Politics
Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn waves before addressing the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Keane) Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn waves before addressing the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Keane)  

Rep. Clyburn Complains That GOP Sen. Tim Scott Doesn’t Vote His Color

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Republican Sen. Tim Scott doesn’t vote according to the color of his skin, Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn complained in a Thursday Washington Post article.

“If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress,” he told the Post.

Clyburn’s argument was featured in a generally favorable article about Scott’s practice of briefly working alongside his constituents in South Carolina without revealing his identity.

The comment from Clyburn, age 73, stands in contrast to a comment from James Copeland, who recently worked alongside Scott at a Goodwill store in Greenville, S.C. When Copeland — an African-American — was told of Scott’s identity, he responded positively.

“Oh, wow, I thought he was just some guy off the street,” he said, according to the Post.

“He was really speaking on my level. I felt like I can relate to him. I’d vote for him. Absolutely,” said Copeland.

The Daily Caller asked Clyburn’s press aide, Amanda Loveday, for a comment. She did not respond.

Clyburn is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House. TheDC asked press aides for House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi if she would demand an apology from Clyburn. The aides did not respond.

The comments about Scott may reflect the Democrats’ desire to stoke racial conflicts in the hope of spiking November turnout among African-Americans. In recent weeks, for example, President Barack Obama has used foreign-policy press conferences to get involved in the disputes over race-related comments by the owner of the LA Clippers’ basketball team, and over the botched execution of an African-American murderer in Oklahoma.

Clyburn’s argument is racialism, rather than discriminatory racism, suggested Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

“He is saying that not only should individual African-American politicians not be allowed to vote their consciences or for what they think is the best policy for all their constituents, he’s also saying that individual voters are shackled to their respective skin colors and can vote only after asking themselves ‘What is best for my group,’” Clegg said.

“It’s tribal. … It’s a step backwards from Martin Luther King’s dream [and from] maybe a couple of millennia” of intellectual advances, Clegg said. Almost 2,000 years ago, Clegg said, the Apostle Paul wrote that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

“What one would hope is that the over the past few centuries. … We’ve advanced beyond that,” he said. But unfortunately, “the ugly politics of ethnic identity — even in advanced societies — is always a danger, as we saw with Germany in the last century,” Clegg added.

Clyburn’s comment follows his refusal to condemn racial comments from another Democratic legislator, Rep. Bennie Thompson, who described Justice Clarence Thomas as an “Uncle Tom.”

The judge “doesn’t like being black,” Thompson said during an interview on a Mississippi radio station. The judge is also an “Uncle Tom,” said Thompson, using a derisive term for slaves who whipped other slaves at the behest of white masters.

“The people that I represent, for the most part, have a real issue with those decisions — voter ID, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act — all those issues are very important and for someone in the court who’s African-American and not sensitive to that is a real problem,” Thompson told CNN about Thomas’s legal decisions.

Clyburn downplayed Thompson’s demand for racial solidarity. ”All of us have ways of expressing our disappointments,” Clyburn said on CNN. ”I am very disappointed in Clarence Thomas.”

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