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November 10, 2006


Here's the thing:

1. It's not like there haven't been corrupt (and nearly overtly corrupt) chairmen of important committees before. The CBC might reasonably ask, "Would this be a big deal if he were white?" For cripes sake, Senator Allen narrowly lost an election in which there were credible (to me) allegations that he stuffed a deer's head into someone's mailbox. (I realize this isn't cleanly parallel.)

2. My recollection is that there was (and perhaps still is) widespread belief in the African-American community that, back in the day, the federal government focused on rooting out corrupt African-American politicians with a fervor it didn't show corrupt white politicians. (I don't know if this is true, but I would bet that people could make a reasonable case about this.) The CBC might ask, "Aren't there equally corrupt members of this Congress who would have been caught, but for the fact that they aren't black?"

3. To the extent this is an issue of optics, then the CBC might worry that this will usually play against African-American Congresspeople. Not for nothing, but the murderers row of scary Dems in power if the Dems won was something like Frank, Rangel, Conyers, Pelosi, (and maybe) Hastings. Or black, gay, and female. If they'd stuck someone Jewish on there (Schumer?), it would have been a Southern Strategy full house.

(NB: I'm not sure that's coherent, but the coffee hasn't kicked in yet.)

Uh, this is the Alcee Hastings whose impeachment was overturned and who was found not guilty in criminal court? Do you have some evidence that he's actually guilty despite our judicial process saying otherwise? Maybe you do, but I think you have to say it; just quoting Wikipedia doesn't really cut it.

(It may be that this all has an explanation for people who were following the saga at the time, but for those of us who haven't heard of Alcee Hastings before his name came up in this context, I think it requires at least some clear reasoning as to why, having been found innocent, he shouldn't be treated as such.)

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