Friday, December 3, 2010

So That's How It's Gonna Be, Tim Scott?

32 Black Republicans ran for Congress this year, and of those 32 only 2, Tim Scott and Allen West, were elected this past November during the midterm election.  Traditionally, the Black members of Congress have recognized the value of working together and thus formed the Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC").  It's pretty much a given that if you are Black and you are in Congress (House or Senate) then you are a part of the CBC...until now.  Drawing a distinct line in the sand, Scott made it clear that he will not be joining the CBC.  Per Politico:

"While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining at this time. My campaign was never about race," Scott said in a Wednesday evening statement.
More from his release:

"My campaign has been about themes that unite all Americans--restoring the American dream by reducing the tax burden, decreasing government interference in the private sector, and restoring fiscal responsibility, and I don't think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people. I believe that by promoting our conservative values we will grow the economy, which will make everything else possible. The black community, like all communities, will benefit when businesses can use their profits to hire more workers instead of paying higher taxes; when companies decide to locate in America instead of overseas; and when our government no longer saddles our children's futures with ever-increasing debt. I therefore plan to dedicate my time and energy in Congress to working on these areas."
On the other hand, Florida Rep.-elect Allen West said right after the election he plans to join the CBC, becoming the first GOP member since 1996.
So I guess this means we won't be seeing Scott during CBC weekend next year.  But seriously though, why does "reducing the tax burden" or "restoring fiscal responsibility" mean you can't link up with the CBC?  Are you saying that the two are mutually exclusive? Look, (A) - you are Black; (B) - 20% of your constituents in South Carolina are as well and need somebody to speak to their issues; and (C) EVERY OTHER BLACK MEMBER OF CONGRESS - Republican or Democrat - has joined the CBC.  Why?  Because there's strength in numbers.  And if the argument is that the CBC won't vote for the things that you would like to vote for, then get in and make the persuasive argument on why it should! But don't just cop out without even trying.  Besides, there are hardly enough of us in Congress that we can afford to start turning our back on our own people under the pretext of "tax burdens." 

Is Scott making the courageous move into a Post-Racial America or is this brother just lost?
Does Scott's reasoning for not joining the CBC hold water after his fellow Black Republican, West, stated he will be joining the CBC (just as fellow Black Republican JC Watts did before him)?
Do we have to shed our Blackness in order to tackle tax burdens and fiscal responsibility and other core Republican issues?
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