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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Andrew Sullivan Discovers Al Sharpton

I hate to describe his column as "insight-free", so let's say that if you don't like surprises, you will like this. And in fairness, it was written for the Sunday Times in London, so perhaps it advances the discussion over there.

Now, for comparison, I had a brilliant post worked up on Al Sharpton. It was on the old hard drive right next to my laymen's proof that a^n + b^n can never equal c^n when all the variables are integers and "n" exceeds two. Regrettably, both are now gone. Blame Bill Gates!

So, soundbite - if the Dems deal with Sharpton by attacking and marginalizing him, he will remember in November, and to repay he will stay away. Just let him be one more candidate, encourage him to run as a mainstream anti-war lefty, and things will be fine. Well, if not "fine", then tolerable. Force Al to gain relevance by appealing to the radical elements of his base, and Al will raise issues that the Democrats find hopelessly troublesome and divisive.

Do we really want to hear each Democratic candidate take a position on slavery reparations before a national television audience? Actually, I do, but only because not since "Your Show of Shows" will we have seen so much live comedy and tap-dancing on TV. Also, because I have an evil heart.

How to deal with Al? Co-opt by cooperation. Might work. Marginalize Louis Farrakhan.

UPDATE: And TNR went to a pay per view format! Set the truth free, baby!

Anyway, my link to their piece deploring the Lieberman-Farrakhan meeting is gone.

UPDATE 2: Eric the Red steers us to this WaPo guest piece on Al and Carol Moseley-Braun. I hope the author, Jonetta Rose Barras, is wearing an asbestos suit, because this paragraph is too hot to touch:

What should trouble African Americans, who are desperate to get a stronger foothold in national politics and have been fielding presidential candidates since the 1970s -- including former U.S. representative Shirley Chisholm and the omnipresent Jesse Jackson -- isn't the name-recognition-money woes but rather the quality of candidates. Brazile, who has dedicated herself to reviving the party's traditional base -- women, blacks, left-wing liberals and gays -- may want to fling open the doors for all sorts of riffraff, but blacks who are serious about winning may want to be a bit more deliberative.

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