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Proviso Probe

Monday, December 22, 2008

Black politicians whining about Obama appointees

The Hill (Jared Allen) wrote that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is dissatisfied with President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet appointments. USA Today has a web page with all Obama's cabinet nominees.

Who was the one member of Congress quoted in The Hill article? Danny K. Davis.
“Did the African-American community probably expect more appointees at that level? Probably so,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), an early Obama supporter who has expressed an interest in filling Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

Davis said he was pleased with Obama's Cabinet, but confirmed that there is some angst within the CBC.

“On balance, I’d say a great deal of thought went into the shaping of this Cabinet,” Davis told The Hill. “And he ended up with a real rainbow. But some people, sure, thought there should be a bit more color in it.”

Another senior member of the CBC who requested anonymity said more pointedly that Obama “isn’t doing enough for the black folks.”

BTW, of the eighteen nominees Obama's cabinet includes four (22%) African-Americans (Blacks are about 13% of the U.S. population), three (17%) Latinos (Latinos are about 13% of the U.S. population), two (11%) Asian Americans (Asian-Pacific Islanders are about 5% of the U.S. population) and one (6%) Arab American (Arab Americans comprise about 1% of the U.S. population).

There is no reasonable argument that Blacks or people of color are underrepresented in Obama's cabinet.

Before the 2000 Census Davis liked to talk about all the great things he was accomplishing on the subcommittee overseeing the Census. I hope Davis is aware of the demographics of the United States.

What the CBC is miffed about is not that Obama didn't appoint Blacks, but that he didn't appoint any of them. And I suspect that in addition to not appointing any members of the CBC, he didn't especially consult them about who he was going to appoint.

Issues the CBC should probably consider.

Being re-elected to Congress may impress your family, neighbors, local politicians back home and each other, but if you want a job with Obama, he expects you to be able to accomplish stuff for him.

Look at the Blacks Obama did appoint. They had jobs that emphasized accomplishing things besides getting elected.

Eric Holder "is a former Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, United States Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States."

Susan Rice graduated from Stanford and was a Rhodes Scholar. She benefited from being born into an exceedingly accomplished and networked family. "Rice served on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton's second term." While Rice's accomplishments don't greatly outshine a typical member of Congress, she's also 23 years younger than Danny Davis. When Rice is 67 I doubt she'll be telling stories about growing up in DC.

Lisa Jackson is chief of staff to Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ). Previously she was New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

Ron Kirk
was mayor of Dallas, Texas, ninth largest city in the country. Kirk then ran for U.S. Senator in 2002. For a Black Democrat running in Texas in 2002 he did pretty well with 43% of the vote.

If members of the CBC want to get appointed to the executive branch they should probably demonstrate skills at getting stuff done in executive jobs. Obama has at most eight years to enact his agenda. He's not going to hire people who want to validate their importance by sitting around in high office.

But the CBC also has a tarnished reputation at this point. The outgoing chair of the CBC, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) almost lost re-election to the U.S. House because she stood by her scandal-plagued son, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is in ethics trouble.

And more damning than senior members of the CBC being in trouble was when Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) was caught by the FBI with $90,000 cash in his freezer, the CBC opposed the Democratic leadership stripping Jefferson his assignment to the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Jefferson subsequently lost re-election in his majority Black, overwhelmingly Democratic district to an ethnic Vietnamese Republican.

Politicians who stagnate at a certain level start thinking of ways to enrich themselves and their relatives and cronies. Much of the CBC has been stagnating too long. Obama doesn't want to waste time with the media asking about some appointee getting a sweetheart deal for someone back home.

The only appointment I can see Davis getting is an ambassadorship. If he mixes in some stories about knowing Obama in Chicago maybe people in some other country won't get too bored by his stories about growing up in Arkansas. He tells the stories really well, but I fail to see how those stories are doing anything besides endearing Davis to Blacks constituents who came North between WWII and 1975.

The country is in a mess. Obama expects public officials who can perform. I'm hoping we can replace some of our nice elected officials with people who can perform to improve our economy and public education and resolve Bush's endless Global War on Terrorism.

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  • Couldn't have said this better myself.

    On your comment... "I'm hoping we can replace some of our nice elected officials with people who can perform to improve our economy"... were you speaking of Danny Davis and Henderson Yarbrough? Don't think Karen Yarbrough will make anyone's nice list or Christmas list.

    By Anonymous Obama fan, at 10:19 AM, December 23, 2008  

  • We shall celebrate Danny Davis this February Black History Month. Farewell Danny boy.

    By Anonymous poogerbicker, at 8:51 PM, December 25, 2008  

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