The battle for House Majority Leader may not be an obvious thing for me to be blogging about. Too inside baseball. However, I do have an opinion. Democrats have an obligation to present a unified, dignified, and diverse front to the American People. In her reign as House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi has demonstrated a personal style in some respects reminiscent of a plantation mistress. Her treatment of the Congressional Black Caucus as her personal servants and her refusal to defend the honor of Cynthia McKinney has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Mrs. Pelosi forced the removal of some members of the Congressional Black Caucus from co-sponsoring the Voting Rights Act of 2006 for fear the Republicans in control of Congress would back off and kill it because it was “too black.” Miss Nancy rules with an iron hand and demands compliance with her dictates. She cut Congresswoman Jane Harman loose from having a leadership role as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, where she has been nothing more than a coquettish doormat for the Bush Administration.
Now, as she sits on the precipice of unprecedented power as the Speaker of the House in waiting, she has made her choice for Majority Leader known for all to see. When she needed someone to manage her race for House Leadership, Jack Murtha was the man to who she turned. When the House Democratic Caucus needed someone of unchallenged credibility on military matters to articulate opposition to the Iraq debacle, she turned to decorated marine and Vietnam Veteran Jack Murtha.
Now that she needs a number two man of unquestioned loyalty, she has turned to Jack Murtha again. Jack Murtha is a conservative, there is no doubt about that. But when events called upon someone to speak out about the calamitous events in Iraq, Jack Murtha rose to the challenge.
In March of this year he called for the resignation of the arrogant bastards in charge of Defense policy in this administration: Cheney and Rumsfeld. When American service men massacred innocent civilians in Haditha this year, Murtha told the world and didn’t participate in covering it up. “It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no fire fight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that’s what the report is going to tell. ”
Jack Murtha is a man of courage and a man of compassion, it is because of that courage and compassion on the central issue of concern to the people that Democrats, in concert with a fifty-state strategy, were able to mount credible challenges in congressional races and take back the Congress.
Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip, is Murtha’ s only opposition. A DLC republicrat, Hoyer led the charge against Kweisi Mfume’s Senate campaign and strong-armed democratic donors from giving to Mfume and steered them to Ben Cardin.
According to an article on AlterNet by Joshua Holland, “For six weeks after his announcement, Mfume was the lone candidate. I spoke with a number of Democratic operatives for this story, on and off the record, and several told me that House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and his allies tried to kill Mfume’s candidacy. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which is in charge of recruiting and aiding Senate candidates across the country, was less than neutral early on, according to (Joe)Trippi.”
Mfume detected the machinations against him, “I think in many respects this has become a manifestation of the good old boy network in the Democratic Party refusing to embrace me. Now was that because I’m black, because I’m an independent Democrat? Was it because I’m from the city and not some other part of the state? I don’t know.”
The Congressional Black Caucus has never had adequate representation in the U.S. Senate and their failure to rally around a progressive black candidate is unconscionable political negligence. If not for the negligence of the CBC and the malevolence of Hoyer, Mfume could have won.
For the second ranking House Democratic leader to sabotage a black former colleague’s candidacy and expect anybody to believe he has the interests of black democrats and black America at heart is ludicrous. He has disqualified himself in the eyes of thinking black folks from a position of leadership in this House.
Nancy Pelosi has stepped on a lot of black toes during her reign, but on this matter she is right and should be supported. She is a committed liberal, but will rule pragmatically, kinda like former Speaker Jim Wright in a dress.
I intend to contact my member of Congress and ask that he vote for Murtha. Y’all should do the same. It is just that important. Prominent Black democrats like Maxine Waters, have announced they are going to support Hoyer. Call your member of Congress and tell them to support Murtha 202-224-3121.