The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 40th Annual Legislative Conference is history.
I am a 20-year veteran of Caucus Week. Given the number of CBC members under scrutiny, I expected some fireworks. With the exception of Rep. Maxine Waters’ ubiquitous street teams, this year’s conference was fairly low-key.
I am a policy wonk so I flitted from session-to-session at the Washington Convention Center. I left most after a few minutes. I stuck my head into Room 143-B, where Rep. Al Green was hosting a discussion ripped from the headlines, “Is the New Right Wrong for People of Color?” I decided to stay.
The panelists included Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity and Timothy F. Johnson, PhD of the Frederick Douglass Foundation.
The formatting of the session title suggests that Green thinks the Tea Party movement is just plain wrong:
It’s not about Republicans versus Democrats. Rather, it’s whether the new right is good for people of color. The question is whether you are for or against policies that can have an impact on people of color.
I have known Wade for a long time so his characterization of the Tea Party as a “shill for the Republican Party” is, well, characteristic.
As Johnson observed, Wade placed blame for “all of the ills of the last two years on the Tea Party.”
Johnson, a proud Republican and tea partier, said:
Don’t keep blaming the Tea Party. It’s not a party, it’s a movement.
Essentially what we’re doing is crowd-sourcing. I use the term open-source politics. This is an open-source movement. Every day, anyone and everyone is modifying the code. The movement as a whole is smart.
Hilary regurgitated Media Matters talking points and added the NAACP is having an “impact.” Oh really, with whom?
As the National Journal piece notes:
Leaderless groups also have trouble protecting their brand against impostors, opportunists, and extremists who act in their name and sully their reputation -- a vulnerability that the tea party’s adversaries are currently doing their utmost to exploit.
Meanwhile, there’s little sign of life among Democratic voters of color.