Sunday :: Jan 25, 2004

Al Sharpton Has Left Our Building


by pessimist

I have been covering the campaign of the Rev. Al Sharpton for Left Coaster in an effort to keep the issues he promoted in discussion.

No more.

Many of the complaints about Sharpton had to do with his egoism and self-promotion, viewed by many as hypocritical in light of his social activism. I was willing to overlook these charges because I felt that he was being a serious candidate with an agenda that deserved to be heard, especially in light of the resurrection of the Confederacy by the GOP.

But after reading the following story, I refuse to promote someone whose desire to "be somebody important" leads him to deal with the devils themselves. As far as I am concerned, Al Sharpton is out of the race for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004.

Sharpton's Bid Aided by an Unlikely Source [abridged - ed]

The Rev. Al Sharpton has demonstrated his quick wit and deft use of one-liners in his campaign for president. But while the delivery has been all his own, he had help shaping his message from an unlikely source: Roger Stone, a political consultant who worked for Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Mr. Stone, who describes himself as a Republican-libertarian, has had a hand in some of Mr. Sharpton's most effective attacks on Howard Dean, aides to Mr. Sharpton said. By extension, he has played a role in shaping the dynamic of the Democratic primary, political strategists and observers said.

A 1985 cover story in The New Republic magazine described Mr. Stone as "the State-of-the-Art Washington Sleazeball."

Mr. Stone said in a recent telephone interview, "Let's be very clear, if you check the F.E.C. records you will see I am supporting George W. Bush. I am a Reagan Republican."

I have respect for genuine differences of opinion among the candidates, but this action of Sharpton's is completely self-serving. Sharpton's desire for power shows that he is willing to play into the hands of the people he claims to oppose in an effort to "rise to the prize" - even if it means the defeat of the party of which he claims to be a member. To be sure, that defeat is certainly the goal of the Rovian Confederate Fascists and their slathering Greedy Oligarchy Party.

In an effort to maintain the vast power this cabal has attained while the American people slept, the GOP has amply demonstrated that there is no trick too low, no person above being used, no principle that is inviolate. And Rev. Sharpton, blinded by his own ambition, equal in nature and intensity to George Warmonger Bush's desire for the appearance of a legitimate electoral victory, now demonstrates that he is willing to debase himself in his quest, which makes him just like they are.

If there really was a Democratic National Committee (Terry McAuliff, call your office - your resignation letter is awaiting your signature), this should prompt the party to withdraw all support form Al Sharpton, and to begin the ouster of such people as Sharpton and Zell Miller, among too many others.

But for now, back to the immediate scandalous issue:

Mr. Stone did not want to discuss the specifics of his relationship with Mr. Sharpton, but aides of Mr. Sharpton confirmed his involvement in that and other aspects of the campaign.

Mr. Sharpton acknowledged that he frequently spoke with Mr. Stone, but said he consulted with many political strategists. "I talk to him from time to time on his perspective," Mr. Sharpton said in a recent interview. "Does he have a role in this campaign? Do I consider him an adviser? No."

But aides to Mr. Sharpton said Mr. Stone's role is far more central. The aides said that he consults with Mr. Stone about once a week and that Mr. Stone helped give shape and purpose to a campaign that was floundering. Mr. Stone provides ideas and direction, while Charles Halloran, who was an aide to Bill Clinton in his first campaign for president, does the front-line work.

In the attacks on Dr. Dean, for instance, Mr. Stone helped set the tone and direction while Mr. Halloran did the research. Mr. Halloran came up with Dr. Dean's hiring record as governor, for example, aides to Mr. Sharpton said.

They have delighted in skewering Dr. Dean, with Mr. Sharpton generating one of Dr. Dean's lowest moments in a debate when he forced him to admit he had no blacks or Hispanics in his cabinet when he was governor of Vermont.

"I saw Roger's fingerprints all over that," said the developer Donald Trump, who has worked with Mr. Stone over the past two decades. Mr. Trump said he recalled introducing the two men years ago.

By all accounts, Mr. Stone is not being paid. So why he is doing it? "Roger doesn't have to get paid and he doesn't have to do politics," a political operative who has worked with Mr. Stone said. "He has enough money. He is doing this because it's easy and it's sexy."

Tucker Carlson, the conservative co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and another unlikely friend of Mr. Sharpton's, says he thinks it is because he, Mr. Stone and Mr. Sharpton all have "disdain for white liberals." In his first autobiography, Mr. Sharpton expressed delight at holding street protests in New York because: "Their facade is exposed. The great Northeastern liberals aren't so liberal anymore."

Others say the explanation is that Mr. Stone just enjoys the rough-and-tumble of politics. He has been accused more than once of dirty tricks and, some political strategists believe, is enjoying egging on Mr. Sharpton, not necessarily to advance Mr. Stone's political agenda, but to satisfy his appetite for throwing a monkey-wrench.

Mr. Stone acknowledges that when he was a teenager he recruited a mole to infiltrate George S. McGovern's campaign, among other tasks for the Nixon camp. He also worked on campaigns for Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush, tried to rehabilitate Mr. Nixon's reputation just before his death, and went to Florida in 2000 to help Mr. Bush win the state. He also has done a lot of corporate lobbying. "We played hardball in the Nixon days," Mr. Stone said.

Mr. Stone said that by helping Mr. Sharpton attack Dr. Dean, and attack the Democratic Party leadership, he was actually doing the Democrats a favor.

"If his party doesn't produce a nominee and a platform that has appeal among the single most important part of the Democratic base, i.e., black and Latino voters, then they don't have a chance," Mr. Stone said. "I think he is doing his party a service."

Certainly! Roger Stone's just doing this out of the goodness of his heart - to help defeat any potential Democratic candidate who just might have the means to defeat George Warmonger Bush in November. Once again, the GOP is playing the race card, blatantly this time, in an effort to recover the support of those White American voters who aren't so sure anymore that the GOP really represents their best interests.

Shame, Reverend. Fool us once, shame on you. We won't be fooled again. Take your corporate-toady Steppin' Fetchit act to RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie - it's right up his alley - and yours.

pessimist :: 6:32 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!