When Rep. James Clyburn gave his superdelegate endorsement to Barack Obama at the beginning of June, it gave a mild shock, as Clyburn had been insisting on neutrality, despite his supposedly close friendship with Hillary and Bill Clinton. People assumed that Clyburn wanted to bring an end to a divisive primary, and especially to the ugly racial and gender tension stoked by both candidates. Clyburn only wanted to get the era of Hope and Change and the New Openness started in Washington, we were supposed to believe.
An influential endorsement from Clyburn, a civil rights hero and top member of the House Democratic leadership, would have been welcomed by former President Clinton, who worked closely with him in the 1990s and thought they were close friends.
But the down-South campaigning got a little rough and, as The Ticket noted here, Clyburn didn’t help his old ally. In fact, he started to quietly tilt toward Obama, whom he eventually endorsed after the primary. And Clyburn and the ex-president are not talking much anymore.
Last week, tucked inside a short announcement of White House nominations being sent to the Senate for confirmation was a little-noticed line: “Mignon L. Clyburn, of South Carolina, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission for a term of five years.”
Clyburn is the eldest daughter of James Clyburn and a member of South Carolina’s Public Service Commission.
Recall that Obama ran on the campaign pledge to clean up that one-horse town of Washington DC, including the nepotism and influence peddling that locks out talent and fresh ideas. As Andrew Malcolm notes, the reality is less Utopia and more Chicago Machine. Obama has made the federal government his personal patronage system, and not for the first time, either.