Friday, May 06, 2005

Congressional Black Caucus Matures

The Washington Times reports on changes in the Congressional Black Caucus, due largely to the changing economic standing of their constituents. Link.
About 35 years after its founding, Congressional Black Caucus members no longer vote lock step with each other and the Democratic Party, reflecting a significant change in the economic status and demographics of their constituents and their own political aspirations. [...]

But as the American social climate has changed and more blacks have moved out of poverty — only a quarter of blacks are at the poverty level today, compared to more than half in 1965 — the politics have changed, as well. More blacks are interested in lower taxes and pro-business policies that will lead to job growth.
The changes have played out on a series of votes this year, such as passage of the Republican-led bankruptcy bill, which 10 members of the caucus voted for, and elimination of the estate tax, which drew eight votes from the 41-member caucus. [...]

"I represent the inner city of Baltimore," Mr. Cummings said. "But in my district, I represent people making more than $250,000 a year, black people, and we have some poor whites, some rich whites and poor blacks, but the vast majority, if you can target a majority, are lower-middle-economic blacks." [...]

"Almost all in the minority-business community supported elimination of the estate tax. Access to capital has been a big issue, and small businesses and minority businesses are being hurt by unnecessary bankruptcy," he said. [...]

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat and another founding member of the caucus, said the notion the caucus is losing cohesion is ridiculous.
"Why any member would be voting for the bankruptcy bill or estate-tax repeal or for making the tax cuts permanent or any of those things is just stupid, but it doesn't tear us apart because whether it is a speaker or a member, we only have one vote," he said.
"We have to be very, very tolerant of a person that votes stupid, because they may think they have a good reason and they are the ones who come down here, so you may think the vote is stupid but they know what they are doing," Mr. Rangel said.

How's that for liberal elitism. Mr. Rangel's statement sums up the reasons why Democrats do so poorly in elections. They think they own absolute truth, and anybody who disagrees with them is either stupid or evil.

The changes in the Black Caucus is long overdue. Blacks have been making significant progress for decades, and if their Representatives don't start acknowledging that they do not represent poverty exclusively, their constituents will look more closely at Republican alternatives.


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