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Black and White

Nov
7
2003

The very odd fight that the Rev. Al Sharpton and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun launched against Howard Dean should look very familiar to anyone who follows San Francisco politics.
The two Democrats who are vying for the right to be the voice of black Americans within the Democratic party, accused Dean of racism. Why? Because he said Democrats should try to attract guys who drive pick up trucks with Confederate flag stickers. Moseley Braun and Sharpton took that to mean — or said they took that to mean — that Dean wanted to ask racists to join the Democratic party, thereby rolling back civil rights.
What’s weirder. This fight took place on CNN’s Rock the Vote. In Boston. Not exactly an audience that’s gonna get all the semantics involved here. Those of you who don’t understand the racial politics can have a look at Richard Cohen’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post.
These fight is a good example of what’s wrong with Democratic politics — Lefty politics — in general. It’s no fun anymore. And by fun I don’t mean laugh-riot. I mean enjoyable. A spirited debate on race is probably called for within the Democratic Party. But that’s not what this is.
Dean’s rivals were quick to scold him and he — at least for a day — refused to apologize turning the whole thing into the kind of insider event that drives pols crazy, gets the press all hot and bothered on the weekend TV shows and generally makes the rest of the country think anyone involved in politics is out of their goddamn mind.
And sometimes, you know what? They’re right.
Paul Krugman, who has a nice sardonic sense of humor, took everyone to task today in the NYTimes. Dean wasn’t being a racist. Everyone knows it. This was all about baiting the guy whose leading the pack. That everyone who holds a pen or can dial a consultant has weighed in on this, goes to show just how much the press, particularly the East Coast big media types, fail to understand just what Howard Dean is doing.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 11:33 AM | Permalink

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