“We‘re trying to create jobs in the communities where people go to the polls to vote, where people really need to uplift themselves, do good for their families,” South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on October 7, 2010. “And here, we see them being denigrated and every attempt that‘s made to uplift these people now being outsourced.”
I find it amazing that Jim Clyburn has the gall to speak as though the policies he has so strenuously advocated have done anything to uplift the people of South Carolina or any other state. I see his constituents, right across I-26 from where I live. My wife, a home health nurse, visits them daily. These people are hurting, and the actions taken by Clyburn and his Democrat colleagues have only made things worse, whether it be due to Medicare changes forced upon my wife’s patients or the uncertainty thrust upon the very people who create jobs in North Charleston and beyond.
Then again, what else should we expect from a man who called any attempt by a Republican governor to reject the inevitable unfunded mandates that came along with federal “stimulus” money a “slap to the face of black people.”
Clyburn should be ashamed of himself for talking about how he and other Democrats are acting to make sure that the American people can “uplift themselves.” Clyburn, after all, joined the rest of the fools in his party this summer in voting to extend unemployment benefits to a threshold of 99 weeks. How does that help people “uplift themselves”?
Short answer: it doesn’t.
Now, I don’t have too many fond memories from late July when I was in Columbia, SC for three days taking the SC Bar Exam. It just wasn’t a whole lot of fun. One thing aside from the exam which sticks out in my mind, however, is a discussion I had in the lobby of my hotel one evening with about a half-dozen officials from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce who had come together for training on the state’s new Virtual One Stop online employment tool. It had been a long day so I was only moderately conscious at best, but after injecting myself into a conversation about the vote that had just taken place a few days earlier to extend unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, I’ll never forget the words of one particular official who was the representative from a very underprivileged area of the Palmetto State.
“My people don’t need benefits, they need jobs,” she said. “And they need a reason to get up off their ass and get one.”
This woman was frustrated almost to tears. I cannot recall her exact words, but the core of her message was that government on the local, state and federal levels–especially the federal level–often did more harm than good. She insisted that it didn’t matter what kind of database the state put together if there were no jobs to fill it. She insisted that the problem was systemic, and that it would take business growth and not government intervention to make a difference.
I asked her who she voted for in the last election. She said that she voted for Barack Obama. I asked why, but I knew the answer. She offered a half-hearted laugh, gestured at herself from top to bottom as though she were showing off her outfit, and asked: “why do you think?”
Another black woman in the group offered a similar half-hearted laugh, and without looking up from the floor just said, “me too.”
If more black Americans thought in the same terms of practical reality as those two women did, Jim Clyburn would not stand a chance — even in his congressional district, which Charleston, SC radio host Richard Todd calls “the most gerrymandered district in the nation.” People like Clyburn, however, feast upon collective ignorance. They bank on their constituents not being the type to watch “Meet the Press.” And so long as they can keep those constituents ill-informed and uninformed, they will continue to come back to Washington, D.C. again and again and again.
Hence, Clyburn’s stance on the Fairness Doctrine. Need we be reminded?
OLBERMANN: Congressman Clyburn, is there a legislative response to the idea that there is a national cable news outlet that goes beyond having a point of view and actually starts to shill for partisan causes and actually starts to donate to partisan groups of one party?
CLYBURN: Well, I don‘t know that there‘s one yet. That‘s one of the reasons I have always been a little bit upset about us getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine.
I do believe that there needs to be a very critical look taken, especially at FOX News and what they‘re doing. They are absolutely undermining democracy in this country. They are drowning out the voices of what I would call the ordinary person in this society. That is not what our country is all about.
We should be about encouraging people to be a part of the governmental process, rather than going out, targeting the folks that they are voting for, for defeat, and using foreign money to do it. That is absolutely incredible.
Besides the Fairness Doctrine talk, two things jump out at me about that little tid-bit.
First, the idea that News Corp.–the parent company of Fox News Channel–is somehow alone in donating to “partisan groups of one party” is absolutely ludicrous. When it comes to the matter that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, consider that data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that nearly nine out of every ten television network executives, writers, producers, on-air personalities and other employees gave more than $1 million to Democratic Party candidates and campaign-related organization during 2008.
More specifically, on an individual level 1,160 employees of ABC, CBS and NBC gave a total of $1,020,816 to Democratic Party-friendly candidates and organizations, whereas only 193 employees of the same networks contributed a total of $142,863 to Republican candidates and campaign committees. Which is more indicative of widespread personal bias — one corporation (an artificial legal person for all intents and purposes) gives one million dollars, or nearly 1,200 individual employees dig into their own wallets for approximately $880 apiece?
Second, check out Foreign Money? Really?, a great synopsis of the reality behind the Democrats’ attack on the Chamber of Commerce by the folks at FactCheck.org. A sample:
The Times reported, for example, that U.S. subsidiaries of corporations based overseas have set up more than 160 political action committees. The Federal Election Commission states that this is perfectly legal so long as U.S. residents make the decisions and provide all the funds. The Times also noted that groups such as the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club also have international affiliations. The AFL-CIO has pledged to spend $53 million on the midterm elections, mainly supporting Democrats.
Clyburn is wrong. If he wants to get angry about the “drowning out of voices of what I would call the ordinary person in this society,” I suggest he launch an investigation into the absentee ballots from military personnel which will not be counted. That’s the kind of governmental malfeasance which is truly “undermining democracy in this country.”
In the meantime, while we all wait for Clyburn to get his priorities straight, head on over to JimPrattForCongress.com and give a few dollars to Jim Pratt, who despite the “most gerrymandered district in the nation” stands a good chance of sending shockwaves through the entrenched members of the ruling class who, like Clyburn, depend upon and hide behind their creatively-drawn districts back home to guarantee power in perpetuity.