Tim Scott, the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction more than a century ago, adamantly refuses to join the Congressional Black Caucus. And he should reserve the right to do so.
Scott told reporters he will not join an organization in which he believes sets itself apart in trying to solve many of America’s economic and political woes.
African Americans generally look askance at black Republicans, believing they are automatically betraying the black race’s interests for self-aggrandizement purposes. However, from a collective standpoint, African Americans can be termed as social and fiscal conservatives — some ultra conservative — especially as it relates to sexual orientation and taxation. Most only vote Democratic to this day only because the party represents the lesser of two evils, and not so much because the black electorate is feeling the love from the DNC. The CBC actually had a cold war with President Obama earlier this year stemming from the belief that Obama has continued the Democratic Party’s tradition of taking black politicians and the black electorate for granted.
Scott, on the other hand, believes he is going to advance the cause by employing strategies for improvement from a different angle. And that means outside the confines of the CBC.
CBC spokesman J. Jioni Palmer declined to say much about Scott’s refusal to join, other than to refer to a prepared statement that was issued last month saying Scott and the other black Republican elected this year, freshman Allen West of Florida, would be welcomed as members. The CBC, which currently boasts 42 congressional members, are currently all Democrats.
Scott’s stance has benefits, to be sure. This will make him an instant star and media darling, much like what happened to former Oklahoma Republican congressman J.C. Watts. In fact, Scott has already snagged a leadership position within the Grand Old Party (GOP), aka the Republican Party.
“My campaign was never about race,” Scott wrote in a statement sent to media. “My campaign has been about themes that unite all Americans — restoring the American dream by reducing the tax burden, decreasing government interference in the private sector, and restoring fiscal responsibility, and I don’t think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people.”
Conversely, the other newly elected black Republican, Allen West of Florida, says he will join the CBC in an effort to steer it away from “failed liberal policies,” reports the Associated Press. It remains to be seen if Scott’s spirit is right and if his proposed policies prove productive to African Americans and the nation. –terry shropshire