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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

It's Official: Al Sharpton Files As A Candidate For The Presidency

Jimmy Breslin of Newsday warns the Dems not to underestimate Al:

When crowds find that Sharpton can be exciting, and that he produces laughter with quick observations, he will have his moments as a candidate. He can use the language with more speed and fervor than anybody around....

He also knows more in five minutes about hospitals, schools, ambulance responses, prison sentences for the poor, welfare, food stamps and going into the service to fight wars than the rest of these presidential candidates have learned in their lives.

I don't know how far he goes. But at the start, he will have some of them on the verge of throwing up after appearing with him.

And somebody in that crowd of candidates is going to learn something from being in with Sharpton.

And if someone asks Al about Tawana Brawley, as Tim Russert did last week?

"Yesterday, Sharpton was saying, "The next time anybody wants to know about Tawana Brawley, I'm going to ask them, 'Do you ask Teddy Kennedy about Chappaquiddick? Do you ask Hillary Clinton about her husband? Do you ask Clinton?'"

OK, a slightly different look at the re-invention of Al Sharpton from Clyde Haberman of the Times:

It is impossible to ignore Mr. Sharpton's attempts to recast himself as he steps onto a national stage....

He is also far more outspoken now about the need for many blacks to clean up their own acts. One new theme is a lament that "many of us have allowed decadence to be our culture." Yesterday, he complained to his almost entirely black audience about young blacks who put down scholastic achievement as "acting white."

"Like something's black about flunking," he said. "We've got to correct this misnomer that there's something hip and black about being down, about acting like a thug and acting like a hood, and calling women ho's. There's nothing black about that. We are not the children of hoodlums and thugs and drug dealers and drive-by shooters. We are the children of people who took nothing and made something happen, that took no and turned it into a yes."

Will this tonal change produce converts among those — blacks as well as whites — who see Mr. Sharpton as nothing but a huckster and a racial arsonist, who feel he has not fully atoned for sins like the Tawana Brawley farce or his inflammatory remarks about "white interlopers" in Harlem?

Probably not. But he is counting on people elsewhere in the United States to view him through a different prism than many in New York do.

Well, then, here is a voice from the hinterland - RockyMountainNews.com:

President Al Sharpton? Not likely
January 14, 2003

There have been more promising political resumes: 0-for-3 in his tries for office back home in New York; loser of a $65,000 defamation suit for his advocacy of a bogus rape victim; leader of a protest against a white-owned store where eight people died when it was firebombed; his organization evicted last year for nonpayment of rent; a 66 percent unfavorable rating among his party's leaders....

They do not endorse him.

UPDATE: WTF? Al Sharpton's candidacy is heating up. Catching fire, in fact. Well, it's only funny if no one gets hurt.

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