Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, October 29, 2003  

Huge news for the Dean campaign: Jesse Jackson Jr. announced yesterday he was behind the good doctor. This is huge news because the one rap Dean hasn't been able to shake is that his support is as white as the Vermont snows. It was such a boost that the Reverend responded by calling him a racist. Sharpton has always pinned his hopes on the black vote, and knows this is a critical blow.

I've always been appalled when people played the race card on Dean--infering from his policies, not his words, that he was implicitly racist. Vermont's not a particularly Jewish state, either, but does that make him an anti-semite (don't answer that, Joe)? Here's what Sharpton charged:

"Howard Dean's opposition to affirmative action, his current support for the death penalty and historic support of the NRA's agenda amounts to an anti-black agenda that will not sell in communities of color in this country."

Dean wants to be a national candidate and to rise above the usual game of divisive politics. Sharpton's antics aside, this is a huge step toward that end. If he can build support among black voters, he might even be able to make gains in South Carolina. A second or third place showing after wins in New Hampshire and Iowa would be regarded as a win for Dean. Finishing above candidates who must win South Carolina to gain traction--Joe, Edwards, Clark--would effectively knock them out of the campaign.

(The one danger with this is that other black leaders will join Sharpton and come out against Dean, turning his candidacy into a referendum on race. That would be devastating.)

posted by Jeff | 8:06 AM |
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