Why Watt.

I saw this in the Hill and it provided another reason why I think Mel Watt should consider moving to a state-wide race. Name recognition, party power, and hopefully he can excite the base. The mention of Watt is in regard to something I wish he hadn't done maybe.

The Congressional Black Caucus is positioned to dramatically increase its clout next Congress if Democrats win control of the House.

The 43-member group, already one of the most powerful blocs among House Democrats, would control as many as five committee gavels in a Democratic House, including two exclusive panels, Ways and Means and Judiciary. Members of the group also would lead 15 subcommittees, six of them on exclusive panels. And Caucus Chairman Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) would be a contender for majority whip.

Earlier this year, many in the CBC, including Chairman Mel Watt (D-N.C.), vociferously defended Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) when Democratic leaders moved to oust him from the Ways and Means Committee.

Now, I wish he hadn't gone to bat for Jefferson given the charges against him. But, he is the head of the largest, most powerful block of House Democrats. Read on...

Even when Pelosi merely threatened Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) with losing his Energy and Commerce Committee position after he missed several key budget votes and voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the New Yorker’s CBC colleagues spoke out on his behalf, questioning whether a leader could exact such a punishment without warning.

“Every time leadership considers taking action against anyone in the CBC, they have to think about whether they want to take on the whole CBC,” said one Democratic aide.

In a Democratically-controlled House, with the stakes higher on all fronts, the Black Caucus would likely be an even more cantankerous force with which to reckon.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, which now boasts more than 70 members, would likely gain more sway if Democrats win back the House and then are forced to hash out their collective position on Iraq.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) would chair the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) would become the informal mayor of the House as chairman of the Administration Committee. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) may bump Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) as the senior member on the Intelligence Committee due to tension between her and Pelosi.

“If you have the gavel, it means something. You have the opportunity not just to vote on policy but write policy,” said an aide to a CBC member.

On the business front, the CBC would be poised to marshal the backing of K Street to boost its legislative agenda. Even in the minority, the CBC was able to attract large companies to help ensure the renewal of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). More than 10 corporate chief executives wrote House and Senate leaders encouraging quick passage, as did one large business group, the Business Roundtable.

Several CBC sources suggested that using lobbyists to push legislation, a model pioneered by House Republicans, would become a part of the CBC’s playbook after the VRA success.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the CBC’s charitable arm, also has benefited from business interests. Led by ambitious young Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), it raked in a $1 million donation from Wal-Mart earlier this summer.

On the political front, the CBC has been a perennial thorn in the side of the DCCC, charging that the political group fails to devote sufficient manpower to minority issues and voter turnout, a claim the DCCC disputes.
The group’s concerns have been so great that earlier this year Pelosi had to step in to mediate between the Black Caucus and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). Pelosi, Emanuel and half a dozen CBC members have met several times to smooth over the tension, most recently on July 26.

Clyburn has privately criticized Emanuel’s strategy, raising concerns that he is spending too much on advertising and not enough to turn out voters on Election Day.

“I told everyone in the Democratic Caucus, you have to have things like yard signs. People look to see how their neighbors are voting,” Clyburn told The Hill.

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) defended the committee.

“The DCCC is going to make the commitment in terms of resources. No one should think otherwise.”

With doubts about Emanuel, Clyburn has begun to reach out to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean to discuss voter organizing, a senior Democratic aide said.

Emanuel and Dean have been at odds over the DNC’s 50-State strategy, a long-term plan to organize Democrats in every state regardless of whether the state tends to vote for Democrats. Emanuel, Pelosi and many other House Democrats would prefer that the DNC devote more resources to winning competitive congressional elections this year.

But Clyburn said he saw the DNC’s effort as complementary to what House Democrats are doing.

“We have about 50 congressional districts the DCCC has targeted and I believe that every one of those are within the DNC’s 50-State program. I do not believe that what he is doing should be looked at as exclusive. It should be looked at as exclusive.”

One Democratic source suggested that Clyburn was cozying up to Dean as he eyes a potential bid for majority whip

Comments

Senator Mel Watt?

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Energize the base.

In 2008, if Mel Watt is running for Senator, the worst that can happen is he loses and energizes a portion of the Democratic base that has been ignored in the past.

Number of African-American Democrats.....835,652.....34%
Number of people-of-color Democrats......896,843.....37%

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Maybe even be a few independents

While I've disagreed with a number of Watt's positions, he has stood quite firm for the principles I believe in... That firmness of purpose, I think, would translate into strong independent support in various state-wide blue strongholds (the usual suspects of Orange/Durham, Asheville, Boone, Greenville, etc.)

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Check out his history...

Great resources to find out more about Mel:

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/w000207/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/w000207/key-votes/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/w000207/votes/page1/

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Huh?

Defending someone who kept money in his freezer leads to a Senate seat? Good luck with that.

From Deep In The Heart Of Texas

From Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Watt Defense of Jefferson

My recollection was Watt was ticked about the Dems doing an end-run around their established procedures, not that Jefferson was busted with cold cash. Seems like the House Dems wanted to clean house and Watt thought they were being biased. I think he cited Kennedy and Molihan (?) but, if I remember right, their trespasses were qualitatively different than taking bribes. So, does his defense of the rules and the "delay of quick justice" ax his chances for a Senate run?

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Now this is pretty nuts of the Dem congress. Caucus

From today's Blotter:

The Louisiana Democratic Congressman caught on FBI surveillance tapes taking $90,000 in cash has been selected by the Democratic Congressional caucus to lead a delegation from Capitol Hill on a tour of New Orleans next week to "join in prayer with the people of the region, to reflect and remember."

I'd forgotten Jefferson was the jerk that took the Nat. Guard away from rescuing folks while he checked out his home:

Several days after the storm hit, Jefferson asked the National Guard to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A five ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. National Guardsmen later told ABC News that Jefferson asked the truck to take him to his home on Marengo Street in an affluent uptown neighborhood. Water was up to the 3rd step, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson spent about an hour inside the house while soldiers waited outside.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Naaahh..it's OK

Jefferson has challengers - lots of them. I think there are 12 in all vying for the seat and 8 of them total are Democrats. It's not like they are trusting him with money :) He hasn't been officially charged and this is his state, so they'll give him this honor - afterall, they did require he give up committee leadership positions. Republicans elevate their crooks and we strip ours of leadership and only give them token responsibilities. Not that Jefferson is a crook...he's an alleged crook.


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