Jack Kemp: Hates Constitution, Loves Black People

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Jack Kemp makes the argument about Washington, D.C. voting rights that a less honest man would only make facetiously.

"I talk to members of Congress about this and they literally walk away, saying the bill is unconstitutional. Unconstitutional? They voted for the Patriot Act!" Kemp says.

This is… sort of true. A Republican like Louis Gohmert can spend Monday through Thursday trashing the Fourth Amendment and making a mockery of the Commerce Clause. On Friday he'll metamorphize into Ron Paul, blowing up a section of the Constitution to argue that D.C. can never, never-ever-ever have voting rights. Kemp is blunt about the politicial reasons.

"A presidential veto on this would consign the Republican Party in perpetuity to 8 to 10 percent of the black vote."

Actually, that's not true. There's no evidence that black voters around the nation care about D.C. voting rights. But the Republican opposition presupposes that black voters will always vote for Democrats. If the party had any confidence it could win back black voters, it would lean toward enfranchising D.C. The city could be a petri dish, packed with political consultants who could test out their theories about winning black votes, blessed with a small population of black conservatives and libertarians (like my friend Tony Williams) who'd have a motivation to get involved in local GOP politics. About 26 percent of D.C. businesses are black-owned, for example, compared to 13 percent in Mississippi, which has a black population of 40 percent to D.C.'s 57 percent. The potential for a serious Republican Party to test its appeal to black voters is obvious.

Also, part of the GOP's problem with D.C. votes is that national disenfranchisement disincentivises the city's transients (which include people who'll live in the city for 4-5 years but are always talking about leaving) to register to vote in the city. Add those 20-30,000 voters to the rolls and you've immediately got more competitive elections.

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  1. Unconstitutional? They voted for the Patriot Act!

    Which part of the Patriot Act has been declared unconstitutional?

  2. Washington DC has a big population of Ethiopians and Eratians, who all seem to own a bar or a restaurant of some sort. They don’t have the attachment to the Democratic party that native blacks do and are not as suseptable to the race hustlers like Sharpton and Jackson and the like.

  3. What are “Eratians”?

  4. Abdul: You could google it as quickly as I could have. Here’s the top result:

    Federal Judge Declares Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional. from CNN

  5. …said mr. Lott,

    “Here in the south, we had the coloreds as ‘business partners’ in the past and I suppose we might tolerate their presence again if it helps us return to the glory days.”

  6. abdul,

    Are you saying that something has to be declared unconstitutional to be unconstitutional?

    Part of the job of congressman is to uphold the constituion. They have to determine constitutionality before voting. If they had to wait for court cases before determining that, they could never make a decision, seeing as the courts wont hear a case on a law that hasnt passed yet.

  7. Eriteans. Thoreau. Forgive my spelling. People from the country of Eritrea near Ehiopia.

  8. thoreau,

    The commenter probably means Eritreans.

  9. “””Part of the job of congressman is to uphold the constituion. They have to determine constitutionality before voting”””

    Since when? SCOTUS dismisses Congress’s work often. Justice Scalia made a comment years ago about how Congress was failing to determine the constitutionality of a bill before passing it.

    Congress’s attitude is we’ll pass it and the the court figure it.

  10. “Eratians”? If they all lived in the same little part of town would that qualify as “Eratial segregation?

    ———-

    But seriously- I have never understood the vise-like grip the Demos maintain on the “black vote.” There is a large segment of the black population who are socially conservative, law-and-order types. In some parts of the country (like Indianapolis) there is a significant black middle class and upper middle class, whose interests do not align closely, if at all, with the Jackson-Sharpton redistributionist mob.

  11. Which part of the Patriot Act has been declared unconstitutional?

    All of it. By me.

    Also, as Declarer, I bid two spades, but in a totally non-racist way.

  12. “There’s no evidence that black voters around the nation care about D.C. voting rights.”

    No, but there is voluminious evidence that black voters around the nation care about politicians working to squash black citizens’ rights, or otherwise behave in a manner reminscent of the bad old days.

    Most black voters do not support gay marriage; but when a conservative politician starts to talk about gay people in the same threatening, prejudiced manner than conservative politicians used to talk about black people, black voters make the connection.

    A vote against voting rights for DC residents would be one more thing to put on the “you know what Republicans are like” list, even among voters who don’t care about the underlying issue.

  13. “Most black voters do not support gay marriage; but when a conservative politician starts to talk about gay people in the same threatening, prejudiced manner than conservative politicians used to talk about black people, black voters make the connection.”

    God you are funny Joe. Give me a break. If black people get mad about gay marriage it is when they see some rich white gay guy like Andrew Sullivan using the language of the civil rights movement to talk about thier
    struggle. The appropriation of the language of the civil rights movement by gays insults the hell out of the black people I know at least.

  14. The residents of DC can have full representation anytime they feel like it. Just have DC rejoin Maryland. It worked for what had been the VA portion of DC.

  15. joe,
    I’m not sure about the voluminous evidence, but you do make a good point about black perception of republicans.
    There does seem to be a social imperative among blacks to stick together. Such as in the “don’t snitch” thought pattern. I also think the blacks see the g.o.p. as wanting their votes but nothing else. There are still places down here where there are 2 proms, and the wealthy white republicans are fine with it out of a duty to cultural heritage.

  16. Hey, John,

    “God you are funny Joe. Give me a break. If black people get mad about gay marriage it is when they see some rich white gay guy like Andrew Sullivan using the language of the civil rights movement to talk about thier
    struggle. The appropriation of the language of the civil rights movement by gays insults the hell out of the black people I know at least.”

    Uh huh. How’s that going at the ballot box? Republicans won any black districts by thumping on gay people yet?

  17. It seems like the bottom line of all this is that if you believe in the basic idea of democracy then you should be in favor of allowing as many people to vote as possible.

    Even if you don’t think they’re going to vote for your guy.

  18. “The appropriation of the language of the civil rights movement by gays insults the hell out of the black people I know at least.”

    It’s too bad that people who have suffered such bigotry still can’t bring themselves to overcome it in themselves.

  19. Sorry to have to go along with John here Joe, but the most vitriolic prejudice I’ve heard on the topic of gay marriage has come from the blacks I work around.
    Who are these blacks who are making this connection? I’m willing to bet that there are some, but that it’s mostly just wishful thinking on your part.

  20. The residents of DC can have full representation anytime they feel like it. Just have DC rejoin Maryland. It worked for what had been the VA portion of DC.

    I think I speak for all the residents of the District and Maryland when I say, “Fuck. That. Shit.”

  21. [sigh] Remember when the GOP had a libertarian wing and Jack Kemp was one of us. So wacky, he use to wax poetic about the return to the gold standard, often and in public.

  22. MK,

    “Sorry to have to go along with John here ” should be a blinking red light that you’re misunderstanding something.

    I’m not denying that there is anti-gay prejudice among black voters. That’s why I wrote, “Most black voters do not support gay marriage.” This isn’t an argument against my point; it’s one of my arguments.

    There SHOULD be an opening for Republicans to appeal to black voters on this issue, and on several other conservative, Republican issues. But it isn’t working, at all, anywhere. Republicans, even black Republicans, who try it fall flat on their faces, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE ADOPTING CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS THAT ARE POPULAR AMONG THE VOTERS THEY’RE APPEALING TO.

    “I’m willing to bet that there are some, but that it’s mostly just wishful thinking on your part.” I’m willing to bet that the complete failure of politics of this sort to translate into black support for Republicans demonstrates something pretty compelling about how black people feel about Republicans.

    If you’ve been bit by a German Shepherd, it makes you wary of German Shepherds. If a you see a fierce German Shepherd going after some guy you don’t like, you don’t walk up to the dog and throw your arms around him. Maybe you’re glad the guy’s gone, but you still aren’t going to want that German Shepherd in your house.

  23. Hello! Hello! Can anyone see me? Am I here?

  24. Lamar,
    Thanks for the link. As I understand the case, however, the judge struck down two executive orders regarding the designation of foreign groups as terrorist groups as unconstitutionally vague. The Patriot Act was involved, but not “struck down.” Journalists often screw up the interpretation of these things.

    Part of the job of congressman is to uphold the constituion.

    But their job is not to interpret the constituion. Even if it was, the Supreme Court is the final interpreter, and they’ve moved the goalposts around a lot. Plenty of good faith legislation has gotten passed only to be declared unconstitutional later, eg. line item veto, Violence Against Women Act, etc. If a legislator voted for the line item veto, that doesn’t make him some sort of constitution-hating tyrant.

  25. “It seems like the bottom line of all this is that if you believe in the basic idea of democracy then you should be in favor of allowing as many people to vote as possible.”

    Insert joke about Democrats doing their best to court the dead vote *HERE*

  26. But seriously- I have never understood the vise-like grip the Demos maintain on the “black vote.”

    Does the phrase “Southern Strategy” ring a bell?

  27. “It seems like the bottom line of all this is that if you believe in the basic idea of democracy then you should be in favor of allowing as many people to vote as possible.”

    There’s a big “if” in the middle of that statement.

    If you believe in the basic idea of democracy, you don’t back coups against democratically-elected leaders.

    If you believe in the basic idea of democracy, you don’t send a mob to force the elections board from counting votes.

    If you believe in the basic idea of democracy, you don’t use federal prosecutors to use their law enforcement powers to influence elections.

    If…

  28. ?

  29. Abdul: The Patriot Act creates presidential powers that are unconstitutional. You can’t separate the statute from the powers it creates. The part of the Patriot Act that gives the president such powers is struck down, not just the executive orders.

    And here’s another unconstitutional part of the Patriot Act that has been ruled unconstitutional.

  30. rookie.

  31. Tricky Vic,

    I said its part of the job, I didnt say they were actually doing it.

  32. A vote against voting rights for DC residents would be one more thing to put on the “you know what Republicans are like” list

    Why? Is DC 100% black? Is it an “official” black city, like New Orleans is “chocolate city”? Are you saying black Americans think in a tribal, collectivist, rigid manner, joe? That’s rather insulting. I don’t think you really mean that, do you?

  33. You go, Jack Kemp! And forget about the Patriot Act. (If only we could!) Ninety-nine percent of Republicans voted for, and Bush signed, the “Teri Schiavo Act,” which violated the separation of powers within the federal government and between the federal and state governments, not to mention the very idea of the rule of law.

    Republicans, and plenty of non-Republicans, clutch wildly at any straw to avoid the dread possibility of allowing black people to vote. (The ultimate nightmare, of course, is not a representative for DC but two senators. Two black senators! The horror! The horror!)

  34. ed,

    Try thinking about it a little more.

    Could there possibly be any other reason why black people would be turned off by politicians who appear to be denying people their voting rights, other than “thinking in a tribal, collectivist, rigid manner?”

    Come on, really wrack your brains, see what you can come up with: Why might black voters be turned off by political positions that look sort of like what the political powers in the segregated South used to do?

    Anything? Anything at all?

  35. The Patriot Act creates presidential powers that are unconstitutional

    I’ll agree with you if your wrote this: “the Patriot Act creates presidential powers that may be used unconsitutionally.”

    The judge struck down two Executive Orders because they overreached. Other orders haven’t. Just because some police officers make arrests that are unconstitutional doesn’t mean the law granting the officer arrest powers is unconstitutional.

    The opinion referred to in your second link has been vacated and remanded (Doe I v. Gonzales, 449 F.3d 415 (2d Cir. 2006)). that section of the patriot act is still constitutional.

  36. I disagree with Alan V’s conclusion that the Republicans are motivated by racism here.

    It’s two Democratic senators that scare the fertilizer out of them. If DC was a hotbed of African American fervor for the GOP, Newt Gingrich would have been walking around in a daishiki singing “We Shall Overcome” in support of a Republican bill giving DC Congressional respresentation.

  37. Abdul: Now that you are doing the research, you can plainly see that Judge Collins ruled that Section 805 was unconstitutionally vague. Section 805 was set aside, separate and apart from any action taken on the executive orders.

    In the second case, Congress amended the part of the statute in question. That part of the Patriot Act is not “still constitutional” because it isn’t even a law anymore. They changed it because it was unconstitutional, and the court vacated and remanded the case as moot. Congress still initially voted for the unconstitutional section, only to revise it when they were shot down.

  38. “The ultimate nightmare, of course, is not a representative for DC but two senators.”

    That is the ultimate nightmare, but not for the racist reasons you suggest. Why the hell should a city and not all that big of a city at that, have two senators?

    I don’t really want it to happen, but if the DC residents want two senators, then they need to rejoin MD.

    The whole DC representation rubbish is just the city politicans trying to redirect the issue away from their failures.

  39. I thought a proposal to have DC rejoin MD was brought up and vetoed by MD.

    Can we force MD to take it?

    And can we just give DC 1 voter in the House, without 2 senators? It’s not like it’s another state or anything.

  40. Insert joke about Democrats doing their best to court the dead vote *HERE*

    *looks out over Chicago…

    ** ponders….

    *** excuses self to bate a little more

  41. “Why the hell should a city and not all that big of a city at that, have two senators?”

    Why the hell should an almost-empty stretch of mountains and tundra – at not even all that “almost” at that – have two senators?

    Because the people in every state in the Union elect two senators, regardless of population, and the people of DC are Americans, entitled to representation in Congress.

  42. Screw ’em. It’s been in the Constitution since the beginning, DC is a pit with some nice restaurants and museums, and I’m sure I could add some more snark if I weren’t expecting a baby to appear at any moment. Which may be why I’m so cranky. Don’t I believe in representation? Maybe they should rezone the whole U.S. into one big District of Columbia and get rid of elections. They’re not worth the trouble, anyway.

    Why doesn’t Kemp run for president?

  43. Considering black people tend to vote for whoever extorts the most money from productive citizens and gives it to them and pushes for descrimination in their favor, I’d say any political party that doesn’t win them over should be proud of itself.

    And you all fucking know its true.

  44. ed?

    Where are you, ed?

  45. So as not to include land occupied by Federal buildings, monuments, and such, why don’t we cede the residential areas of the District of Columbia back to the states from whence they were carved.

    This makes more sense than giving Washingon DC a quasi state-like status.

  46. So as not to include land occupied by Federal buildings, monuments, and such,

    Why bother? If the original intent was to marginalize the influence that local citizens would have over the Federal process, is there any point in making an exclusionary Federal zone once the citizens reside in state territory?

  47. MP,
    Rather than marginalizing the local population’s voting rights, the intent was to insulate the Federal government and its operations from any State oversight.

  48. Joe,
    I do seem to have misread the meaning of your initial post. Still, I think the gay marriage thing is probably not the best example of the phenomenon you are describing.

    Just my experience.

  49. Considering black people tend to …. I’d say any political party that doesn’t win them over should be proud of itself.

    Hell, by that logic any political party that managed to win over a substantial number of votes from any demographic should be ashamed of themselves.

  50. And you all fucking know its true.

    Grand “Kleagle” Chalupa,

    No, my friend, I do not know that is true, and please don’t presume to speak for me. Thanks!

  51. DC wouldn’t even be the smallest state. As of 2006, via Wikipedia:

    Montana – 944,632
    Delaware – 853,476
    South Dakota – 781,919
    Alaska – 670,053
    North Dakota – 635,867
    Vermont – 623,908
    District of Columbia – 581,530
    Wyoming – 515,004

    The system of two senators per state, regardless of population, is screwy. Making DC a state would not make it any screwier.

  52. The system of two senators per state, regardless of population, is screwy.

    When the Senators are elected via popular vote, this is true.

    However, the Senate was not intended to represent the people of a given state, but rather the state government itself. It was the check and balance between the feds and the states; because it gave the states a house of congress that would block legislation that expanded federal power at the expense of the states.

    Going to popular election of Senators destroyed one of the key restrictions on the federal government, and may well be the key event on the road to the Total State.

  53. The reason a state is granted two senators is easy to see; the constitution states they will. The reason that the 23rd most populous city should is why?

    Rank City, State Population
    1 New York City, New York 8,213,839
    2 Los Angeles, California 3,844,829
    3 Chicago, Illinois 2,842,518
    4 Houston, Texas 2,076,189
    5 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1,463,281
    6 Phoenix, Arizona 1,461,575
    7 San Antonio, Texas 1,256,509
    8 San Diego, California 1,255,540
    9 Dallas, Texas 1,213,825
    10 San Jose, California 912,332
    11 Detroit, Michigan 886,671
    12 Indianapolis, Indiana 784,118
    13 Jacksonville, Florida 782,623
    14 San Francisco, California 739,426
    15 Columbus, Ohio 730,657
    16 Austin, Texas 690,252
    17 Memphis, Tennessee 672,277
    18 Baltimore, Maryland 640,064
    19 Fort Worth, Texas 624,067
    20 Charlotte, North Carolina 610,949
    21 El Paso, Texas 598,590
    22 Boston, Massachusetts 596,638
    23 Washington, DC 582,049

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population#Incorporated_places_over_100.2C000_population

  54. “The system of two senators per state, regardless of population, is screwy.”

    No it is not screwy. It is to keep the big urban areas from pissing on the smaller areas. Like the electoral college, while definitely not perfect, it is one of the reasons we don’t have Kansastan, Delawarestan & Oregonovia.

  55. “The reason a state is granted two senators is easy to see; the constitution states they will.”

    The reason there is an amendment process in the Constitution is easy to see; the existing text of the constitution is not, nor was ever perceived to be, a sufficient answer to questions about fairness and justice.

    When answering a question about what should be done, quoting the existing law is of limited use.

  56. “The reason that the 23rd most populous city should is why?”

    Because citizens have the right to have respresentation in the government that taxes, regulates, and prosecutes them, and only the residents of the 23rd largest city do not.

    “No it is not screwy. It is to keep the big urban areas from pissing on the smaller areas.” Big rural areas, like Alaska, Wyoming, and Idaho, pissong off smaller urban areas, like DC, is ok though.

    Requiring regional majorities as well as a national majority is a good idea, as a way of protecing minorities. Sadly, the two-senators-per-state system only manages to protect certain types of minorities, while disempowering others. If the populations of Idaho, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Alaska feel strongly about something, they can get their Senators to band together and exert great clout in the Senate. Unfortunately, a minority faction of Californians can be much larger than the entire combined population of those states, yet exert zero influence in the Senate.

  57. Sadly, the two-senators-per-state system only manages to protect certain types of minorities, while disempowering others.

    Power is a zero-sum game. You can’t empower or protect one group without denying other groups power to an equal degree.

  58. Correct, RC.

    Right now, the rural state coalition I described has a degree of power to pass legislation, and a degree of power to deny the passage of legislation it disapproves of. Meanwhile, the residents of DC have none, and my theoretical California coalition has none.

    Under a fairer system, a minority of 1% or 10% of the population would have the same power to pass legislation, and the same power to deny the passage of legislation, as any other minority of the same size.

    I would reduce the power of the favored minority groups, and increase the power of the marginalized minority groups, to bring them into rough parity.

  59. the residents of DC have none

    Why is not returning to Maryland the better and fairer option for DC residents to gain that reprsentation? You are being conned by the DC city pols.

    RI & my own homestate of Delaware are hardly rural.

  60. DC statehood is just pissing in the wind anyway. The reliablty blue states are not interested in sharing their power either.

  61. “Why is not returning to Maryland the better and fairer option for DC residents to gain that reprsentation?”

    Because Maryland doesn’t want to. And why should they be asked to take the hit, and have their electoral clout in the Senate diminished?

  62. Daze, I think that those states shouldn’t have two Senators each either. So that argument doesn’t work with me.

    The best argument against letting DC have Federal representation is that it gets its living from the Federal state. It is in DC’s interest to drain power and influence from the rest of the nation and to arrogate same to itself. Therefore, it is in the libertarian interest to restrict DC’s representation to the furthest extent possible.

    (That 26% of black-owned businesses are indirect beneficiaries of statism; if you think that they – or “private sector” workers of any other race in this region – are going to be hot for the libertarian-er party then you have been smoking too much dope.)

    BTW, I also support dismantling Maryland. I would award its westernmost edge to West Virginia and its easternpost edge to Delaware. The centre then joins DC.

    Also, direct Federal employees should be kicked off the voter rolls nationwide.

    Who wants to be the first to call me a racist? :^)

  63. For “power and influence” in the preceding rant read “power and wealth”. (Pardon me.)

  64. Also, direct Federal employees should be kicked off the voter rolls nationwide.

    What about state employees?

    And why not include anyone who is a full-time contractor as well? Otherwise, it gets too easy to weasel around the ban.

  65. “The centre then joins DC.’

    No bloody way!!!!!!!

    I live in the middle part (Howard County). breakup MD, ok. But attach us to PA or DE. Might consider West VA, but not until Byrd is gone.

  66. Also, direct Federal employees should be kicked off the voter rolls nationwide.

    What about state employees?

    And why not include anyone who is a full-time contractor as well? Otherwise, it gets too easy to weasel around the ban.

    ’cause then there’d be no-one left to vote.

  67. Now, let me warn all of you. If you make DC a steak, the next thing they’ll want is a baked potato! With sour cream and chives and little tiny bacon bits and pieces of toast! And then they’ll probably want a salad bar!

  68. If Mitt Romney becomes president will he make DC a stake?

  69. DC residents seem to have a legitimate “taxation without representation” gripe, which trumps any racial angle. As I understand, residents of Guam and Puerto Rico, like DC residents, don’t get federal voting representation but unlike DC residents, they don’t pay federal taxes either, unless they work for the federal government.

  70. jayk,

    Honestly, that’s the fair solution. Preserve the District’s status as something separate from the states while freeing non-federal-employee citizens of DC from the federal income tax.

  71. I could see that.

    But other than your dislike for the federal government, on what grounds should the guy who cuts the grass on the National Mall have to pay taxes to the government he can’t vote for, while his neighbor who cuts the grass across the street not have to?

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