Beinart, Peter
February 2003
New Republic;2/17/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 6, p6
Offers observations on 2004 United States presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton is a world-class liar. In a 1996 review in these pages, it was noted that Sharpton's first autobiography, 'Go and Tell Pharaoh,' included lies about his age, his residence, and even his motivation for writing the book. According to Al Sharpton, the behavior of Al Sharpton is synonymous with the cause of civil rights, and therefore any criticism of Al Sharpton is, by definition, an attack on racial justice. So far, the five legitimate Democratic candidates are helping Sharpton achieve his goal. Sharpton wants legitimacy; the other candidates grant him legitimacy so he can't accuse them of racism. The problem is that this strategy of appeasement--while wise for any given presidential candidate--is devastating for the Democratic Party as a whole. First of all, it means that, by the end of the primaries, the most important black leader in the Democratic Party will be a man with a history of screwing the Democratic Party. Second of all, the most important black leader in the Democratic Party will be a man who knows nothing, and has done nothing, beyond race.


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