The best way to understand this situation with the Democratic leadership in the US House is to understand the great amount of interdependence between the Democratic Party and the Black Democrats but lack of power of Democrats who are Black to play their hand, using the "Nuclear Option" to get what they want.
For the Democratic Party - they realize the importance of having a voting block that is loyal to the tune of 90% of their vote. Why go out of the way to piss this voting block off?
For the "Progressives who are Democrats who are Black" - they realize that they are limited in their ability to fire off indictments of RACISM. The claim of "RACISM" is a carefully targeted "heat seeking missile", reserved for the ideological adversaries of the "Progressives who are Democrats who are Black". They have no desire to tarnish their home party with the claims of RACISM, putting them on the defensive.
Thus this compromise in which:
- Nancy Pelosi the (soon to be) former Speaker of the House, who presided over a historic loss of seats in the House by the Democrats, is allowed to stake her preference for the "Leader Of The Minorities" seat. The first in command in the Democratic power structure
- For Steny Hoyer, the conservative Democrat, he was able to escape the calls from the Democratic Progressive caucus to step aside, and thus is now the #2 in leadership, assuming the "Whip Of The Minorities".
- This leaves Rep James Clyburn - pushed out of real power. Where as the majority party has 3 seats of power, the party of the minorities has only 2 official ones.
If this were a battle between White Conservatives and Black Progressives it takes no bit of imagination to see that:
- The White Conservatives would argue - "We have 2 seats of power. You don't have the votes to put 'your guy' into either one of them. Sorry, you'll just have to get over it"
- The Black Progressive would argue - "You can take your 'made up position' and shove it. You can't purchase our silence!! We have done our part to earn our keep and our representation in the power establishment. We demand PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION. It is YOU who need to go over to the 'White Party' if you want to be among a 'white washed' body of leadership. We are going to fight against this where we have laid down our roots".
From the stand point of the Lampblack Yellow Journalist Press and their Black Progressive Blogger Understudies - this compromise by James Clyburn provides enough of a face-saving that they don't have to fall in line with any leftist Black nationalistic protest that would be spearheaded by a group such as "The Black Agenda Report", reminding the Black voter how much they have invested in the Democrats only to be handed donkey pucks.
Solution - Turn To Rep Allen West
Rep West provides the best candidate that can reestablish the loyalties of the "Progressives who are Democrats who are Black" to their party. He as a right-wing firebrand stepping into the ranks of the Congressional Black Caucus will have an "ideological unifying" effect on the fractious Democrats who have just suffered a stinging election defeat.
The best thing that Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn can do to drive the coalition to kiss and make up is to taunt Lt Col West, provoking him into filling the void that Alan Grayson's untimely departure has created in the US House.
Yet again - this will prove how easy it is to divert the attention of the Black politico away from IMPORTANT issues by using ideological unity enforcement.
(I am still waiting for former "News & Notes" host Farai Chideya to do a follow up round of interviews with the members of the CBC. Back in 2006 we were sold on the notion that a Democratic take over of the Congress would mean wonderful things for the Black community. I would like to have each of them individually queried to identify the material benefits that were received)