All Articles Tagged "race and politics"
(US News & World Report) — As he began his second year in office, Obama’s presidency was not going well. His legislation to overhaul the healthcare system was still bogged down in Congress. The unemployment rate, which polls showed was the top concern of most Americans, remained stubbornly high at about 10 percent, and much worse in many African-American communities. Obama’s job-approval ratings had dropped markedly from the astronomical levels of his first few months to below 50 percent.
Adding to his woes, in January 2010 the race issue erupted again in an unusual and unexpected way. Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader and an Obama ally, was embarrassed because of some racially insensitive comments he had made to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the authors of a new book, Game Change, about the Obama campaign. It turned out that Reid had predicted in 2008 that Obama could succeed as an African-American presidential candidate partly because he was “light-skinned” and because he didn’t speak with a “Negro dialect.”
Reid quickly apologized, and many black leaders, including the president and Attorney General Eric Holder, defended him as a decent man who was not a racist. But Republicans tried to score political points, with party chairman Michael Steele and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, calling on Reid to resign as majority leader. He refused, but the furor showed how race remained just below the surface of American life. Racial polarization was again on the rise.
(The Grio) — Of the dozen or so candidates running for mayor of Chicago, one of them dropped out of the race. And his decision was a prudent one. James Meeks (D-Ill.), Illinois state senator and black megachurch pastor, announced the day before Christmas Eve that he was withdrawing from the mayoral race. The reason he cited was the desire to forge unity among black people in the windy city. This is a noble goal. “My friends, I come before you today to say that our city — and our community — is divided,” said Meeks said in a statement. “As long as our community remains divided and splintered — to the specific advantage of the front-running, status quo candidates — we will never see things improve. We need to speak with one voice.”
(New York Times) — The bipartisan House Ethics Committee recommended Thursday that embattled New York Democrat Charles B. Rangel be censured by the full House of Representatives for ethics violations, the stiffest penalty a member can face short of expulsion. The House will probably take up the matter after Thanksgiving. Rangel would be the first congressman censured in almost 30 years. The Harlem representative had sought a lighter sanction. Before the vote, he asked the committee for leniency, pointing to his 40 years of service on Capitol Hill and saying “there was not even the suggestion of corruption” in the allegations against him.
(Politico) — The politically charged decisions by veteran Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California to force public trials by the House ethics committee are raising questions about race and whether black lawmakers face more scrutiny over allegations of ethical or criminal wrongdoing than their white colleagues.