Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It Looks Like Jim Clyburn Is The Guy With Racial Animus

President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were willing to put the U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) "You Lie" outburst during the President's joint address to Congress on health care reform last week behind them and move on after Wilson apologized to the President and he accepted the apology, but House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who represents a district neighboring Wilson's in South Carolina, just wouldn't let it go. Even a liberal Democratic blogger, Eric Kleefeld, was able to discern the animus Clyburn holds towards Wilson, which apparently predates last week's outburst. Clyburn became enraged when Wilson held a town hall meeting at a school Clyburn's children attended without consulting him in advance. Kleefeld writes:

Clyburn recently told the Washington Post that he was particularly incensed when Wilson held a town hall at a high school in Columbia -- which Clyburn says is in his district, and is the place where his children went to school. "He came into my district, the high school where my kids went, where I was an officer in the [Parent Teacher Association], and that was on purpose," Clyburn said. "That was as unethical as one can be, and he didn't say one word to me about it."
An editorial note in Kleefeld's story notes that the high school identified as W.J. Keenan High School is actually in Wilson's district and not Clyburn's. Why would Clyburn become unhinged over Wilson holding a town hall meeting in Wilson's district? It's as if he found it offensive that a white congressman would dare speak at a school where his children attended without his blessing. Kleefeld's story notes that Clyburn didn't attribute Wilson's outburst to racism, such as suggested by NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd, but he as much as implied it. "[H]e did tell reporters immediately after the speech that Obama was the only president to have been treated in this manner -- and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been more direct in alleging a racial element," Kleefeld wrote. Where was Clyburn during the eight years of George W. Bush? Democratic members of Congress booed his speeches and called him a liar and worse on so many occasions it is impossible to list them all. It looks to me like Clyburn is the one with a racial animus.

Today, the House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to adopt an unprecedented resolution admonishing Wilson for his "You Lie" outburst with Clyburn leading the charge. House Minority Leader John Boehner aptly called the resolution a "cheap political stunt." Ironically, the White House essentially conceded Wilson's point that the President was the one lying and not those who claimed Obama's health care reform plan covered illegal aliens. Late Friday, the White House announced changes in its plan that would require verification of citizenship in order to participate in the government-run insurance plan. Democrats in Congress had rebuffed efforts to include such language in the legislation prior to Wilson's outburst. The White House conceded that illegal aliens would continue receiving free emergency medical care as they have for many years. Also, President Obama abandoned using the 46 million uninsured number he and our own U.S. Rep. Andre Carson cited in the past, a number that included illegal aliens, in favor of a number that excluded them from the estimate of the number of uninsured Americans.

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