James Clyburn, house majority whip, assured a crowded room of supporters that Democrats are in great shape and will retain a majority and possibly gain a few seats in congress after the midterm elections. The top-ranking house Democrat was in California campaigning and trying to energize supporters to get out to vote.
While speaking at the Urban Issues Breakfast Forum, the charismatic congressman from South Carolina’s 6th District, used his southern calm to remind supporters that democrats have made sufficient gains during President Obama’s two years in office–health care bill and stimulus package are two of the Democrats biggest success.
According to president’s Council of Economic Advisers, the economic stimulus has already saved or created two million jobs, meaning that, without action, unemployment would be higher. Even the unpopular Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), succeeding in keeping the U.S. financial system afloat.
According to many national polls, the Republican message of less spending, lower taxes and repeal of the health care overhaul is connecting. But Congressman Clyburn continues to be optimistic about his party’s chances to retain its majority in congress.
“Don’t get carried away with this Tea Party stuff, it’s about states’ rights,” said Clyburn. “Nothing has changed, these people woke up two years ago, and said tell me it isn’t so? Don’t pay any attention to the headlines, you get out to vote and make sure Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown and other democrats stay in office.”
The congressman explained the historical importance of the House Majority Whip post and how difficult it is to reconcile differences within his own party.
“The democratic caucuses are more than just gender or race,” says Clyburn. “This is about a set of experiences. Most of the Congressional Black Caucus and Blue Dog democrats are from the south.
But they do not see the world in the same way, because of different experiences. Therefore, I have to reconcile those experiences to make sure everyone is on the same page to assure 218 votes to get a bill passed.”
With national polls and pundits painting a grim picture for Democrats, the congressman appealed to the emotions of the audience. Clyburn said people often ask why can’t “you all do things in a bipartisan way? We do things in a bipartisan way. When we get to 218, it’s a bipartisan legislation.”
According to a New York Times poll, 108 House seats are up for grabs in this November’s mid term elections. Meanwhile the Republicans are showing no signs of conceding any race.
Clyburn said the Republicans pledge to America is the plague on America. “It’s not about legislation. It’s about getting rid of those three African Americans who chair committees, the seven who chair sub committees; it’s about getting rid of me.”
After Clyburn’s presentation, people commented freely about the information he shared.
“I was simply blown away by the depth of his knowledge and the largeness of his heart,” said Jacqueline Hawthorn, chairperson of the African American Women’s Political Action Committee.
“I am amazed that there is so little knowledge among the general public about the political process.”
The South Carolina Congressman asked the crowd, in parting, to they put into office people who are sensitive to the background and experiences of all of God’s children.