 almost, 14.3 percent. Almost double the national average at about seven percent.
So, and to me, you and I have spoken about problems plaguing backs going back to the '60s, right? Daniel Patrick Moynihan said we got a problem, lot of, I'm seeing a trend here of babies being born out of wedlock to black families. Where are we today? It's even worse. So why isn't it that members of the Congressional Black Caucus, black representatives to Congress, why aren't they looking at policies to empower blacks and prevent this from happening?
Not policies of victimization saying what is the government going to give me next? That's not empowering.
LAMB: Right after the election was held, that week, "The Root" you mentioned, which is a website, black website of the "Washington Post" ran a piece and then they ran it in the newspaper itself, by a gentleman named Keith Harriston. Do you know that name?
LAMB: The journalism professor at Howard, historically black college here in Washington.
LAMB: I just want to read some of what he said and then get your reaction to it. He said, this was a letter to President Obama, "Congratulations on your election to a second term. You no doubt know how much we black people appreciate the historical significance of both of your successful presidential campaigns. If you don't, all you have to do is Google the numbers." And he goes on.
Then he says, "Now, Mr. President, how about some payback?" And he says, "this is not an unreasonable request, just ask women, gays, and immigrants. For women, your first day in office you signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Later came your birth control mandate that guarantees women access to free contraceptives. For gays, you announced on ABC your support for same-sex marriage. For immigrants, you stopped deporting younger, undocumented immigrants – most of them Latino – and began granting work permits for some of them." It goes on.
A couple of things here. One, he never says in this what he wants or what black people should have. But they want payback. Do you know what black people want in the way of payback from this president?
WRIGHT: Well, you know, I don't know what Keith is talking about. I know what conservative blacks would want. I'd like to see the president to be more supportive of school vouchers and school choice for blacks, who are disproportionately stuck in failing schools in urban cities like Washington, DC, like Detroit, like Chicago. That's what I would like to see, expansion, but that's something that, ironically, President Obama has consistently been against, is school vouchers and school choice.
But I think the article speaks to the fact that this president got 95 percent of the black vote this time around, as well as in 2008, and what policies has he put in place that have uplifted black Americans economically? He's pandered to every other group beside black Americans.
LAMB: OK, but let me reverse that and go back to the Republicans. Mitt Romney said a couple weeks ago that this president pandered to all these groups and laid down what he did. And the Republicans went crazy reacting against it. We have to care about people and all this kind of stuff.
WRIGHT: Well, let's back it up a little bit and talk a little bit about what Romney actually said. I think Romney should stop talking. Romney said that the reason why the president won is because he gave gifts, he promised gifts to all these different, his constituent groups. Well, sorry, I think black people would beg to differ with Mr. Romney on that. I don't think he's ever given, President Obama hasn't ever given blacks any gifts.
But back to – I think that was a wrong choice of words. But here's, and the reason why Republicans were outraged is because once again Mitt Romney shows he's out of touch and uses indelicate language. It wasn't gifts, Mitt. Here's what it was. President Obama, what I call, exploited different demographic groups. He exploited them to his own benefit.
So what he did was the amnesty for Latinos and Hispanics. He did an executive order and said, “Hey, if you've been, if you're under 30 and been in this country five years, you can have a path to staying here.” Not, he stopped short of calling it citizenship, but we'll give you amnesty, you can stay here. He did – you went through all the litany of things that Keith talks about, the way the president exploited different groups.
Here's where Romney failed. He didn't even bother to talk to the groups with an alternative beside the NAACP speech, which I think was a great starting point to a real relationship with black Americans, because Mitt Romney actually said, here's what I'm going to promise you, school choice in education, entrepreneurship, lower taxation. Because, believe it or not, where I came from in Richmond, Virginia, there was a time when black entrepreneurship in the time of my grandparents was – my grandfather owned a dry cleaners. He was thriving in the middle class back in, I guess this would've been the '50s and the '40s.
But, you know, these are things that Mitt Romney was talking about. Family values, which we know black Americans are for, they're very much, when you poll black Americans, they're against gay marriage. Mitt Romney was talking about all these things.
And what do we know, Brian, that we just talked about? When children are born in sustained families, intact family units, their chances of being successful in life go up. Not down. So Mitt Romney was actually talking about the things that we have yet to hear come out of the president's mouth with respect to black Americans and the kind of gifts that he would promise them.
LAMB: Would you – you mentioned your grandfather and there's a story there. Your grandfather ...
WRIGHT: Yes, there is a story there.
LAMB: Would you give it to us?
WRIGHT: My grandfather owned a drycleaners. He immigrated from Saint Kitts, the West Indies. I did not know my grandfather very long. He died when I was about four. I think it was four. My little brother had been born and my other brother wasn't even in this world yet. My grandfather was gunned down in his dry cleaners, in his place of business by, I think it was, two young black kids tried to rob him.
LAMB: Killed him.
WRIGHT: This was in, I think – yes, killed him – '71, maybe. Sometimes around there, '70 or '71. My grandfather went to reach for a gun. It's funny, I wrote about this, an article I wrote about the Second Amendment, actually, gun possession, gun laws, what do we do about it all? And he went to reach for his gun and they shot him before he could do anything with it.
LAMB: What impact did that have on your family?
WRIGHT: I would say a devastating impact, particularly on my mother. She's the youngest in her family. She's the last person standing on her immediate family's side. So both my uncles are deceased. My grandfather obviously is dead. And my grandmother died about 10 years ago. So she's the only one left on her immediate family's side. And she, you know, I've written about it a couple of times, but pretty devastating effect on my mother. She was very close to her father. And of course, she wanted him to be able to live to see his grandkids, her kids, so.
LAMB: So, now, we started off talking about your blog. How often do you write it?
WRIGHT: I try to write once a week, sometimes I'm more inspired in certain weeks than others, but once a week.
LAMB: But the difference in this world is that you can write this blog and you can put your headline on it.
WRIGHT: I can, yes.
LAMB: Of all the blogs you've written over the years, and by the way, it's ConservativeBlackChick.com.
WRIGHT: That's it.
LAMB: Anybody get in your face over that?
WRIGHT: Yes, all the time. Yes, I get tweets like, "You're a Republican. Why do you have to do identity politics?" I said, well, the last time I looked, I'm conservative, I'm black and I'm a woman. So why wouldn't I call myself conservative black chick. It's just stating the obvious.
But, yes, I get more beat up for the name, ironically, probably, by conservatives sometimes. And then sometimes liberals will get in my face, like, you know, who do you think you are? We get it. Why do you have to be so obvious about it? It's funny, I'm glad people are talking about it. I didn't know a little name like that could cause so much discussion. But most people actually like it. They like reading it.
LAMB: What's the biggest hit you've ever gotten on the Web site about anything you've written?
WRIGHT: I get, it's hard to probably isolate one, but I can give you one example, in recent memory, which is the one I wrote about that Romney deserves the shellacking he got. I got a lot of response from that.
LAMB: Why did you write it? I mean, going back to the – I gathered from reading some of your blogs, going back to the primaries you weren't a big Romney fan in the beginning.
WRIGHT: No, I wasn't. I was a Newt Gingrich delegate here in DC. I actually headed up Speaker Gingrich's effort to get people, delegates in Washington, DC, to get him on the ballot in DC.
LAMB: Why did you like him?
WRIGHT: I like Newt Gingrich because I remember seeing the way the Speaker, Speaker Gingrich at the time handled himself during the '90s when he was Speaker of the House. And how he dealt with President Clinton on welfare reform, balanced budget. And I felt as though, with the Speaker, he would be tough on foreign policy, stand up to our enemies abroad and also be fiscally responsible here at home and really get our house in order. But he proved that he didn't, I don't think he had the mettle in that he didn't have the mettle to really go the distance on this thing.
LAMB: I've got one of your blogs from April the 11th, 2012, the headline is, "It's Time for Women to Reject Feminism and Kiss Peter Pan Goodbye."
WRIGHT: Yes, it is.
LAMB: "In an attempt to explain why a generation of women born in the 1960s and the '70s are finding themselves living lives of solitude, a male friend e-mailed me 'All the Single Ladies,' thinking I'd buy into the writer's load of crap.” Strong. “The 39-year-old woman spends an endless amount of ink trying to convince herself and single women everywhere that they're happy living empowered lives of solitude, which couldn't be further from the truth."
WRIGHT: Yes. Yes, I do ...
LAMB: What fired you up over this one?
WRIGHT: I think it was, I'm trying to remember what article it was, "Atlantic Monthly" or something like that, that I wrote about. But what the article I was referencing. What fired me up is that we do have a lot of women, I would say, late thirties, forties, who were highly educated, some people would say overly educated, and were single, were coming up short on the man department.
And I think that when I think back on my mother's generation, it was, while they had fewer choices as far as careers go, most of them, the majority of them, if they wanted to be married, they were married, they had families. And I think with our generation they wanted us to so much take advantage of the opportunities before us, they forgot to go back to basics and say, you know what, it's what I told you earlier, Brian. It's OK, marriage is OK. It's actually a fun thing.
And I think what bothers me with feminism is that you can do it all, you can have a baby without a man, you can bring home the bacon, you can cook it up in the pan. And the fact is you just can't. Women can't have it all. I don't think you can be a CEO of any company and have it all as a woman. You can't have a family and be a good mom at the same time.
LAMB: I do want to read this line, just for the audience's sake. "While some women may generally want to live alone, I believe most women, including the author," meaning you, "don't want to live in solitude or be an independent woman."
WRIGHT: Yes. I believe that. I think if you put women in a confessional situation, even if they don't necessarily believe in God but whoever their Über-power is that they put their confidence in and their life, so to speak. If you were to ask a woman, do you really want to be alone? And I'm talking more of, I don't want to get into whether you're heterosexual or whatever, I think most women want to be with someone.
LAMB: This I'd like to have you explain. You write, "During my senior year of college at Georgetown University, I was forced to take a feminist criticism seminar as part of my honors English major and hated it."
WRIGHT: Yes, I did hate it.
WRIGHT: Because all we read for the semester was criticism and critiques about how Shakespeare was a misogynist, D.H. Lawrence was a misogynist, I think Ibsen was thrown in there, all the classics were somehow bad men in the way they portrayed women. I remember being in the discussion as we were trying to deconstruct the classics.
LAMB: By the way, did you have to take this course?
WRIGHT: Yes, I had to take it.
LAMB: At Georgetown, a Catholic university?
WRIGHT: Yes. Oh, yes. If I wanted to be an honors, graduate with honors English major, I had to take it. There were two seminars they offered. One in the fall and one in the spring. So we sat around and I remember looking at the professor and I said, you know, I'm sorry, I just don't think Shakespeare was trying to, you know, throw gasoline on women. He gave women voices. Macbeth, I mean Lady Macbeth, Juliet.
And so, at the end of the class, what really bothered me – and we had to read a lot of criticism written by lesbian writers. And I was like, why do we have to keep reading all this stuff by lesbian women? I mean, that's a redundant statement, but lesbian writers, all this criticism. I just don't get it. So at the end of the class, the professor tells us, “By the way, I just want to tell you all, I'm gay. And I just wanted you to know that.” So I'm thinking to myself, “Why is she telling us at the end of the class?” It might've been nice to know that at the beginning of the seminar because then I would've known why she was shoving all this lesbian criticism down our throats.
I mean, it was really – and I know we all are subjective individuals and we come from a subjective place about where we're raised and who we are, but I was, my parents were paying good money for me to go to Georgetown University and I had to take a class which I felt was very slanted and biased. And I don't, I think feminism is a bunch of garbage. I think it's written to brainwash women into believing they can do it all on their own and the big, bad world is out there to hate them. Well, the world doesn't, not all men hate women.
LAMB: All right.
LAMB: We're almost out of time. The final question for you is looking, not that we want to start 2016 already, but give us an example of the kind of candidate that you think, on the Republican side, could win in 2016 that you would like.
WRIGHT: That I would like and that could win. Well, 2016, like you said, is a long ways away and a lot can happen before then.
LAMB: You can name more than one. Just to get a sense of ...
WRIGHT: You know, I like Jeb Bush. I like the former governor of ...
LAMB: Another white male.
WRIGHT: Florida. I know, he's a white guy, but he's done great things on inclusion, lot of people across demographics like him. I like Allen West, but I don't think Allen West right now could probably get elected on a presidential ticket. I think Marco Rubio's who everybody is talking about, but I'm, I think he'd be an interesting candidate but I think 2016 is going to be, it's too early. So I don't know. I think we've got an outlier out there that I don't know about.
LAMB: We're out of time. Crystal Wright, who has the ConservativeBlackChick.com website and is the principal of the Baker Wright Group public relations firm. And we thank you.
WRIGHT: Thank you.