Poverty and provocateurs: Coulter-Sharpton versus Kemp-Ryan

Ms. Coulter declares in a Sharptonesque tone: “What matters is their own self-regard and favorable press notices, not accomplishing anything useful. For all of Kemp’s claims to being black America’s truest friend, he didn’t actually help any minorities.”

What Ms. Coulter doesn’t know is that my Center for Neighborhood Enterprise worked closely with both Kemp and Mr. Ryan in their efforts to recognize and support the grass-roots organizations in low-income communities. Never once did I hear Kemp claim to be “black America’s truest friend.” He focused on what grass-roots leaders were accomplishing and what more could be done with support for their efforts…

Paul Ryan has been true to the Kemp legacy and has followed a similar path in probing the capacities and potential that exist in America’s impoverished neighborhoods and by supporting community revitalization from the bottom up and the inside out. Contrary to what Ms. Coulter (and Mr. Sharpton) believe, Mr. Ryan’s obsession isn’t with government. His focus is on the individual and on discovering what works at the individual and community level so it can be replicated.