The Washington Times - February 24, 2009, 03:19PM

The 10th Amendment of the Constitution is clear: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Yet, South Carolina’s Democrat congressman, Rep. James Clyburn, considers state lawmakers who expressed their intent to invoke their sovereign right by rejecting funds from the recently passed stimulus package as racists.

Referring to the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, Clyburn told CNN: “These four governors represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that [rejection of the stimulus funds] … All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans.”

Once again, Clyburn is shooting his mouth off and crying racism (where none exists) without an iota of proof to back up his claim. For one, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has said his state plans accept the money (he was merely mulling over whether to reject all or parts of it). Though many states (at least eight and possibly a dozen more) with both Democratic and Republican governors are saying ‘no’ to Washington, Clyburn chose to pick on the Republican governors.

How he came up with the racial correlation is anybody’s guess. Oh wait … “black people,” “race” — that’s sure to whip the media in a frenzy and bully these states into backing down.

One state that wasn’t included in Clyburn’s rant — and refuses to be bullied — is Oklahoma, which has already passed a sovereignty measure in the statehouse. The bill’s author, state Sen. Randy Brogdon, told me that states have been “overrun by mandates for years,” and while his state is not without need, he insists it’s not worth accepting “free money” and having a “hand out for money that falls outside the scope of the Constitution.”

He’s simply standing by the conservative notion of states’ rights, he tells me, ensuring Big Brother doesn’t become the arbiter of all. The state senator introduced his resolution weeks ago. The apparently popular bill has made its way to the state Senate, where it’s expected to pass. Brogdon considers Clyburn’s “slap in the face of African-Americans” remark a “slap in the face to common sense.” He retorts that “those who throw out the race card are racists.”

Late Friday, Clyburn’s spokesperson attempted to pull back the congressman’s comments (sort of). She told that Clyburn didn’t mean that he thought those governors were racially motivated in their opposition, but that rejecting the stimulus would hurt black residents (and that’s better?). So now he just cares about black people? Other constituents don’t matter? And why inject race in the first place – either all the (presumably poor) people will suffer, or no one will. And if Clyburn was referring to poor people, he may want to consider that a majority of the country’s poor are young, white women, not blacks.

A new talking point that may work for Clyburn: “Rejection of the stimulus would hurt our residents.” But that doesn’t really sound saucy enough, does it? Of course not, but that was his point, now wasn’t it?

Tara Wall, a deputy editor at The Washington Times