Nowhere in the rulebook does it say that Democrats can’t play the race card against other Democrats.
With young House Democrats itching to break into the leadership ranks held by senior Democrats, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus issued a veiled threat that his organization wouldn’t hesitate to smear the fresh faces with a racism charge in order to keep the top spots they’ve acquired over the years.
The issue has come up because some junior Democrats are calling for limits on how long someone can hold the spot of ranking member on a House committee. Politico reports:
North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the Black Caucus, said African-American members plan to “express ourselves very loudly” during the term limit debate. He called the timing of the discussion “very interesting.”
“We’re now at a phase that many of our CBC members hold senior positions within the caucus, and we’re beginning to get ranking member positions all over the caucus — and why now?” Butterfield said. “It has worked well over the years. Why revisit it now and cause divisions within the Democratic Caucus?”
If nothing else, the fact that Democrats would risk such fight over whether or not to term limit ranking members suggests that they’re resigned to a long stint as the House minority. Politico says there is “a growing cadre of members who want a three-term cap” — six years, that is – “on how long members can serve in the ranking-member spot.”