The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 1/19/9

Not since the late 1980s and early 1990s with the retirements of John Stennis and Jamie Whitten has Mississippi politics been looking at such fundamental change in terms of getting things done on Capitol Hill.

With the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday will come not only the toppling of a historic color barrier for African-American citizens but a toppling of a federal patronage system that has often under-represented or outright excluded African-American Mississippians from consideration for federal jobs.

In the Obama regime, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson has ascended to the political heights once occupied by Stennis and Whitten in terms of having the confidence of the president in terms of patronage. Thompson won that status not by the color of his skin, but by congressional seniority and by getting behind Obama early before the tough Democratic primary between Obama and then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton was even close to being decided.