Mitchell delivers swift kick to the Democratic donkey

January 06, 2002|By Gregory Kane

SEE THE jackass squeal. Squeal, jackass, squeal.

The Democratic Party jackass, running roughshod and over-governing Maryland these many years, has finally been forced to squeal. And yelp. And howl. And protest.

This is a most pleasing event for those of us weary of liberal Democrats poking their noses into our lives here in the People's Republic of Maryland. And the thing that pleases most is that the squealing, wailing and gnashing of teeth are being caused by a Democrat.

Last month, state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV of the 44th District said he was leaving the Democratic Party. One might be inclined to call Mitchell a liberal Democrat, but C-4 - that's his moniker in the 'hood - is more progressive than liberal.

Anyway, it was the liberal Democrats who reacted as though C-4 had just taken a cattle prod to the baby Jesus.

"There's no place for him in the Republican Party," sniffed Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller in a Sun article written by Ivan Penn. Miller usually sniffs when he talks, probably from looking down his nose at Baltimoreans. When he's not doing that, he's questioning the race loyalty of black Republicans, as he did last year with state Republican Party chairman Michael Steele, an African-American.

You figure Mitchell would really be inclined to heed a caveat from Miller, wouldn't you?

Clearly on a roll, Miller then said Mitchell and his progenitors - who include great-grandmother Lillie Carroll Jackson, grandparents Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. and Juanita Jackson Mitchell, dad Clarence M. Mitchell III and great-uncle Parren J. Mitchell - were "too progressive for the Republican Party." As if Miller knows what progressive is.

"I don't know how to take that statement," C-4 said Thursday after he met with state Republican leaders here in Baltimore. "I wasn't welcome with open arms in the Democratic Party."

That's because progressives are anathema to Democrats. A little truth in history here. Democrats are the party of reaction and racism. For years they were the "hang 'em high" party, the one that ruled the South during the heyday of lynching, Jim Crow, chain gangs, prison farms, peonage, poll taxes, white primaries - hey, Democrats, stop me anytime here, OK?

Democrats had no progressive ideas they didn't steal from populists, socialists, real progressives or even communists. And their original ideas were really bad.

If Mitchell goes Republican, he won't be in the mold of Trent Lott or Jesse Helms. He would be a Republican in the tradition of Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner, two radical Republicans from the Civil War and Reconstruction era, who make today's "liberal" Democrats seem somewhat to the right of Barry Goldwater.

Blacks today are mainly Democratic because during the civil rights era they were concentrated in the overwhelmingly Democratic South. When voting rights legislation was passed, African-Americans registered as Democrats not so much because the party was "progressive" - with the likes of racist governors like George Wallace of Alabama and Ross Barnett of Mississippi in the ranks, how could it be? - but because it was practical. It was a classic case of geography being fate.

And Mitchell says it's geography that has his dander up, not, as has been suggested, his worry over his seat. (The new 44th District comprises part of the old 47th District of Sen. George W. Della Jr. He and Mitchell would face each other under the new redistricting plan.)

Mitchell is rankled that the new 44th is divided into a 44a, which includes Druid Hill Avenue; 44b, which includes Fairfield; and 44c, which "jumps across the water into Dundalk," the senator said.

It's as if Gov. Parris N. Glendening's advisory committee beamed down the worst students from Cretin High School on the planet Dimwit to come up with this plan. But C-4 is equally upset that 44th District Dels. Verna L. Jones, Ruth M. Kirk and Jeffrey A. Paige must run against each other for one seat.

"What did the governor have against them?" Mitchell asked, alluding to the accusation that the 44th District was cannibalized as punishment for his opposition to Glendening. Kirk, Jones and Paige are African-American and would run in 44a. Two incumbent white delegates have 44b and 44c all to their lonesomes.

Glendening's folks say the districts were drawn based "on the numbers." The numbers Glendening should be considering are those black Baltimore votes that put him over the top in elections in 1994 and 1998. Black Democrats in Baltimore were expecting payback for that loyalty and got a swift kick in the teeth.

C-4 has responded by giving that Democratic Party jackass a swift kick in the derriere. Rather than blindly suture his lips to the rump of the Democratic Party jackass, Mitchell has stood up to inform them Dems that the black vote isn't theirs by right and they take it for granted at their own risk.

Others have criticized C-4 for that, but if Democrats won't listen to the grandson of Clarence Mitchell Jr., whom will they listen to?

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