Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

Our friend Joe Klein has been looking forward (as are we all, natch) to a Dem-controlled 110th House, and, in particular, one or two committee chairmanships.

He starts with La Pelosi's unfortunate MtP performance the weekend before last: the part where she managed to be ineffectual yet shrill in defending her position on impeachment when challenged with John Conyer's contrary position.

Conyers, as Ranking Member of Judiciary, would naturally expect the chairmanship if the Dems took control. The tone that Pelosi took about him on MtP when Russert pointed out that Conyers was heir apparent suggested that he did not have her unalloyed admiration.

Klein suggests that past comments that Conyers and Charlie Rangel, Ranking Member at Ways and Means, have made might offer juicy fodder to the GOP oppo team(s).

(What contact Klein has had with GOP oppo guys is not made clear. I think we might hazard a guess.)

He also says - which was news to me - that Pelosi is planning to replace Jane Harman as Ranking Member on Intelligence with Alcee Hastings.

A Postpiece from last September says that the move is a slice of pie for the CBC, which was miffed when Bishop of GA was (they said) bumped by Pelosi when she put in Harman at the start of the 108th.

Hastings (who has yet to be tagged here) has something of a checkered past: as a Federal district judge in FL, he was impeached for corruption and perjury and found guilty.

The voters of FL-23 are, it seems, of a forgiving nature, and there he is on the HIC.

(Steve Clemons - I note with interest - was thoroughly unimpressed with Pelosi's choice of Hastings (here and here).)

Seems to me that there really wouldn't be too much work needed for the GOP oppo on Hastings.

Now, the guys at Media Matters focus on Klein's false pretences in pretending to be liberal but operating as a Rove Ikette. (At the very least, he rates as an unwitting Ikette. I'm in a generous mood...)

But if I were a Dem honcho, I'd be grateful to him for the heads-up. Pelosi, one hopes, has got an able staffer or two considering options.

More research needed; but, prima facie, it looks like another question-mark over the honest government plank in the Dems 06 platform.

And possibly another question-mark over Pelosi's judgement and fitness to take command if the Dems win the House in November.

Tags: Alcee Hastings, Charlie Rangel, Committee Chairmanships, Congressional Black Caucus, Democrat-Controlled House, Jane Harman, John Conyers, Pelosi, race (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

Where's "the racial angle" advertised in the title of this diary?

by RickD 2006-05-16 02:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

The fact that the potential chairmen fingered by Klein are all CBC-ers, for a start.

Then the idea that Pelosi and the Dem leadership have to accommodate (perhaps against their better judgement) a group identified by race.

Followed by the fact that one of those apparently benefiting by that accommodation is a guy who has been convicted in an impeachment trial.

It's unspoken but present nevertheless: an appeal to white voters that the Dems are being held to ransom by a group which includes members of dubious integrity. A group so powerful that it can force a man convicted of corruption into a position where he has access to the nation's secrets - the risk to national security is obvious.

The image of black legislators out of control, venal, un-American, goes back to at least the scene in Birth of a Nation of the South Carolina lege in session. Hastings is a legislator and former judge. The scope for creative imagery - GOP mouths will be watering.

The other side of the story is Pelosi - weak white woman (oh, yes!) dominated by a group of black men. Again with the watering mouths.

Of course, none of this will be used explicitly. These days, Joe Public has far too sensitive a soul for that.

But - two words: Willie Horton.

by skeptic06 2006-05-16 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

Correction - Charlie Rangel is ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee.  Dave Obey is ranking member on Appropriations.

by John Mills 2006-05-16 05:55AM | 0 recs
Oops...

Now fixed.

Thanks.

by skeptic06 2006-05-16 06:03AM | 0 recs
What you need to know about Alcee

What you need to know about Alcee:

Alcee Hastings was appointed to the bench for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1979. Two years later he was indicted on a charge of conspiracy to solicit and accept a bribe. On February 4, 1983, in a trial presided over by Judge Edward Gignoux of Maine, Hastings was acquitted by a jury of his peers on the charges which were the basis for his impeachment. It is also true that the GOP was gunning for Alcee from the beginninng. Shortly after the acquittal, the GOP began agitating for Alcee's impeachment.

by molly bloom 2006-05-17 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

But those committees except the Ways and Means Cmtee isn't going to matter that much.  The Commerce Cmtee and the Budget Cmtee controls the revenue and taxes and blacks are not going to control either one.

by mleflo2 2006-05-17 05:59AM | 0 recs

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