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"Once You Go Black ..."

Relax -- NY Governor David Paterson made that once-taboo remark legit last week:

New York Gov. David Paterson is getting rave reviews as one of the Gridiron Dinner speakers over the weekend ... Even though he became governor of New York in quite a surprising fashion, it's not the governor title that he wants, apparently. Paterson's real goal, he said, is to follow in Barack Obama's footsteps and be president of the United States, because: "Once you go black, you don't go back."

In fact, that old remark seemingly has become a new anthem for the contemporary civil rights movement -- once an African-American is elected to the US House of Representatives or Senate, that Congressional seat is now and forevermore "black" .

After Barack Obama won the Presidency, it was widely assumed within Chicago political circles that Gov. Rod Blagojevitch would be under a great deal of pressure to nominate another African-American to fill Obama's vacated Senate seat. The "Concerned Clergy of Illinois" boldly voiced their opinion in an open letter to the governor:

"We want to remind you there are a number of qualified African Americans who can fill this vacancy and who have the capacity to be re-elected when [Obama's Senate] term ends in 2010. ... We cannot build a successful nation in the 21st century that moves by subtraction rather than addition."

The letter also instructed the governor that the Senate seat should be filled "first of all by an African-American. Secondly by an African-American who is qualified and [electable] for the continuing term for the next election for that seat. A replacement of one who is committed to the principles that are affecting Illinois citizens across the state is another requirement that we are requesting that individual to have."

But Chicago's civil rights leadership and black clergy are now in a tizzy, because Blago's "pay to play" scandal has seriously tarnished their golden boy, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is widely believed to be Blago's "Candidate Number 5" -- to whose emmisaries Blago infamously quoted a $1 million price tag for the Senate nomination.

It will be very interesting to see how the state of Illinois chooses to fill Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. Right now, Gov. Blagojevitch is extremely toxic, which means that no one in their right mind would accept an appointment from him. (Apparently he's figured that out too.) And state Democrats want to avoid a statewide special Senate election at all costs. The stench of corruption has so thoroughly contaminated their party that a Republican victory in such an election is a real possibility. But right now, it seems that the people of Illinois are going to be held hostage by the state's civil rights leaders, who demand that Obama's replacement must be a "qualified" African-American, and who seem unwilling to give the people of Illinois the freedom to make that choice for themselves.

At least Laura Washington is willing to be honest: "White voters don't and won't accept the idea that America and Illinois need -- and deserve -- a black senator." Really? That's painting the people of your state with a pretty broad brush, isn't it? I think what Ms. Washington and others fear the most is that Illinois will end up with a senator who simply isn't liberal enough, regardless of skin color. An African-American like Michael Steele or J. C. Watts would be an abomination to them. And they know that their ideal candidate, an extremely liberal Chicagoan from the Jesse Jackson-Bill Ayres-Bobby Rush enclave, likely would not survive in a statewide election.

In many ways, it's understandable why African-Americans want to hold on to Congressional seats. Many old-timers strongly tie those election victories to the Civil Rights struggle 45 years ago, and they are very emotional about losing something that so many fought so hard to attain. There are still pockets of strong racism in this country (not all of it directed toward African-Americans, by the way) but the election of Barack Obama tells me that we are past the point where a candidate in a general election automatically stands no chance of winning if he is not white. It is wrong for the civil rights establishment in Chicago to want to disenfranchise Illinois voters in the name of "progress."


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Comments (12)

Illinois had a black Senato... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Illinois had a black Senator: Carol Mosley Braun. She was an embarrassment to the state with her antics and yes, Chicago-style dealings.

Did Illinois deserve her?

This is just swell, when do... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

This is just swell, when do we get to call this racism?

You can call it racism, now... (Below threshold)
Al:

You can call it racism, now.

I think keeping that seat for an African-American is ridiculous. The most qualified person, regardless of color, should be granted that position. By not selecting an African-american doesn't mean anything. It does not mean that the seat won't be "black" again.

What would people say if the opposite occured? "Let's keep this seat white". The minority community would be in uproar. Being Hispanic, I don't care what ethnicity sits in that seat. I care about the person being qualified for that position.

Obama earned that seat. Shouldn't the next person earn it as well?

Excellent idea, Governor. ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Excellent idea, Governor. I suggest codifying it.

I'm an English/German/Scott... (Below threshold)
Shemples:

I'm an English/German/Scottish/Irish/Austro-Hungarian/French-Canadian American and I DEMAND that that seat is filled by one of MY kind!!!

Does the name "David Dinkin... (Below threshold)
newton:

Does the name "David Dinkins" ring a bell, anyone?

Any corrupt empty suited po... (Below threshold)
914:

Any corrupt empty suited politician will do as a replacement.

NY Governor David Paters... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

NY Governor David Paterson made that once-taboo remark legit last week
What a classy, urbane Guv he is. So much more sophisticated than that rustic Guv from Alaska.

"The letter also instructed the governor that the Senate seat should be filled "first of all by an African-American."

For too many Americans, there are only two races : Blacks and Anyone Else.

One group gets treated like special-needs children; you can't criticize any racist remarks 'because they don't know any better'

or 'because, well, I feel bad about how they were treated in the past'
or 'because I don't want to be accused of racism'.

Pat 'em on the head, say 'yes dear, whatever you want' like a spineless parent indulging a child, and feel warm and fuzzy about how compassionate you are. Gag. What a condescending, patronizing attitude.

Anyone Else gets a shitstorm of villification for their racism, whether it's real or perceived.

Throw in Minority Set-Aside contracts, Affirmitive Action, Community Reinvestment Act loans that will never be paid back, Community Outreach programs etc.. Oh well, maybe someday we can treat each other based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, but that day is not today.

Ensuring a Senate seat is f... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Ensuring a Senate seat is filled by an African-American requires either a very good politician or a set-aside appointment. "Black" seats are common in the House since it's easier to gerrymander a single congressional district than an entire state.

Polls now show voters in Illinois want a special election to fill Obama's old seat rather than an appointment. Anyone who's appointed to the seat now -black or white - will face a tall order holding on to it in 2010.

"We want to remind you t... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"We want to remind you there are a number of qualified African Americans who can fill this vacancy"

Too bad I'm not Gov. of Illinois. I take their advice and put Alan Keyes in the seat.

This is just swell... (Below threshold)
This is just swell, when do we get to call this racism?

You don't. Only Republicans are racist, don't you know.

Thurston says the seat s... (Below threshold)
Mike G in Corvallis:

Thurston says the seat should be filled "first of all by an African-American. Secondly by an African-American who is qualified ..."

That about sums it up right there, doesn't it?


"White voters don't and won't accept the idea that America and Illinois need -- and deserve -- a black senator."

Stupid white voters, looking at the content of the character instead of the color of the skin! What idiots!




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