Monday, December 04, 2006

Pelosi Refused to Appoint Alcee Hastings to top Intelligence Committee Post

Nancy Pelosi skipped over Alcee Hastings last week for the Chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. Report Here.

Pelosi gave the position to Silvestre Reyes- a very strong choice for the top spot. Reyes is a Combat Veteran and former Border Patrol officer. He also opposed the war in Iraq.

Black members of Congress (the Congressional Black Caucus) were pushing for Alcee Hastings to get the Chairmanship of the Committee, and are now upset because he did not get the job.

This just shows how useless and incompetent these folks in the CBC are. Did they really believe that Hastings could be appointed to such a sensitive position? The intel Chairman, often has greater access to sensitive information. It is a position that requires a clean background with no issues concerning trustworthiness. Of course this was not the case with Hastings, who was impeached as a Federal Judge.

Appointing Hastings would have raised all sorts of questions. It would have been a major issue for Pelosi and a Democratic Party that campaigned on a pledge to clean the corruption out of Capital Hill and "Drain the Swamp". Such a move would have been a jackpot to the Republicans.... an even bigger gift than the Foley scandal was to the Democrats.

This shows the shortsightedness of the Black Caucus. They are more concerned about their own individual or group interests instead of the wider interests of the Party long-term. Yes the CBC has legitimate issues, but right now it is more important to solidify the Mid-Term election victory so that the CBC will have a chance to deal with the issues that they are concerned about (besides lining their own pockets).
At some point, i'm sure that they will want to do something for the people. The point is, they have to realize that this won't be possible if this Mid-Term election victory is just a temporary victory for Democrats.

Pelosi is playing things smart by dealing with big picture issues for the time being, and taking away as much ammunition as possible from the Republicans.

So far the CBC has not been much help.

The CBC must also face the fact that racial politics may be coming to an end. This is especially true in light of Centrist, Conservative Democrats winning elections in Republican territory all across the country. The Party will not (and cannot afford to) pander to left wing CBC causes...and race based issues. The CBC must change its strategic thinking. They are stuck in a 1970's and 80's state of mind. Now this doesn't mean that issues important to Black Americans cannot be addressed. I am simply stating that the CBC must find more creative ways of addressing those issues and must do so without alienating other groups. Most issues impacting Black Americans are not exclusive to us. We must turn Black issues into American issues.... just like MLK and others did (MLK recognized the importance of this back in the 50's and 60's). Once you reframe problems and put them into a wider context, then the CBC will be able to push for effective policies that indeed help African Americans (and others).

The CBC must look more at economic issues and must tie African American concerns with concerns of poor White Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc. About 85-90% of the issues are shared amongst poor folks from various walks of life. The poor elderly Caucasion in the Trailer Home in Indiana or Virginia who is having trouble paying for health insurance or medicine is not that much different from the grandmother in inner-city Chicago or Philly with the same problem. That is the only way for the CBC to be effective. Therefore the CBC must find a way to broaden its voice.... as ironic as it seems...the group has to realize that it doesn't just speak for African Americans anymore. It has to be the voice for a wider group of folks with common problems and common interests. This is why they must change their strategic position in order to be effective and relevent.

This is similar (although not exactly) to what Juan Williams was talking about a few months back when he was talking about the Civil Rights Movement as out of touch and out of date. He described some movements as "dead end movements".... and he was basically talking (in some ways) about the CBC. The CBC is part of that old African American establishment that he was referring to. I have to say that I agreed with most of what he stated on that issue. The recent CBC actions regarding the direction of the Democratic Party and its tussle with Nancy Pelosi are good examples of what Juan Williams was referring to in terms of ineffective Black leadership.

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