Hillary’s Handkerchief Heads: Call Them Out

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Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.)
Del. Donna Christensen (D-V.I.)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)

If any of the listed Negro members of Congress supporting Hillary belongs to you, they need to hear a word from the people. I propose the following letter.

Dear Handkerchief Head:

You have been unconscionably silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s racially divisive tactics on behalf of Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign. I can only surmise from your silence that you either approve of Bill Clinton’s tactics or are too gutless to publicly register your opposition. Whatever the case may be, I have taken the liberty of writing to formally register my unbridled indignation and to withdraw whatever support I may have given to your re-election campaign.

Pretending that the President’s comments were somehow taken out of context or don’t mean what they plainly imply simply will not do. Burying your head in the sand or defending the indefensible won’t do either. It’s time to do-you know what-or get off the pot. You can delay addressing these comments if you want to, but you do so at your peril.

The Sunday morning talk shows were universally caustic against the Clintons.

On “Meet the Press,” Byron York of the right-wing National Review said, “You know, I don’t think you can overstate the amount of, of anger in–created in Democrats by Bill Clinton’s tactics. I mean, they were very, very unhappy with him. I was talking to a Democratic strategist the other day who said, “My wife just got in the car. She’s driving to South Carolina to volunteer for Obama.” They were that angry at what Clinton had done. And he also said, you know, Clinton is trying to turn him into Jesse Jackson. And sure enough, after Obama wins big, what does Bill Clinton say about it? “Well, you know, Jesse Jackson won here, too.”

Neo-Con Fox News Contributor and NY Times Columnist Bill Kristol wrote, “What do Jesse Jackson’s victories two decades ago have to do with this year’s Obama-Clinton race? The Obama campaign is nothing like Jackson’s. Obama isn’t running on Jackson-like themes. Obama rarely refers to Jackson.”

 

“Clinton’s comment alludes to one thing, and to one thing only: Jackson and Obama are both black candidates. The silent premise of Clinton’s comment is that Obama’s victory in South Carolina doesn’t really count. Or, at least, Clinton is suggesting, it doesn’t mean any more than Jackson’s did.”

“But of course—as Clinton knows very well—Jesse Jackson didn’t win (almost all-white) Iowa.  He didn’t come within a couple of points of prevailing in (almost all-white) New Hampshire.  Nor did he, as Obama did carry rural Nevada. And Saturday, in South Carolina, even after Bill Clinton tried to turn Obama into Jackson, Hillary defeated Obama by just three to two among white voters. So Bill Clinton has been playing the race card, and doing so clumsily.  But why is he playing any cards.?

On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, provides a blunt answer to Kristol’s  rhetorical question,  “But, you know, it does feel like, though, that what Bill Clinton is doing is he reads a poll, and he said, “OK, when am—how am I going to get her to 51 percent.  OK. We’ve got to figure out how to drive white men away from Barack Obama. We’ve got to figure out how to drive Latinos away from Barack Obama.” That’s what works on February 5th.  And, you know, he may not ever say that, but it feels like it’s a very tactical thing that they’ve done, and I think that’s what, you know, is going to offend the Beltway corridor, the Amtrak corridor, and, and you’re seeing a lot of, sort of, the New York and Washington Democrats who are probably going to keep coming out against Clinton on this…”

Some of us were raised to believe that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were among the best Black public servants in the country.  Your actions belie that notion and constitute a slap in the face to those that came before you in the Reconstruction era.  They fought valiantly for a seat at the table for African Americans before they were disenfranchised through the white supremacist tactics of mob violence, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and poll taxes. 

Continuing to languish on the Clinton plantation in light of these racially divisive tactics is a betrayal of the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party and to the many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement who fought to make America a functioning and pluralistic democracy.  As for me, I am through with the Clintons and I am too through with you.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha, a Negro who has some damn self-respect.



 

Borg Queen Assimilates black politicians nationwide

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My favorite Star Trek Villian, the Borg Queen, is so apt a description of Hillary Clinton’s campaign juggernaut. Like the fictional Borg Queen, Hillary has forcibly assimilated all into her campaign collective and laid waste to bastions of independent power. All must bow to the Queen because “resistance is futile.”

Life has imitated art and Hillary forcibly assimilated a number of prominent black politicians in September: Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, Congresswoman Dianne Watson, Fmr Congressman Mervyn Dymally, Former Congressman Bill Gray, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

The Hillary train done left the station and it looks like Negro politicians are clamoring to get aboard.

Laura Richardson’s brush with racism shaped future

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Hat Tip: Rachel Kapouchunas, CQ Politics

Personal acquaintance with racism has prompted many members of minority groups to enter the political arena. But few say they had that path set for them as young as Laura.

Richardson, the Democratic state lawmaker from California who on Tuesday won a special election runoff to become the newest member — and the 40th African-American — in the current U.S. House.

Richardson related to CQPolitics.com prior to the runoff in California’s 37th District that she is a child of a mixed-race marriage, with a African-American father and a Caucasian mother who divorced. Richardson said she watched her mother struggle with racism as she raised her and her sister in California during the turbulent 1960s, and recalled as a young child asking her mother why strangers threw eggs at their car and cursed at them while they shopped at stores.

“My mother tried to explain all those things to me, but eventually she just said to me, ‘You should be a person who makes better laws,’” said Richardson, who now is 45 years old. “And that’s what got me since the age of about six of wanting to be a public servant.” She added that her mother exposed her to politics and the news.

Richardson’s career trajectory is symbolic of the political progress made by African-Americans over recent decades. She won the special election to succeed the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, also a black Democrat, who was Richardson’s former boss and whose mentorship helped Richardson launch her own political career in local office and the California Assembly. Millender-McDonald’s death of cancer on April 22 created the vacancy that Richardson will fill after Congress returns to work from its summer recess.

In fact, the special election primary that ensured Richardson’s ultimate victory in the overwhelmingly Democratic 37th put a different spin on racial politics in the “minority-majority” district, which is located in Los Angeles County and is centered on the city of Long Beach.

Black activists who wanted to maintain African-American representation in the district mainly rallied around Richardson. Hispanics, who now make up a larger share of the district’s population but whose voting participation has lagged, found a candidate to champion in Democratic state Sen. Jenny Oropeza.

Running in a single-ballot June 26 primary that included a total of 17 candidates — 11 of them Democrats — Richardson prevailed by 37 percent to 31 percent over Oropeza. Though Richardson fell short of the majority vote needed for an outright victory, the seven-week runoff campaign was a formality: She won Tuesday’s contest with two-thirds of the total vote and a margin of well more than 2-to-1 over the Republican nominee, police sergeant and Iraq war veteran John M. Kanaley.

Though race and ethnicity were inescapable factors, particularly in the primary, Richardson told CQPolitics.com she was “disappointed” that most of the news coverage was focused on these matters rather than the candidates’ views on policy issues.

“I don’t run only from the basis of being African-American,” Richardson said. “That’s who I am, but when I’m running, I’m running to represent the people in my area, whoever they might be.”

Richardson believes her educational background — including a master’s degree in business — and her years working in the private sector combined with her political experience to boost her to a win. Before her six-year stint as a Long Beach City councilwoman, Richardson worked for Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, and prior to that, as a field deputy for Millender-McDonald.

Richardson states that public officials should advocate for issues that may not be popular and speak out for those who lack a strong voice in the political process. She will be representing a district that includes some of the state’s most underprivileged communities as well as a large portion of middle-class Long Beach. Minorities make up almost 85 percent of the population in the district: More than two-fifths of the total population is Hispanic and about one quarter of the district’s residents are African-American.

Richardson said she was eager to continue some of the late congresswoman’s legacies, such as her practice of holding “senior briefings” for residents in the district, which offered issue lessons on topics such as elder abuse and identity theft.

Richardson also intends to work with the late congresswoman’s daughter, Valerie McDonald, on remedying disparities in the health care system. McDonald was one of Richardson’s competitors in the special election primary.

Richardson would like to improve the region’s education and transportation systems and also reduce the number of unemployed residents in her district. She said the jobless rate in the 37th hovers close to 14 percent. Richardson also hopes encourage Congress to re-examine trade agreements which she believe do not help domestic unemployment rates.

The war in Iraq and its financial impact on the country are among Richardson’s major concerns.

“I just find it’s ironic that we can find money to fight a war but we can’t find money to help our own people in our communities,” Richardson said. She added that redeploying troops and placing the National Guard back in the states “can’t happen soon enough.”

Richardson likely will take liberal stances on many issues that will make her a reliable vote for the Democratic Party leadership. She already has been strongly critical of President Bush, to whom she has penned letters slamming his education, health care and Iraq policies — which she posted on her campaign Web site.

She hopes to win an assignment to the coveted Ways and Means Committee, but noted she would be pleased to serve on the Transportation or Homeland Security committees.

Richardson is cognizant of the fact she will enter Congress mid-session but said the outpouring of support she’s already received from members has helped her to feel comfortable entering her new position.

In addition, she portrays herself as having a strong work ethic that will help establish her early as an active participant in the lawmaking process.

“What I believe people know about me and respect about me is that I work extremely hard,” Richardson said. “I’m not going to Washington to go to another chicken dinner. That’s not what we’re here to do. We’re here to work.”

Laura Richardson coronation today

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The run-off election to replace the late Juanita Millender McDonald will take place this evening and California State Representative Laura Richardson can take her place as the newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus.   There has been little news to report in the last several days and I’ve been trying to put some finishing touches on a few opinion pieces. 

This past Sunday’s debate was interesting in that it didn’t really make any news.  Obama did quite well and Hillary held her own as usual and tried to stay above the fray.   The state of the Iowa race is still in flux but it now appears that from two of the latest polls that Mrs. Clinton has opened up a lead in both Iowa and South Carolina.   Her South Carolina lead is statistically insignificant over Obama.   If Iowa doesn’t go Hillary’s way, South Carolina will become a significant battle ground.

Tell me what’s on your minds.   Consider this an open thread. 

California 37 Special Election: Richardson elected, CBC keeps seat

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Hat Tip CQ Politics

State Rep. Laura Richardson and state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, both Democrats, jumped out way ahead of the rest of the 17-candidate field in early results from Tuesday’s special election in California’s 37th Congressional District.

Richardson and Oropeza had been regarded as the front-running candidates throughout the special election campaign to succeed the late Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, who died of cancer April 22.

The early count — posted by Los Angeles County election authorities shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) — included only ballots cast by absentee voters and those participating under California’s early voting rules.

But barring dramatically different results from votes cast at the polls Tuesday, the winner of the battle between Richardson and Oropeza will claim the Democratic nomination — and almost certain victory in the likely Aug. 21 runoff for the seat.

Tuesday’s primary had all 11 Democrats, four Republicans and two alternative-party candidates running on a single ballot, and that crowd of candidates made it unlikely that no single one would garner the majority vote needed to win outright and avoid a runoff.

But the runoff would be a contest between each party’s top vote-getter — and the 37th District, dominated by the city of Long Beach, is a Democratic Party stronghold in which Hispanics and African-Americans make up most of the population.

The advantage that the Democratic nominee will have was signaled by the early returns. Richardson led with 33 percent to 30 percent for Oropeza and 11 percent for the late congresswoman’s daughter, Valerie McDonald. The leading Republican candidate in the early voting, police sergeant and Iraq war veteran John M. Kanaley, had 10 percent of the vote.

The contest between Richardson, who is black, and Oropeza, who is Hispanic, had strong ethnic overtones. Hispanics make up more than 40 percent of the district’s population, but they make up a smaller share of the voting electorate. Blacks make up a quarter of the population, and many black activists have cited Millender-McDonald, an African-American, in calling for continued black representation in the district.

LAURA RICHARDSON       DEM                                11,027    37.76
   JENNY OROPEZA          DEM                                 9,144    31.31
   VALERIE MC DONALD      DEM                                 2,743     9.39
   JOHN M KANALEY         REP                                 2,230     7.64
   PETER MATHEWS          DEM                                 1,031     3.53
   TERI RAMIREZ           REP                                   560     1.92
   DANIEL A BREZENOFF     GR                                    352     1.21
   JEFFREY LEAVITT        REP                                   345     1.18
   L J “LJ” GUILLORY      REP                                   334     1.14
   ED WILSON              DEM                                   334     1.14
   HERB PETERS            LIB                                   315     1.08
   GEORGE A PARMER JR     DEM                                   220     0.75
   LEE DAVIS              DEM                                   181     0.62
   JEFFREY S PRICE        DEM                                   128     0.44
   BILL F GRISOLIA        DEM                                   125     0.43
   FELICIA FORD           DEM                                   109     0.37
   MERVIN EVANS           DEM                                    26     0.09
                                                                            
TOTAL PRECINCTS        334            PRECINCTS REPORTING       334   100.00 

                                                                            
  

Election Day

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Today is Election Day, Children.   The ladies of California’s  37th Congressional District-Laura Richardson, Jenny Oropeza, and Valerie McDonald face off against each other to see who will win the Democratic Primary and subsequently, this seat.   Laura Richardson’s labor allies are involved in serious and well-funded member to member election contact on her behalf and the Indian Tribes are funding Oropeza’s voter contact program.   Tonight we’ll see who’s been most effective.  

Another wrinkle has been added in this race by the sharp elbow Richardson gave Oropeza for taking off and missing votes during her liver cancer treatment.   Most folk think that was a low blow and yet another foot inserted into the mouth of the leading African American candidate in this race.  

I will be pulling a late night tonight to blog as this race develops.  

Election Update

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Latina State Senator Jenny Oropeza and African American Assemblywoman Laura Richardson and Valerie McDonald, daughter of the late Juanita Millender McDonald square off Tuesday in the special election to replace the Congresswoman. If anyone receives 50% of the vote, she wins the seat outright, otherwise, the top vote getter in each parties primary vies for the seat in July. The latest fundraising numbers show a tight money chase between Oropeza and Richardson with Valerie McDonald bringing up the rear. In the endorsement game, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not weighed in as expected but the California Democratic Party has, endorsing Oropeza. Moreover, the bulk of organized labor has endorsed Richardson.

Serious competition in the form of Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske was averted when she abruptly pulled out of the race after her constituents implored her to stay on the Council. That leaves the white vote largely up for grabs and it leans heavily toward Oropeza. Latino voters are united in support of Oropeza while African American voters, who vote in larger numbers than Latinos, are split between McDonald and Richardson, with the lion’s share going to Richardson because of her broader political support despite substantial Congressional Black Caucus support for McDonald’s candidacy.

The California Legislative Black Caucus is united behind Richardson and the political leadership of heavily African American enclaves in the district: Compton and Carson are almost all united for Richardson. Other African American candidates in this race are just vanity candidates and unlikely to garner significant support. If the Congressional Black Caucus retains this seat, it will be in spite of their divided efforts, not because it did anything to support the winner.

In other news, Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings has drawn a challenger in the form of Belle Glades, Florida City Commissioner Ray Torres Sanchez. Sanchez, a funeral director, will challenge Hastings in the Democratic primary where he presumably will be crushed.

Two Maryland races are heating up significantly. The race for Maryland’s 4th Congressional district between Corporate Shill Al Wynn and Donna Edwards is moving along swimingly with both sides trading pointed barbs and rhetoric. Al Wynn is now an unabashed war critic after having voted against war funding for the first time this month. His about face is striking given the cozy corporate collusion and whoring he had no problem with before he was almost defeated by Donna last September.

Lastly, the first television ad was run in the race for Baltimore Mayor as Incumbent Mayor Sheila Dixon announced the kick-off of her campaign for Mayor and her push to take Baltimore to the next level. With a campaign account upwards of $ 1 million and the most professional city administration in history, she is the odds on favorite in this contest for a full four year term as Mayor. Accomplished and detail oriented, Mrs. Dixon has made her presence felt in Baltimore and is coming to grips with its intractable budgetary and crime problems.