#1 The Congressional Black Caucus is falling down on the job

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Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-Miami) is sworn in as a Member of the 109th Congress with Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York and Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen of the Virgin Islands.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus participated in a mock ceremony at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, January 4, 2005.

 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”-Proverbs 29:18

The Politics of Division

The Congressional Black Caucus, according to the CBC monitor, has transformed into the  “Corporate Black Caucus” , due in large part to the nefarious tentacles of the “racist and rightwing Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC was created after the Reagan years to move the Democratic Party more to the right and to do this they have unleashed the corporate hounds to payoff Black faces  to perform for them what whites cannot. ” 

We can see ample evidence of this nefarious corporate influence and lack of black unity in the glaring disparity of support for two members of the CBC attempting to move up to the U.S. Senate, an elected body called, “the greatest deliberative body in the world” that has only elected five African Americans in 216 years. The U.S. Senate is the most stunning example of the power of white privilege and social connections.   The top three richest Senators are Democrats with a combined net worth of at least $1.193 billion dollars.

Given the millionaires club atmosphere of Congress, 123 members of the House of Representatives are also millionaires, you’d think that Black members of Congress would do their part to show some love to their contemporaries tryin’ to move up the rough side of the political mountain.  Not so.

Former NAACP President and former Congressman Kwesi Mfume ran for the U.S. Senate this year as did a younger, brasher contemporary, Harold Whore, Jr.  Who do y’all think the CBC showed more love to, the one who used to lead them as Chairman, or the Corporate Whore?

You guessed it, the Whore.  Most members of the CBC vote differently than Ford on the vast range of issues, yet they still support the Charlatan in their midst. CBC members gave $36,268 to Harold Whore, Jr. Barack Obama and Charlie Rangel gave nearly $19,000 alone. 

Hall of Shame

If they were trying to treat both men equally, which Ford doesn’t deserve, the following contributors would have given to both him and Mfume.  The following gave only to Ford: Dianne Watson, Kendrick Meek, Gregory Meeks, Sanford Bishop, Emmanuel Cleaver, Alcee Hastings,  Barbara Lee, Barack Obama, Charlie Rangel and former Congressman Bill Clay whose successor, his son, told the Hill newspaper that he and his father would both support Mfume, but neither came through with enough money to show up on a disclosure report.

There are 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barack Obama in the Senate and 42 members in the House. Nine members of the CBC gave contributions to Kweisi Mfume.  Yes, that’s right, I said Nine.  Of the $1.3 million raised by Mfume, $16,500 came from Black members of congress.  That’s about 1%. 

Mfume’s heroes

Mfume’s contributors represent a heroes and sheroes roster: Elijah Cummings, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Chaka Fattah, Danny Davis, Corrine Brown, Mel Watt, Don Payne and Bobby Scott.  I find this list fascinating because it says so much about us as a people. 

Prominent black and white celebrities stepped up. The white creator of Good Times and the Jeffersons, Norman Lear, gave $2,100,  Black Billionaire Bob Johnson and Debra Lee, the corporate chieftains of BET, gave over $17,000 between the two of them, more than the entire CBC.  Black Publishing executives, Susan Taylor of Essence, Linda Johnson Rice of Ebony and Jet, and Earl Graves, Sr of Black Enterprise gave $19,300 between them.  Friend of Bill Clinton, Atty Vernon Jordan and Michael Jordan’s wife Juanita gave as well.

Mfume came within 3.2% of winning that primary against five white opponents who raised nearly $12.5 million against him.  He was outspent by nearly 12 to 1 and almost won. 

The Washington beltway crowd and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee led the charge against Mfume.  Mfume’s two leading white opponents Ben Cardin and Josh Rales spent over $11 million to defeat him.  Rales spent millions of his own money. Cardin raised over $373,000 from Members of Congress alone, including two Uncle Tom’s in the CBC, Alcee Hastings and Kendrick Meek.  A single white Senator, Blanche Lambert Lincoln, gave Mfume a contribution so it wouldn’t look so obvious that Senate Democrats were attempting to prevent a qualified and respected former Black Congressman from being elected. The white power structure conspired through negative press coverage and aggressive arm twisting of potential donors to damage Mfume’s candidacy. With all of that going for him, Cardin barely won the primary.

Jesse Jackson, Sr, whose son also sits in the Congressional Black Caucus gave so little to Mfume that it didn’t show up on a disclosure report, or gave him nothing at all.   I find that astounding.  I have always had great respect for Jesse.  It wasn’t too long ago that Mfume and Jackson were leading marches together.   He found time for Ned Lamont, a white Connecticut Millionaire running against Senator Joe Lieberman. So did Maxine Watersand Al Sharpton.  Lamont is not going to ultimately defeat Lieberman, so these people wasted their time and effort on a white candidate that cannot win and didn’t help a black candidate that could. 

It makes no sense that Kweisi Mfume was struggling for cash while Harold Whore, Jr is buoyed by a river of special interest cash $7.3 millon dollars greater. Similarly, I hope Barack Obama doesn’t think these Negroes are gonna help him get elected President.  Left to their own devices, they will do for him what they did for Mfume: next to nothing.

Our Black leadership is hopelessly fractured and leading in opposite directions that usually lead to the same right-wing corporate cul de sac.  They can’t even support each other based on general principle, is it any wonder that they don’t support or represent us?

Where in God’s name is the vision?   The distorted and confused amalgamation of leaders and positions is disheartening.  We are marinating in the aftermath of two Presidential Elections in which significant questions of black and brown voter suppression exist and these Black politicians can’t even get it together enough to fight that and support each other at the same time for election to the Senate, where the community has never had adequate representation.

Manning Marable teaches us that, ” Oppressed people learn strategies for survival: if they do not learn, they perish.”  If these highly educated people cannot navigate these shallow waters, how can they fight poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, Globalization and the rest of the ailments to the black diaspora? 

7 thoughts on “#1 The Congressional Black Caucus is falling down on the job

  1. Matt Stoller

    I supported Mfume in the primary, but Lamont was a good choice for Waters. That wasn’t so much pro-Lamont as anti-Lieberman, who had participated in the disenfranchisement of so many black voters in Florida and in the war. It’s not really a zero-sum game anyway.

  2. Nice post Skep; way to expose those frauds over at the CBC!
    They can throw a nice party now and then…but sadly, that’s about it.

    BTW, don’t think for a minute that those in the majority in Washington aren’t aware of this. They need to think about that the next time they scream for a seat at the table.

    Peace!

  3. Nacquia Johnson

    Are you jealous of Ford? Bro, what are you doing for the cause? Are you really a Brother? I don’t believe your stance on on the CBC carries any weight. You have to consider the big picture and the history of the relaionship between the individual members of the CBC and Mfume, aw well as Ford. You are a player hater!

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  5. Can some one tell me why in the world is so easy for us to always blame white people for what we fail woefully to do? Don’t you think is about time we concentrate on our own problem and stop wasting and losing our balance by turning our neck looking at who is watching. We Black people have failed woefully in our responsbility. Black youth killing each other on our face-on our nose–we keep blaming some ethinc group. We’re miserable in African the most blessed nation on earth, and here in the US where the opportunity is unbelievable–we keep blaming. When do we seriously stop. Many of are very corrupt–we steal the resources that belong to all. What else do we expect from God who made all people with plenty of resources? I need some discussion. Plese!

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