There was lots of wondering whether Congressional Democrats could rein in their liberal ways enough to hold on to the political center in 2008. Well, John Conyers has backed off of his impeachment talk - at least until circumstances change. And he's backed off his push for reparations for the descendants of slaves. But he's let it be known that once Barack Obama is President, that great idea is back on the front burner:
After waiting nearly two decades, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) is well positioned to move legislation that could lead the federal government to apologize for slavery and pay reparations.
But the Judiciary Committee chairman is willing to wait two more years, when he hopes Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will be in the White House...
Conyers noted that his bill calls for the president to appoint three members to a seven-member commission to analyze the effects of slavery. The House Speaker would make three appointments, while the president pro tempore of the Senate would tap one member.
Even if he had the votes to make his bill law — a big if — Conyers does not want President Bush’s appointees to have a role on such a panel.
The Michigan lawmaker, who has strongly backed Obama for president, said he has not called on the senator to endorse his measure. “I don’t want to put him on the spot,” Conyers told The Hill.
Obama’s campaign did not respond to requests for information about the senator’s position on the bill, H.R. 40. Yet Obama’s stance could be extremely important as he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) vigorously court the black vote and wrap themselves in the mantle of the civil rights movement...
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), another 2008 White House hopeful, supports the Conyers measure and a formal apology for slavery. In a statement, Richardson said, “Slavery is one of the most tragic periods of our great nation, and we continue to struggle with the legacy of slavery...”
Conyers must not really want Obama to be President, because this foolishness sends the signal that if you elect Barack Obama, you're giving a green light to ideas like this one.
More significantly for Obama, it creates an implicit linkage between him and the non-mainstream, nasty-looking, inarticulate black leaders that he's tried to distance himself from. Obama has recognized that guys like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the criminal Conyers can only hurt his candidacy. This move by Conyers is like a Republican getting an endorsement from David Duke - it's 'help' you just don't need.
Update: Looks like Al Sharpton either:
- Really wants Obama to be President; or,
- Doesn't understand how this works.