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Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2003/ 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Larry Elder

Larry Elder
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The Dems' moral compass is . Rev. Al | Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton, at the recent Democratic debate in Boston, took the front-runner, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, to task.

Dean's sin? Dean, in an interview with the Des Moines (Iowa) Register on Saturday, Nov. 1, stated, "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks. We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats."

Sharpton accused Dean of "stereotyping" Southern whites. After all, argued Sharpton, most Southern whites avoid use of the Confederate flag. Sharpton also accused Dean of "arrogance," asserting that Dean's refusal to apologize demonstrates an unwillingness to admit a wrong.

Dean further infuriated Sharpton when Dean attempted to defend himself using the words of Martin Luther King Jr. After accusing Dean of misinterpreting King's words, the always-offended Sharpton thundered that he himself came "out of the King movement." (Note: An assassin's bullet struck down Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, when Sharpton was 14.)

On the issue of the Confederate flag, the Democrats' outrage seems a tad dated. For Dean used the Confederate flag reference numerous times during his campaign. As pointed out, back in February, at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, Dean said that Southerners with Confederate flag decals in their pickup trucks represented lucrative prospects for the party "because their kids don't have health insurance, either, and their kids need better schools, too." In April, Dean, in Chicago, repeated, "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals ought to be voting with us because their kids don't have health insurance and need better schools." In July, in California, Dean said, "I want to go to the South, and I'm going to say to white guys that drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back of their car, 'We want your vote, too, because your kids don't have health insurance either.'"

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But now comes the outrage. Dean, of course, now wears a target on his back as the current front-runner. But blame the real reason for the supposed outrage on the Party's need for the monolithic black vote — the vote that was at least 90 percent for Al Gore in 2000. The strategy is clear. Make blacks believe the country remains ever racist, and that the Democratic Party stands as a last bulwark between freedom and the very re-enactment of slavery.

Mississippians, in 2001, went to the polls to determine whether they wished to retain the Confederate emblem of 13 white stars on a blue "X" on their state flag. By nearly 2-to-1, Mississippi voters decided to keep their 1894 flag, with 30 percent of black voters agreeing. Sharpton called the Confederate flag "America's swastika." Does he believe that, in a referendum, 30 percent of Jews would support the Nazi symbol?

As for Sharpton, who appointed this race-baiter as the moral arbiter of the Democratic Party? Sharpton once denounced Jews as "diamond merchants," and called whites who wished to move into Harlem "interlopers." For those remarks, Sharpton apologized. But he never got around to apologizing for falsely accusing a former New York district attorney of raping Tawana Brawley in a case that a New York grand jury called fraudulent.

Even before Sharpton announced his candidacy for president, he wrote in his book, "Al on America," that "presidential politics has become . . . an exclusive club for white males, of a certain income, of a certain age." He said he would bring diversity of views and color to the blandly uniform line-up of Democratic candidates. "Without me in the race," he said, "it will be part of the exclusive club picture again." This, of course, implicitly suggests that only someone "of color" could represent the interests of those "of color." So, whites presumably can only represent the interests of whites, women the interests of women, left-handed people the interests of left-handers, etc.

Most blacks do quite well in America, with black income and business creation outpacing that of whites. The problems facing the black underclass — crime, drugs, out-of-wedlock births, under-performing schools — seem to go unnoticed by the Democratic candidates whose party policies — monolithic public schools, refusal to privatize Social Security, government welfare — only make things worse.

Democrats refuse to endorse school vouchers, lest they lose support and contributions from the teachers' unions. They can't call for a larger, more vigorous police force because this militates against whipping out the ever-useful police brutality card. Chastising those who bring children into the world without the ability to feed, house and clothe them subjects one to a charge of blaming the victim.

So what to do? Why, when all else fails, haul out Al Sharpton and let him take the Confederate flag and whip Dean with it. Former First Lady Barbara Bush nailed it when she called the presidential candidates "a sorry bunch" — with Sharpton at the helm.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate