‘It’s biblical’: Clyburn on his decision to ignore Pelosi’s call for ‘new generation’

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., does not appear to be in any hurry to surrender the gains he has made as a leader of the Democratic Party after nearly 30 years in Washington, D.C., despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow octogenarian, saying it’s time for a “new generation” to take the helm.

Appearing on “Face the Nation,” Clyburn said the decision to remain in leadership was “Biblical” to him.

“Democrats are holding leadership elections in the coming week. You’re already in leadership. I know you will be standing for election to a different position,” CBS anchor Margaret Brennan said, before dropping the hammer. “But if it is time for a new generation, as Speaker Pelosi had said, Why do you think it’s necessary for you to stay in power? Do you think the next generation needs you to guide them?

“Well, I have always said there is a healthy respect,” the 82-year-old lawmaker replied. “It’s Biblical with me. We need to have a healthy blend of strength and knowledge. And look at our leadership. The South is left out of it. And what I’m doing is trying to make sure that we do not tilt too far to the East or too far to the West, but maintain what we have here.”

Imagine a white Republican from the south making a similar case.

“There’s no other Southerner among the leadership ranks, and we need the South,” Clyburn continued. “We need these historically black colleges and universities. But for Georgia, where would the Senate be today? And the last time I checked, Georgia is south of South Carolina.”

In a brilliant display of journalism, Brennan followed up on her line of questioning with a firm, “OK. All right.”

Clearly, Clyburn understands that his value to the party rests in the ability to keep black voters on the Democratic plantation — at all costs. But his response also reflects how enticing power can be.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter, with the idea of term limits being top of mind:

Tom Tillison


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