Thursday, November 16, 2006

How the CBC Factors into the Leadership Race ...

Newly minted House Speaker-elect (or "designate" for all those democracy purists out there) Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) open and failed endorsement of the "ethically-challenged" Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) was no big surprise. One need only look into Pelosi's personal and political past, peppered by the influence of close-knit Baltimore, East Coast city Italian roots established by her legendary father Thomas D'Alesandro, former B'More Mayor, Councilman, Congressman, State Delegate, etc. His entire life, and that of his daughter's, was based on the virtues of loyalty.

Somewhere along the way, Pelosi didn't pick up on the flaws of unbending loyaltly. Loyalty is a good thing; but, depending on the circumstances, it can be a dangerously dumb thing, too.

However, loyalty to her will work out well for the Congressional Black Caucus, standing in line to accumulate serious political power with leadership posts and committee chairs. Certainly, this was the reason behind their deafening silence during the short-lived battle between Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Murtha, as the deals with Pelosi have been struck - knowing the fairly liberal CBC is not a big fan of Murtha and his "Blue Dog" ways, Pelosi reminded them of what's at stake and that she had the power to giveth and/or to taketh away. Bad enough White folks in Washington are hating on the Black folks about to take over - come on, we know you can't stand us right about now; we overhear your cantankerous whispers.

Since the CBC was good during the Hoyer/Murtha battle, she'll let Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) get the intelligence committee, too. It's definitely the year of the White woman ... Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) is angling to test this theory as she considers a bid against Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) who patiently awaits the Majority Whip post.