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Blacks' Electoral Irresponsibility on Display Again

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:15 pm
by Corlyss_D
Jefferson Win Poses Dilemma for Party
His Return After Scandal Could Be Awkward for Democrats and New Orleans

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 11, 2006; A03

NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 10 -- Rep. William J. Jefferson may be a pariah in some Washington political circles, but voters in this storm-battered city weighed in over the weekend with their own verdict regarding their scandal-plagued congressman: He's still our guy.

Voters gave the Louisiana Democrat an emphatic reelection victory over state Rep. Karen Carter, even though his campaign had been weighted with revelations that federal authorities had videotaped him taking $100,000 in alleged bribe money, and that $90,000 of it had been found inside a freezer in his apartment in the District. The investigation led House colleagues to dump him from a key committee, donors abandoned him and the state Democratic Party switched its allegiance to his opponent.

But before cheering supporters at a hotel room on election night, Jefferson called his win "a great moment" and said, "I thank almighty God for making it possible."

He declined to discuss the probe.

Divinely inspired or not, his victory now poses a quandary for Democrats, some of whom have shunned him politically, and possibly also for the city. Leaders here seek to project an image of civic probity as they lobby for more federal money for recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

"This has to be seen as troubling," said Brian Brox, a political science professor at Tulane University. "I don't think his victory does any good for New Orleans as it presses its claims on the national government."

The federal corruption investigation, now 21 months old, was front and center in the campaign.

Carter pushed the corruption issue in television ads, saying that the cloud of suspicion alone would make him an ineffective representative. Jefferson responded with his own ads, in which he attacked Carter and looked evenly into the camera to tell voters: "I have never taken a bribe from anyone."

But while the allegations were widely discussed here, exactly what people made of them seems to have depended at least partly on race.

Though both candidates in the runoff were African American, voters generally split along racial lines.

Jefferson won 57 percent of the vote to Carter's 43 percent. He won 79 percent of votes in largely black precincts, while she won 76 percent of votes in largely white precincts, according to a post-election analysis by Greg Rigamer, a consultant for the Carter campaign.

For some of Jefferson's core black constituency, "they've heard the news" about the allegations. "They just don't believe it," Brox said.

Moreover, although Jefferson lost some key Democratic endorsements, he did pick up those of two others who are particularly influential in the black community: New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Bishop Paul Morton, often named as the city's most influential black minister. Jefferson appears to have won votes by attacking Carter for supporting same-sex marriage.

In conversations with voters here on Sunday, the racial divide was apparent. "I just wish we could one day elect someone who wouldn't look ridiculous to the rest of the country," said Betty Holahan-Smith, 45, a white voter from the Lower Garden District. "First, we had 'Chocolate City' Nagin. Now we have 'Dollar Bill' Jefferson."

"If the federal government really wanted to help New Orleans, they would have indicted him and taken him out of the game," said Tom Gault, 50, who is white and a Democrat, outside his townhouse in the Garden District. "It amazes me that people would vote for someone who may be indicted soon."

But after Sunday services at the First Pilgrim Baptist Church in the Bywater neighborhood, a group of three friends, all African American, concurred in their support for Jefferson and dismissed the allegations as unproved. Though two of Jefferson's associates -- a business partner and a former staff member -- have pleaded guilty in the bribery scheme, they cautioned against a rush to judgment.

"I just kind of felt if they had something on him, why haven't they indicted him?" said Tyra Bryant, 34, of Jefferson Parish. "I'm not even sure it's really true."

"He hasn't done anything the rest of the folks up in Washington haven't done -- he just got caught," said Sharon Williams of Mid-City.

Carter seems to have forgotten who she is, Williams said.

"Sometimes when you are an African American and you get too high on yourself -- well, Karen Carter thought she was a Caucasian," she said. "You have to always remember where you came from."

While the racial divide formed the basic demographic framework of the election, however, what played a critical role in the outcome was Jefferson's curious ability to appeal to white voters in suburban Jefferson Parish. A campaign led there by Sheriff Harry Lee blasted Carter for appearing in Spike Lee's Katrina documentary, in which she criticized the parish's law enforcement for turning back fleeing residents.

In a concession speech on Saturday night, Carter pledged to work with Jefferson, especially on post-Katrina rebuilding.

"I guess the people are happy with the status quo," she said.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01022.html
*************************************************************

New Orleans electorate proves once again that it is too incompetent if not downright juvenile to exercise the responsibilities of democracy. Yes, they had the right to vote for Nagin and Jefferson, but it was a foolish display of race politics, just as the O.J. acquital and the repeated re-elections of Cynthia McKinney and Marion Barry. Let's see Ms. Pelosi talk past this one.

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:19 pm
by BWV 1080
Why is this a race issue? Louisiana is color-blind when it comes to corruption and incompetence.

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:25 pm
by Werner
I hope that Steve is right - don't know quite enough about Louisiana politics.

But I have to caution Corlyss about choosing a title for a thread that in anyone else's hands could be construed as racist.

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:33 pm
by burnitdown
Werner wrote:But I have to caution Corlyss about choosing a title for a thread that in anyone else's hands could be construed as racist.
Ugh. Must taboo/fear invade here too? (Although you may be thinking of search engines - hmm, hmm.)

Personally I think every ethnic group is most comfortable with self-rule, and as the original article states, Jefferson was elected because he was not as "Caucasian" as Carter.

The result might be a disaster, but... that's what the people want. And it seems increasing numbers of African-Americans are turning toward Nationalism.

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:45 pm
by Ralph
Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here. Of course the demographics in this case reflect a largely black district but white voters too have often returned disgraced politicians to office. This has historically been especially true in the South.

And while I have always believed O.J. Simpson to be guilty, the fact is that the prosecution muddled the case badly in a city sensitive to police maltreatment of minorities. Why doesn't Corlyss refer to the Durst homicide acquittal as an example of white racial politics?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:45 pm
by RebLem
Earth to Corlyss--

NEWS FLASH !!!! Louisiana has always been one of the most politically corrupt states in the Union.

Lots of people never paid much attention to corruption in Louisiana until black people started Sharing the Wealth, to coin a phrase. Now that blacks are participating, these folk are filled with unctious moral outrage.

Gee, I wonder why. Is there a word to cover that? Uhmmmm, let me see. Gee, I just can't think of one word. Can anyone give me some help here? :P :mrgreen:

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:47 pm
by Ralph
RebLem wrote:Earth to Corlyss--

NEWS FLASH !!!! Louisiana has always been one of the most politically corrupt states in the Union.

Lots of people never paid much attention to corruption in Louisiana until black people started Sharing the Wealth, to coin a phrase. Now that blacks are participating, these folk are filled with unctious moral outrage.

Gee, I wonder why. Is there a word to cover that? Uhmmmm, let me see. Gee, I just can't think of one word. Can anyone give me some help here? :P :mrgreen:
*****

Was Huey Long black?

Was his insane descendant Earl Long black?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:03 am
by RebLem
Ralph, Huey Long wasn't the first crooked politician in Louisiana. He was just the first to start to share some of the fruits of corruption with ordinary folk by building roads and schools, etc. Yeah, he took kickbacks from the contractors that built them, but ordinary folk got some benefit out of it. He seems to have taken to heart something Will Rogers said--"What this country needs is a more equitable distribution of graft."

And, generally speaking, Huey Long eschewed using the race card. He wasn't above it, unfortuanately, but he used it a great deal less often than most Southern politicians of the period.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:52 am
by jbuck919
Ralph wrote:Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here. Of course the demographics in this case reflect a largely black district but white voters too have often returned disgraced politicians to office. This has historically been especially true in the South.

And while I have always believed O.J. Simpson to be guilty, the fact is that the prosecution muddled the case badly in a city sensitive to police maltreatment of minorities. Why doesn't Corlyss refer to the Durst homicide acquittal as an example of white racial politics?
Agreeing with everything you say or imply, I have to come to our fair maiden's defense--slightly. (Oh God here I am putting words in Corlyss' mouth two days in a row--I expect a sound online thrashing.)

Yes, it was wrong to characterize this kind of populism as a phenomenon peculiar to African Americans. But for Corlyss and myself and possibly a few other posters here, the memory is fresh of Marion Barry, a sleeze from day one who only got sleezier, being re-elected Mayor of Washington again and again in a classic case of people who felt disempowered sticking it to Whitey (I'm sorry, but that's exactly what it was). In New York, as I'm sure Ralph remembers, there was the similar case of Adam Clayton Powell.

If you want to talk about Lousiana politics, David Duke turned up at some sort of Holocaust denial rally in Iran yesterday. Sorry, I was only half paying attention. When he was once putting himself forward as a serious candidate for national office, I had a relative who was actually taking him seriously. "He has some good ideas." I had to remind him that the Autobahn was built under Hitler and that Mussolini made the trains run on time.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:32 am
by pizza
jbuck919 wrote:
Ralph wrote:Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here. Of course the demographics in this case reflect a largely black district but white voters too have often returned disgraced politicians to office. This has historically been especially true in the South.
Yes, it was wrong to characterize this kind of populism as a phenomenon peculiar to African Americans. But for Corlyss and myself and possibly a few other posters here, the memory is fresh of Marion Barry, a sleeze from day one who only got sleezier, being re-elected Mayor of Washington again and again in a classic case of people who felt disempowered sticking it to Whitey (I'm sorry, but that's exactly what it was). In New York, as I'm sure Ralph remembers, there was the similar case of Adam Clayton Powell.
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was another matter. He was a tragic figure but he accomplished much that was worthwhile before his mismanagement and graft problems arose.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:08 am
by Donald Isler
And, speaking of David Duke (may he stay in Iran!) and racial irresponsibility, the majority of voters in Louisiana once voted for him as their governor. He would have won except that the minority of white voters and virtually all the black voters voted against him, so he lost. But if it had been just up to the white voters he would have won.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:14 am
by Ralph
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., is owed much regard for what he did to advance issues of racial discrimination not just in New York but in our country. He was a true leader before hubris, booze and blondes corrupted his mission. It's easier to remember someone based on their last act but history shows that Powell gave much in his days of strength.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:06 am
by pizza
Ralph wrote:Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here. Of course the demographics in this case reflect a largely black district but white voters too have often returned disgraced politicians to office. This has historically been especially true in the South.
It's absurd to deny that race was a factor in this election. The fact that whites often elect corrupt white officials simply confirms that voting is largely by racial preference .

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:29 am
by Ralph
pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here. Of course the demographics in this case reflect a largely black district but white voters too have often returned disgraced politicians to office. This has historically been especially true in the South.
It's absurd to deny that race was a factor in this election. The fact that whites often elect corrupt white officials simply confirms that voting is largely by racial preference .
*****

Race is surely a factor but Corlyss's choice of a thread title is wide-sweeping and largely, if taken literally, increasingly untrue and irrelevant.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:52 am
by Ted
Blacks' Electoral Irresponsibility on Display Again

I have to agree the gist of the Thread Title is unflattering to Blacks in general

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:12 pm
by burnitdown
Ralph wrote:Corlyss injects, wrongly, race as a factor here.
Wait -
But while the allegations were widely discussed here, exactly what people made of them seems to have depended at least partly on race.

Though both candidates in the runoff were African American, voters generally split along racial lines.

Jefferson won 57 percent of the vote to Carter's 43 percent. He won 79 percent of votes in largely black precincts, while she won 76 percent of votes in largely white precincts, according to a post-election analysis by Greg Rigamer, a consultant for the Carter campaign.
...
In conversations with voters here on Sunday, the racial divide was apparent. "I just wish we could one day elect someone who wouldn't look ridiculous to the rest of the country," said Betty Holahan-Smith, 45, a white voter from the Lower Garden District. "First, we had 'Chocolate City' Nagin. Now we have 'Dollar Bill' Jefferson."
...
Carter seems to have forgotten who she is, Williams said.

"Sometimes when you are an African American and you get too high on yourself -- well, Karen Carter thought she was a Caucasian," she said. "You have to always remember where you came from."

While the racial divide formed the basic demographic framework of the election, however, what played a critical role in the outcome was Jefferson's curious ability to appeal to white voters in suburban Jefferson Parish. A campaign led there by Sheriff Harry Lee blasted Carter for appearing in Spike Lee's Katrina documentary, in which she criticized the parish's law enforcement for turning back fleeing residents.
It seems this campaign is a lot about race. The quotations above are entirely from the original article.

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:17 am
by Corlyss_D
BWV 1080 wrote:Why is this a race issue? Louisiana is color-blind when it comes to corruption and incompetence.
In this particular case, Jefferson's re-election was purely racially motivated. It appears that when a black politician is caught violating the law, all he needs to do is claim to be the victim of white racism and blacks will fall for it every time as a stick-it-to-Whitey reaction. Nagin took a lot of national criticism for his incompetence in the Katrina crisis. So what does the electorate do? Returns him to office. Marion Barry was a crook of the first order, but because Congress heavily criticised him for corruption and incompetence, the blacks in DC continued to re-elect him over and over again. Even when he was finally caught with the cockaine, and spent a paultry 6 mos in jail for it, he was elected to the City Council repeatedly by a district that openly stated they did it to stick it to the Congress. You're correct about Louisiana being a cesspool of corrupt politics, and one of the ways it stays that way is the blacks on the dole in New Orleans. What they want more than anything else is effective government in Louisiana and New Orleans. They aren't going to get it by basing their votes on a philosophy of "sticking it to whitey." MLK must be rolling over in his grave, watching what these people have done with the rights he fought so hard to win for them.

Yes, voting stupid happens other places as well - New Jersy voters announced in exit interviews that they'd rather have a crook for a senator than a Republican. I don't approve of that either and I have commented on it.
Ralph wrote:Race is surely a factor but Corlyss's choice of a thread title is wide-sweeping and largely, if taken literally, increasingly untrue and irrelevant.
White condescension is just as bad as black racism. I'm not the only one to complalin about the behavior. Clarence Paige, Stanley Crouch, Shelby Steel, Tom Sowell, Ward Connerly, Juan Williams, Larry Elder, Bill Cosby have all variously demanded that blacks be held to the same standards as everyone else and that blacks stop excusing their own irresponsible behavior. I guess you're saying that it's wrong for whites to criticize. It's obvious that Reb believes that any mention of black behavior amounts to racist a statement.

Well, I've seen black electoral irresponsibility happening up close and personal for too many years to believe that what I said is either irrelevant or untrue, especially where blacks are in the majority. The Black Caucus itself is a living breathing example of the way in which the Civil Rights industry as disserved the true interests of the black community both nationally and locally. But as Larry Elder has said and written, one of the 10 things you can't say in America is that blacks are more racist than whites. I take it as a symptom of political immaturity, like 90% blindly voting for Democrats who ignore them and doing nothing to cultivate ties to the Republicans. I'm sure they will work their way out of it eventually but not as long as they don't higher expectations of the people they vote for than the color of their skin. Perhaps the only reason that leading Democrats in Prince George's County endorsed Michael Steele was because he was black. If so, that's a pity too. I'd like to think they believed that he would represent them better than Carden.
December 12, 2006
Politics and Racism in America

William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson handily won his run-off for Louisiana's Second Congressional District, beating State Representative Karen Carter who had taken a lot of political heat for her views on social issues.

It is one of the few times you'll see the candidate with a huge fund-raising advantage lose the race: According to published reports, Carter raised 5 times as much money as Jefferson (presumably mostly from whites despite the fact that Carter is black.)

Much has already been made of the comparison between the behavior of the Democrats (and particularly the Congressional Black Caucus) and Republicans when faced with scandal. Mark Foley was disgraced and resigned following his inappropriate (but apparently legal) communications with House pages. When Gerry Studs (a man), a Massachusetts Democrat, actually had sex with a (male) page, he not only refused to accept any censure by his Party, but he ran for re-election and won.

Jefferson is the financial version of Studs: He was caught with $90,000 of literally cold cash in his freezer, believed to be part of up to $400,000 in bribes received from a technology company who wanted Jefferson's help based on his position on the Ways and Means Committee (which is the single most powerful committee in government when it comes to government spending.)

As the newspapers note, Jefferson's victory could pose an ethics bind for the Democrats. What will be most interesting is how Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders deal with the Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC").

This is the group that supported Alcee Hastings to take over the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee despite Hastings having been impeached by the House when he was a judge. This is the group that opposed removing Jefferson from the Ways and Means committee when the bribery came to light. And I expect them to try to get Pelosi to return Jefferson to the Ways and Means Committee. I hope she does, as it would immediately destroy her claims of cleaning up the "culture of corruption" in DC.

The Congressional Black Caucus cares nothing for ethics or even the good of their Party, much less the good of the country. They care only about their own power and being able to say that they are keeping blacks in positions of influence. (It is an issue for another day, but I also believe they consistently take positions (i.e. attacking Wal-Mart, opposing Social Security reform, and opposing school choice) which are directly antithetical to the interests of Americans in general and black Americans in particular.

Jefferson's re-election reminds me most of all of is the O.J. Simpson verdict. Two guys clearly guilty of a crime, one of whom gets re-elected and the other acquitted solely because blacks believe that the system is dominated by whites and biased against blacks. It is similar to recent poll results which show that blacks distrust election results more than any other group.

The idea that a criminal should be returned to office or a murderer should go free as some sort of message against the presumably white-dominated institutions investigating or prosecuting them represents a fundamental problem in America: Blacks feel not only as if they have not achieved as much as whites but also that the game is rigged against them. What is worse black leaders, elected like CBC members or self-appointed like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, maintain their power and fund-raising ability by feeding this fear. They keep telling their constituents that without giving them money and without voting for the black guy regardless of his flaws they will lose what little ability they still have to succeed in America. And since, like it or not, most of the inner-city blacks to whom these messages are directed are less politically attuned, less affluent, and less educated on average than the average American, they are particularly susceptible to what is, in its own way, simply hate speech.

America has clearly had its racial problems, and they still exist in many places. But as black leaders and ordinary black citizens alike use them as an excuse to reward bad behavior and to equate the success of a particular black person (regardless of his crimes) to a victory for blacks as a group shows me that race relations in this country are not as good as most whites like me would believe. That said, I also do not believe they are as bad as the Cynthia McKinneys and Al Sharptons of the world want us to think.

The best thing that could happen for Congress and for the country is for the CBC or at least some prominent black leaders (and I don't mean Thomas Sowell or Ward Connerly) to say that William Jefferson does not represent them, that his re-election was not a good thing, and that he should not be returned to the Ways and Means Committee. I'm not holding my breath, and to the extent that there's a bright side in Jefferson's re-election, it is the prospect of seeing Pelosi twisting in the wind trying to decide what to do. For the record, my guess is that she will refuse to return Jefferson to the Committee.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articl ... _race.html
Reb wrote:Louisiana has always been one of the most politically corrupt states in the Union.

Lots of people never paid much attention to corruption in Louisiana until black people started Sharing the Wealth, to coin a phrase. Now that blacks are participating, these folk are filled with unctious moral outrage.
You been hustled, Reb. You think you and I have to put up with lower standards of behavior just because the behavior is black. Speak for yourself. It was the $60 billion in relief for New Orleans that brought New Orleans all this unwanted attention. I figure as a taxpayer, I have a right to complain about what's happening down there. If Nagin can brag about New Orleans being "Chocolate City," I can hold the majority black population to a higher standard of electoral competence than "sticking it to whitey."

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:52 am
by jbuck919
I'm just going to say that I have had to eat crow here approximately 453 times, and will doubtless have to do so again. It's what happens when you have the privilege of a peer exchange of thoughts which is not a contest to see who comes out on top. I haven't had that in my daily life in a long time (since I left Maryland, anyway), so having it online in this context remains important to me.

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:33 am
by Donald Isler
And irresponsible white racist voters of Louisiana almost elected a neo-Nazi as Governor. That's better?

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:49 pm
by burnitdown
Donald Isler wrote:And irresponsible white racist voters of Louisiana almost elected a neo-Nazi as Governor. That's better?
The original post did not compare races, merely lamented the failure of black voters in this instance. It sounds like something Bill Cosby would say.

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:01 pm
by Donald Isler
OK, well I'm lamenting the failure of white voters to behave responsibly.

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:59 pm
by burnitdown
Donald Isler wrote:OK, well I'm lamenting the failure of white voters to behave responsibly.
...in that particular election, correct?

Duke at the time had not been caught with cocaine, or in scandal. So other than your disagreement with his beliefs, what's so irresponsible about them voting for him?

Newsflash: they have a right to their opinions, too.

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:31 am
by Donald Isler
I consider it much more of a scandal that he was a neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan supporter than if he had tried a drug. Newsflash: he's a bigot.