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Conyers gets a primary challenger

by: Eric B.

Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 10:46:41 AM EST


Over the last couple of years, I've heard stories from people in campaigns about the failing mental faculties of John Conyers. Never met the guy myself, but people who I know say that he is often confused at events as to where he is and what he's up to. I say that while recognizing his long and storied career in the House. Now he's got a prominent challenger.

Washington— The Rev. Horace Sheffield III launched a Democratic primary challenge Thursday against U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit with harsh questioning of the mental capacity of the longest-serving African-American in Congress.

Sheffield, pastor of New Destiny Christian Fellowship Church, said the 84-year-old Conyers is no longer capable of representing the vast needs of the Wayne County district — which includes Detroit and Highland Park as well as suburban communities like Westland, Romulus, Redford Township, Ecorse and Melvindale.

“The congressman is not the person he once was,” Sheffield, 59, told The News.

As it happens to go with all these things, this isn't nearly as explosive as people might think it is because it's something that people have been talking about for at least the last half decade.

Eric B. :: Conyers gets a primary challenger
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Exquisitely bad timing for Rev. Sheffield (0.00 / 0)
He was in court today after being accused of two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse.  His trial date is set for April 30.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

The only thing Detroit needs less... (4.00 / 3)
...than Conyers, is another Sheffield.  The thing Detroit needs less than Conyers, is another self-appointed reverend - another retread cleric - trying to further blur the already blurry line between religion and politics in this country and enrich his little feifdom.

I find it hilarious, too, that old Horace is trying to run as the "change" candidate, and making such explicit agist attacks on Conyers since he's been on the edges of Detroit politics for years.  

Horace has a better chance in this primary than anyone has ever had...and there is still not a chance in hell that he topples Conyers.  To paraphrase the infamous words of a member of another political dynasty who had no business in politics, Conyers "didn't just get in here by just coming."  

Sheffield is trouble with a capital "T".  Always has been.  Detroit may deserve better than what Conyers can give, these days, and they sure as hell deserve better than what Sheffield can give on his best day.  Fortunately, post-Kilpatrick, Detroit has done considerably better picking its leaders, and with the district pushed further west into the suburbs, Sheffield's divisive, tired schtick isn't going to work as nearly well as it once may have.  

Detroit deserves better than Sheffield, and they'll get better than Sheffield.


My thought exactly... (0.00 / 0)
another self-appointed reverend - another retread cleric - trying to further blur the already blurry line between religion and politics in this country and enrich his little feifdom.
There are enough theocrats on the right side of the aisle.

[ Parent ]
Don't get me wrong (0.00 / 0)
There are legitimate liberal, progressive clerics on our side, who interpret their religion for the furtherance of social justice.  And, I think there is definitely a place in our big-tent party for this.  But, I'm less and less comfortable by the year of electing sitting clerics to public office.  

Far too many of them use the title for self-promotion and as a business proposition, and in a city as poor as Detroit "far too many" ends up being "most."  I don't trust a man or woman from the place with a "Rev" by their name, anymore.  I'd almost feel comfortable if party rules required men-and-women of the cloth to step-down from their clerical positions before they declare and file to run for office, but I realize that would be seen as borderline bigotry, even by a lot of Democrats.  

But, if it's my belief that if we don't take the seperation of church and state more seriously - that we can't even suggest that maybe nominating sitting religious leaders isn't a good idea - than what is the point of the concept at all?  I mean, MLK is one of my heroes - and he had the good sense not to run for office even though he could have.


[ Parent ]
How Times Have Changed Indeed.... (4.00 / 3)
I don't personally believe that clergy should be barred from serving in elective office given that we have far too many on the right today who serve in office and quite regularly site their religious beliefs as rationale for their views despite not themselves being clergy-people.

To the contrary, I go back to the Seventies and surface the name of Father Robert Drinan, perhaps the most serious liberal to serve in Congress during that tumultuous decade. Representing suburban Boston in Congress for five terms from 1971-81, the Congressman was pro-choice and led the way in the impeachment efforts against President Nixon. His initial entry into elective politics was on an anti-war platform in an election that saw him defeat a long-time powerful member of the House, Philip Philbin.

In 1980, the sitting Pope demanded that priests exit politics, and Father Drinan regrettably retired at the end of his term. He lived for over 25 more years, most of those serving at Georgetown Law School.  


[ Parent ]
Totally agree (4.00 / 2)
Conyers, mental capacity at this advanced age aside, is a true champion of what we value as liberals. I don't think he should just get to keep his seat because of what he's done throughout history, but to replace him with Horace freakin' Sheffield would be a travesty of epic proportions.  

[ Parent ]
I'm no Sheffield man, mind you (0.00 / 0)
In fact, I'm an atheist and am highly suspicious of religious leaders who seek positions of power.

I also have to note that it's pretty commonly believed by people I've met over the years that to connect with urban voters (i.e. black people who live in cities) you need to win over black religious leaders first and foremost. I have no idea if that's true or if it's a stereotype rooted in something that used to be true or whatever. Over the years, Horace Sheffield's name has surfaced several times as one of those figures in the city of Detroit.

Perhaps some of the people who participate here with more thorough knowledge can elaborate on how much truth there is to this.

Among the Trees


[ Parent ]
I mean (0.00 / 0)
I mean, it certainly doesn't hurt to cultivate the black church in a black community, but it's not necessary, nor do I see how that's either here or there on this particular primary run.  

Cultivating the black church doesn't mean the Democratic Party has to go nominate pastors and reverends.  Were that the case, everyone on city council, Detrot's house and senate delegation, and the mayor would be sitting clergy.  Were that the case, Conyers would have been ousted years ago.  The community doesn't just elect church folks; the city has a long tradition of voting for other secular (or at least not ostentatiously and publically religious) factions in the urban Democratic Party including liberals, progressives, and even socialists (Ken Cockrel Sr, Maryann Mahaffey, etc...).  I guess I would caution against folks generalizing the Detroit electorate, as it's as complicated as (maybe more than) any Democratic electorate in the country.

And, aside from that, anyone who has to show you how close they are to their god(s) and use that as a reason for office should send up a red flag.  Detroit has seen this movie before.  Detroit has been too vicitimized by these "holy" men to keep getting duped.  

My rant against the uncomfortable mixing of church and state aside, this is more about Sheffield, himself, than the academic exercize.  This guy is a self-promoting mess who is great at whoring for attention, but very light on actually solving problems.  As Conyer's own people said, he's a better congressman on his worst day than Sheffield could be on his best.


[ Parent ]
He seems to have (0.00 / 0)
given up any pretense of honest debate.

He seems to have (0.00 / 0)
given up any pretense of honest debate.


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