Sunday, December 02, 2007


Five long years I thought you were my man
But I found out
I'm just a link in your chain

--Aretha Franklin, Chain of Fools

I think that’s closer to 40 years by now. Forty long years.

And it’s the same message to Michigan Blacks from the Democratic Party:

You’re just a link in the chain.

Democratic Party excludes Michigan from national convention

The Democratic Party on Saturday barred Michigan from next summer's national convention, the expected -- and likely temporary -- punishment for holding a Jan. 15 presidential primary.

The national party's rules committee voted to ban all but a handful of Michigan officials from the Denver convention, at which the party's presidential nominee will formally be chosen. The move was widely expected -- it's the same penalty the committee handed down in August to Florida, which like Michigan is holding a January contest. Just four states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- are allowed to do so under the party's calendar rules.

Michigan Black voters:

Do not--

Do not--

Do not kid yourselves.

The Democratic Party is punishing you, fearing not at all that you will make them pay in November 2008. They take you for granted, because they believe so strongly that you're going to vote for the Democratic candidate no matter how the Party, or the presidential candidates, treat Michigan’s Democratic voters.

They do this because--

History proves Michigan Blacks always vote for the Democratic candidates regardless of how the party, or the candidates, treat them.

Someone whom I respect profoundly, (okay, it was me) remarked on this last May, after the chicken-shit Democratic candidates refused to participate in a planned televised debate in Detroit organized by the Congressional Black Caucus, only because it was going to be broadcast by Fox News--which terrified them all that they’d be asked a tough question by a Mara Liasson
or Juan Williams, as opposed to carefully vetted YouTube plants.

You remember. The DNC dissed heck out of Black Detroit and the Black Caucus, and the Michigan civil rights and political hotshots stayed home in droves, and never made a peep.

At the time, I wrote a rather pointed post aimed at Detroit’s voters of color: (“Why Buy the Cow When You Can Milk It for Free?”) , making the following, trenchant observation:

Sadly, this story shows up a lot more than just the cowardice of the leading Democratic candidates to face critical questioners on Fox. The real revelation is how cocksure all five candidates must be of Detroit's votes if they can scorn an opportunity to honor the city's primarily black voters in a debate featuring their city.

You can count on it that not one of these dropouts thinks he or she is risking any but the tiniest of political costs by staying away.

And that’s because not one of these 5 candidates seriously doubts that, if nominated, he or she will carry Detroit in November 2008: no matter what he does, or fails to do, to either earn those votes--or earn that respect--from Detroit’s voters.

Isn't it just common sense that Democratic candidates aren’t going to break a sweat to earn what's always been given away for free?

Alas, and isn't this just the treatment Detroit’s black voters have earned from the party to whom they’e always been so faithful--so faithful in spite of everything?

Aretha Franklin once musically explained this predicament:

You got me where you want me
I ain't nothing but your fool
You treated me mean oh you treated me cruel
Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools

For about the 11,507th time since 2000 the Democratic Party has once more shown itself to be actually guilty of the awful things they're always unfairly maligning Republicans for doing, in this case being unconcerned about the "poor," or "minorities," except as they can use them to gain votes.

Even John Dingell, in an extremely unusual moment of near-lucidity, responded in shock to this latest act of disrespect to Michigan by the DNC this way:

“Democrats are the party of the people, not the party of privilege,” Dingell said after the ruling. “The other party is the party of privilege, and yet they have treated all the states equally.”

This isn't supposed to happen, is it, Congressman?

Then there was this to think about:

Before punishing Michigan on Saturday, the committee approved waivers for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, allowing those states to move their contests earlier than their assigned dates -- and prompting accusations of inequitable enforcement of the rules from Michigan officials. All three of those states were assigned January dates that they have moved from; New Hampshire, for example, was assigned Jan. 22, but will vote on Jan. 8.

“The DNC’s selective enforcement of the party rules demonstrates once again the unconscionable power of New Hampshire and Iowa to dominate and distort the presidential nominating process,” Levin said.

That would be Michigan’s Senator-for-Life, Carl Levin, deflecting blame for the DNC’s “selective enforcement” onto New Hampshire and Iowa’s “unconscionable power,” rather than where it clearly belongs--on the DNC leadership and the candidates themselves. They're the ones who take Michigan’s Democratic voters so for granted, and the ones who feel they can treat the state's loyal Dem voters as second-class citizens, and still remain smugly confident that Michigan is a safe Democrat state.

And why are the national Democrats so sure of themselves?

Because it’s still unthinkable to a majority of African American voters to consider voting for the Republican Party, that's why.

And it's not just the differences in the issues and the policies between the two parties. You see, there’s so much more at stake then just naked political self-interest. There’s all that symbolism, all that history, all that baggage of racism and denial of civil rights.

And if you think about it, how could it not require an enormous effort of historical amnesia for the average Black voter to be able to actually throw the lever for a Party that went to war to preserve slavery, that fought against the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, that used the Ku Klux Klan as its armed terror wing, created and enforced Jim Crow, practiced and defended lynching, and filibustered the civil rights act as recently as 1964.

But hey, hold on there!

Hasn't the average Black voter in Michigan already overcome all this historical baggage, because he already votes for the Democratic Party.

Every time.


And has done for nearly forty years. Forty long years.

Politics is supposed to be driven by self-interest. But in Michigan that theory is not always demonstrated, which is one reason we’re in the shape we’re in.

It also explains why the Democratic Party can go right ahead and disrespect the state’s Congressional Black Caucus by boycotting a televised debate just for not being moderated by their toadies, and then a few months later come back and slap state Democrats around for daring to want an earlier primary date.

"Those spots are reserved for New Hampshire and Iowa turn, folks. Just you keep on moving quietly right on to the seats in the back there."

I'm afraid it doesn’t look as if self-interest is going to be what drives Michigan’s Democratic voters in 2008, either.

Maybe next time? Or not?

One of these mornings the chain is gonna break
But up until then, yeah, I'm gonna take all I can take
Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain,
Chain of fools

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