‘Ridiculously loyal’ Clyburn re-elected, in case you were in suspense

I’m looking at this release from Jim Cyburn yesterday:


Congressman James E. Clyburn released the following statement after the House Democratic Caucus elected him by acclamation to another term as Assistant Democratic Leader:

“I thank all my House Democratic colleagues for the faith and confidence they have expressed in me to serve as Assistant Democratic Leader in the 115th Congress. I am deeply honored to have the unanimous support of our Caucus and humbly accept this Leadership position with clear eyes and understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead.clyburn

“As I said to my colleagues today, our experiences are what make us who and what we are. Our diversity – of experiences, backgrounds, ethnicities and constituencies – remains our greatest strength. As the only Member of elected Leadership from a deep red state and largely rural district, I will work tirelessly to stay connected to all of our Caucuses and regions and to give voice to the concerns of our diverse communities.

“Looking forward, I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where they do not have to fear the next decision of the Supreme Court of the United States for the impact it could have on their lives and communities. I want them to grow up where people in elected office are people they can look up to and emulate. Together, we can do something about that.”

Clyburn was nominated to be the Assistant Democratic Leader by Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) and seconded by Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31) and Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large).

– 30 –

… and I find myself wondering to whom it matters, other than Clyburn himself.

To the extent that I give any thought whatsoever to the House Democrats’ re-election of the usual suspects — which is practically not at all — it seems to me that the minority are saying they don’t care much one way or the other.

They have no intention of changing anything, and they intend to go on their merry way, congratulating themselves on how “diverse” they are, patting each other on the backs for being right-thinking, and just continuing blithely down the road to irrelevance.

Or am I missing something here?

If I were a Democrat, I’d be really ticked off at the spectacle of complacency that the House caucus seems to represent. I’d demand to know what these people planned to do about translating our shared ideology into action. But since I’m not, I’m even less interested than these members themselves seem to be.

Oh, but wait! The State reports that there were “whispers” about replacing Clyburn and the rest. But before you get all excited, let me tell you that they came to nothing. Why? Because Clyburn is “ridiculously loyal,” as one member put it.

Now there’s an accolade for you…

Nothing against Clyburn personally, mind you. No one else seems to have any great ideas for changing their party’s fortunes, either. Or for doing much of anything. I just find that whole crowd rather underwhelming, don’t you?

20 thoughts on “‘Ridiculously loyal’ Clyburn re-elected, in case you were in suspense

  1. Doug Ross

    He and Pelosi well each be 80 years old in 2020. That should resonate with the young voters.

    I’ve always said that Republicans are stupid individually while Democrats are stupid collectively.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    It just seems to be that for Clyburn, Pelosi et al., holding those leadership posts seems to be the end in itself, not a means toward accomplishing anything.

    It’s like, “I’m still Assistant Democratic Leader, so all’s right with the world.” Nothing more needs to be said.

    I’m reminded of the first time I visited Floyd Spence in his congressional office in Washington in the late ’80s. The main feature of his office was an entire wall covered with grip-and-grin pictures of Floyd posing with various national and world leaders. Floyd directed Lee Bandy and me to his window that gave a great view of the Capitol. Having moved up in seniority after the recent election, he had received a new office and he seemed terribly pleased with and proud of his view.

    (In recent days, I rewatched the classic 1995 BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice” with my wife and some of my daughters. And it occurs to me that Floyd, showing us his view, was rather like Mr. Collins showing off the splendour of Rosings, the palatial home of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and basking in what he perceived to be the reflected glory…)

    And it struck me that for Floyd, that was the point of it all — those pictures of him with important people, the view out his new window.

    You doubt me? OK, quick — rattle off some of Floyd’s legislative accomplishments from his 30 years in that House seat…

  3. clark surratt

    Folks in the Columbia area (and all across the country) gripe heartily about a partisan, bickering, unproductive Congress. And Columbia area voters keep sending back “ridiculously loyal” Clyburn and “you lie” Wilson (a worthy successor to Floyd Spence).

    When this is replicated across America by voters for their home boys and home girls, it’s pretty easy to see what the problem is. Parties and voters.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The problem, I will say yet again, is the way we do reapportionment.

      Or perhaps I should say, the way our elected representatives do reapportionment, carefully and skilfully choosing their voters, rather that their voters choosing THEM.

      Nothing will get better until that is radically reformed.

      I can’t remember the last time I spent any energy actually caring about the outcome of a congressional race. At the paper, if we endorsed in those, we did so almost as an afterthought, in a cursory way, after we’d wrestled with the REAL decisions on other races.

      Why? Because it’s all pre-determined. And since it IS predetermined, no one of any consequence ever challenges the incumbent. So if you endorse, you (very reluctantly) endorse the incumbent, because the challenger is almost always some grossly underqualified flake. You don’t WANT the incumbent to win, as often as not, but you see the challenger as worse. A dispiriting process…

      And the cure for this is NOT term limits. The cure is drawing the districts so that they are competitive, and not foregone conclusions…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        You know what term limits would give you? They would give you a guy like Floyd Spence being replaced by a guy like Joe Wilson, and on and on. Because THAT is what the district is drawn for…

        1. Lynn Teague

          There are almost no competitive general election seats for anything in SC. Many incumbents of both parties are just fine with that, after all, it worked for them.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I had an interesting Twitter exchange last week or the week before with David Daley, who has written a new book about how the GOP has skilfully used reapportionment to take over on the state and national levels.

            I meant to write a post about it. Perhaps I shall still…

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Meanwhile, I received this email today from Nancy Pelosi:

    With your help and unwavering support, we’ve exceeded our $50,000 November goal.

    We told you this was our first real test since the election — and thanks to you, we passed.

    Of course, this was only the first test. There will be more as the months go on. But for today, all I wanted to say is this: Thank you.

    Team Pelosi simply wouldn’t function without you.


    Because, you know, that’s what’s important. She and Jim still have their positions, and the money is still rolling in, so all’s right with the world…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Which, I’ll admit, is a departure for her. Most of her fund-raising emails are all about how the world is going to end, immediately and horribly, if you don’t give RIGHT NOW — all on account of those beastly Republicans…

      Don’t you like the touch where, after saying essentially “we’ve met our goal,” she makes sure you know that she’ll be hitting you up again very soon, so don’t get complacent…

      1. Mark Stewart

        When they lifted the rule for Marshall they said “never again”. It is somewhat reassuring that with such a vote Congress will have to overcome their own territorial interests to pass an exception for Mattis. You know, political positions for politicians and all …

        Trump may have to expend a lot of untested political capital to get Mattis through – and for what, to throw more firebombs at our Republic’s foundation?

  5. Tom Stickler

    “Or am I missing something here? If I were a Democrat. . . .”

    But, you are not, so thanks for all the good advice. Besides, Ross Douthat has the Democratic concern-troll franchise sewn up.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Excerpt from that piece:

      But the common thread is that Pelosi, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C) have had a death grip on the party’s top slots for a very long time. Pelosi was just reelected to her eighth term — 16 years! — as the party’s leader in the House. Ditto Hoyer, who has been the second-ranking Democrat for just as long. Clyburn has been third-ranking Democrat in the House for a decade. (The trio are 76, 77 and 76, respectively.)

      While that’s great if you are — or work for — Pelosi, Hoyer or Clyburn, it’s bad if you are young, ambitious and looking to move up the political chain in Washington. More than a decade of total stasis among your party leaders even as Democrats lost 1 in every 5 House seats they controlled at the start of 2009 is a tough pill to swallow….

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