Friday, December 3, 2010

Identity Group Politics

Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
(AP Photo by Paul Sancya)

The United States House of Representatives voted to censure one of its members yesterday. After an 18-month investigation, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) became the first Congressman in 27 years to be censured. The vote was 333-79. Smart Politics has a table showing the vote breakdown

If you go to the link, you will see that both Democrats and Republicans strongly supported the censure. However, with the exception of one member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), that particular group of Democrats voted overwhelmingly NOT to censure Congressman Rangel.

Here’s a statement from Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the CBC:

"Today's vote by the House of Representatives to censure Congressman Rangel was an overly harsh sanction, especially considering that after a 2-year investigation the Committee found no evidence of corruption or personal financial gain. Under House precedents, a reprimand would have been a fairer sanction for the lapses that he has long since admitted and corrected.

"The censure sanction is a departure from the customary sanctions in other cases that have been adjudicated over the years. According to the Committee’s counsel, Congressman Rangel’s misconduct resulted from overzealousness and sloppiness, not corruption.

"Today's action in no way diminishes Congressman Rangel’s distinguished 50-year history of service to his country and constituents who again overwhelmingly returned him to office in November. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are proud to call Congressman Rangel our colleague and friend."
Could it be identity politics at work in our Congress? Is it possible that a particular political party in America expects solidarity from its members based on skin tone?

Here is a link to more information on Congressman Artur Davis (pictured above). He is the one member of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted against the will of the CBC. Even though he will not be returning to Congress next year, his vote reflects principle and courage.

That’s worth noting.

UPDATE 12/6/2010:
Andrew Breitbart at Big Government has a post on "The Pigford Shakedown."  This goes into some detail on an evolving story about the political expoitation of race in our culture.  The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is a political arm of the Democratic Party.  Artur Davis used this group to work for the election of Barack Obama in 2008.  With billions of taxpayer dollars now at stake, it's fascinating (and disconcerting) to see the political manipulation of groups such as the CBC and the NBFA.

Linked by Left Coast Rebel's Morning BeatThanks, Tim.

UPDATE 10/23/2011:
Artur Davis weighs in on Voter ID laws.  Identity group politics is still a strong influence, but it is good to see some pushback by individuals.

UPDATE 5/30/2012:
More courage.

UPDATE 8/15/2012:
And now this.

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