Congresswoman Corrine Brown deserves our compassion. It’s arguable that some of the shitstorm raining down upon her is of her own making, long coming political fallout from years of scandals, bizarre behavior, questionable ethics and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for power and, possibly, for money. Even so, she deserves compassion and respect befitting the office to which she serves.

It’s easy to laugh when the congresswoman inexplicably gives a shout out to the Florida Gators on the congressional floor, or when she goes ballistic at a buffet and starts screaming about conspiracies, threatening to call police on the media and openly begging people to “send money,” arguably the reason she’s in such a tight spot in the first place, for if wasn’t for her involvement in the One Door for Education sham charity, she probably wouldn’t be so frazzled. Before you give in to the giggles, ask yourself why people find it so easy to laugh at Corrine Brown. Then consider the fact that our culture has a history of demonizing, caricaturizing and mocking African-Americans.

Sure, Brown is brash and, obviously, she’s a character prone to curious behavior and unique fashion choices. But when she says evil forces are conspiring against her, when she says that politics is far from color-blind, she is not wrong.

Think back to last summer when recordings were released of state Rep. Janet Adkins (R-District 11) saying that the key to defeating Brown was cramming her district full of prisons so that the total number of citizens counted for purposes of creating a district likely to elect a minority would effectively be far lower than the actual number of voters. That’s how determined Adkins and her ilk are to get rid of the powerful, enigmatic, African-American congresswoman: They’d rather hijack our democracy than let her keep the seat she has held for more than two decades. They’d rather sacrifice every bit of pork her Washington connections ship on down to her district, which overlaps at least some of the North Florida Republican caucus Adkins spoke to that day, than let her go quietly — well, probably not quietly — into retirement at the end of her career.

Other than the power she wields, Corrine Brown is actually good for Republicans. Not only is she an easy target for them to mock, by creating a district such as hers that is likely to elect a minority, the surrounding districts are drained of Democrats in a way that is sometimes referred to as “bleaching.” Thus her congressional seat makes it more likely that the Ander Crenshaws of the state can handily win elections. It also bears mention that Corrine Brown is well-known for insisting on such an extreme level of control over Democratic candidates anywhere near her district that she is far, far from universally liked by locals in her own party who perceive, rather accurately, that she hurts as least as many Democrats as she helps, maybe more.

So why would any Republican want to take her down? If anyone should want Corrine Brown to lose her seat, it should be the Alvin Browns and the Kimberly Daniels of the region, not the Janet Adkins. And yet both Brown and Daniels stand by her, even now.

Corrine Brown might not be the most admirable member of Congress; she certainly doesn’t take the lead on much legislation. And she may not be cut from the same cloth as Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

What Corrine Brown is, you see, is a liberal black woman who has held a congressional seat for more than two decades in a state with a Republican-controlled legislature that, through tactical and highly effective gerrymandering, has maintained such a stranglehold on politics (in spite of there currently being over 275,000 more registered Democrats in the state) that the embittered voters finally passed an anti-gerrymandering amendment to our state’s constitution in 2010 (which Republicans and, if we’re being honest, Corrine Brown, have been fighting ever since).

She is also one of the first black women in the history of the United States to be elected to Congress. Before she and several others took office in 1993, only seven African-American women had been elected to Congress. Seven. In 204 years.

If she is taken down by this most recent scandal, and it’s starting to seem imminent, she will have earned at least some of the blame for her own ouster.

She still doesn’t deserve the kind of underhanded, nasty, abhorrent attacks on her position that Adkins’ recordings revealed. And if she were white, or male, or a Republican, she probably wouldn’t have been treated in such a vile manner in the first place.

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment

Don't get me wrong. I like Corrine Brown. She plants her feet firmly and says what she thinks. Of course the down side is she wears Bella Abzug style hats, speaks without gathering facts, and at times has been less than careful in hiring staff for her offices. She has weathered all comers in elections from within her party and with out. She even has a pretty fair staff in constituency services and if a Democratic contingent in Congress needs her, they can usually count on her support. The question is to we need a clownish charecter who can fall for questions like "What are your feelings on the latest events in Freedonia?", who uses the floor of Congress for shout outs, who many times has misspoken, or misinterpreted the facts on the floor representing us in Washington? The answer is yes. She obviously speaks on some level that many in her district understand and endorse. As strange as it may seems she gets reelected time after time. Recently I was at JIA standing at the baggage claim area waiting. Also waiting for her bag was the Honorable Corrine Brown. After retiring from 35 years of the media in Jacksonville and experiencing both the kindness and wrath of Ms Brown. I decided to take this opportunity to say hello. There she was sans hat, scarf, and entourage. After a brief where have you been comment we shared some brief noncommittal stories about politics, family, and the future of North Florida. On parting we exchanged business card. Being a journalist in retirement mine simply has my name, address, and phone number. Hers had her congressional seal and on the back a picture of her and the Obamas. It reenforced in my mind the politically astute Brown is above everything else two things. A never vote Republican Democrat and a constant campaigner. Yes I like Corrine Brown. She is fun to watch. More the people who vote for her do it for a reason. Deep down she cares about them. Hey! It's just my opinion. I've been wrong before. Friday, April 1, 2016|Report this


Respect is usually earned. I see you have set a low bar:

Corrine Brown at work:

Used staff she employed as a member of the Legislature to operate a travel agency she ran in the same Springfield building as her legislative office.

Brown delivered speech in her pajamas about how “Tim Tivo” and “Irving Myers” won the national championship.

Brown was fined $5000 for an ethics violation in 1993.

Trial in 1996 for gerrymandering her district out of predominantly black neighborhoods.

Congressional Accountability Project found that Brown had violated the House gift rule in 1998.

Referred to Bush administration as a bunch of white men who are racists. Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, a Mexican American, said that he deeply resented “being called a racist and branded a white man.” Brown replied to Noriega and Cuban-American Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart that “you all look alike to me”.

Regarding the shameful state of the VA and care for the wounded veterans she stated: "I've done my reconnaissance" in Florida and we are doing great, not a single complaint, we have plenty of cemeteries.

House ethics committee criticized Brown for poor judgment in 2000, but ultimately dropped an investigation into gifts to her family from an imprisoned African businessman (see below).

Brown broke ethical rules by her or her family staying at a Miami condominium.

Brown lobbies for early prison release for convicted felon (Bribery) - Daughter receives $50k luxury car from convicted felon shortly thereafter.

I'm tired now so I will close but list goes on and on.....

ONE STEP FORWARD.... I think not !! Tuesday, April 5, 2016|Report this