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Big Al Wants His
November 8, 2001 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Big Al Wants His If Bloomberg's win validated the Dems need to kowtow to Sharpton, what do y'all think will be the impact if they let crazy Uncle Al out of the attic? Is this just a NY thing or does it have national implications for the way the party deals with minority leaders?
posted by nobody_knose (27 comments total)

 
For Al Sharpton or those associated with him to level claims of racial divisiveness at anyone are humorously hypocritical to say the least. I certainly don't think that this is anything new for the Democratic party. You may recall Clinton's disavowal of Sister Souljah back in '92 and other Democrats trying to distance themselves from Farrakhan over the years.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:31 AM on November 8, 2001


true, MrBaliHali, but I don't think he has ever been able to completley crash the hopes of a Dem candidate with his hype...until now.

(i think Ruth Messsinger lost in 97 on the basis of her own weakness, not Al's handiwork.)
posted by nobody_knose at 6:41 AM on November 8, 2001


Aside from racist hysteria, what problems to people have with Al Sharpton?
posted by djacobs at 6:47 AM on November 8, 2001


argh! "do" not "to."
posted by djacobs at 6:48 AM on November 8, 2001


While I do not like the man, and do not agree with his politics, I do not see how anyone can take him seriously after the Tawana Brawley incident. Exploitation and grandstanding in a manner and magnitude I foud revolting. Not to mention the fact that all of it turned out to be false!

I'll take Jesse and is illegitimate child over Al and his self-importance any day.
posted by Grok09 at 7:01 AM on November 8, 2001


Aside from racist hysteria, what problems to people have with Al Sharpton?


He comes off as complete buffoon? Myopic, one-note, tacky, shrill, partisan..... someone help me out here...
posted by Karl at 7:04 AM on November 8, 2001


What problems do people have with Al? Well, the Jewish community in NY have a couple of beefs with him. They feel that his inflammatory rhetoric was responsible for inciting a firebombing of a store in Harlem owned by Jewish landlords that resulted in several deaths and there's also the Crown Heights incident where Al falsely claimed that a Jewish-owned ambulance company refused to take a black child for treatment. The child had been struck by a car driven by a Hasidic Jew. Then there's the Tawana Brawley incident where Al claimed that a black girl had been gang-raped by a group of white men. The story eventually turned out to have been fabricated.
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:08 AM on November 8, 2001


He's a lying demagogue, a racist rabble-rouser, and a slanderer. Ferrer's little better.

If there were such a thing as a Democratic party here in New York, they would kick Sharpton out in the cold, but all we seem to have is people of color vs. rich people, and that's an easy bet.

At least our New York rich people are socially liberal. If Bush is a "compassionate conservative", can Bloomberg be a "heartless liberal"?
posted by nicwolff at 7:10 AM on November 8, 2001


Like I said ... aside from racist hysteria. I guess that's not possible for some people.

I understand Sharpton has been involved with some scandals. But I think that because he's a radical-minded African American, people are looking to exaggerate those incidents and are less likely to forget them and move on. Giuliani and Bloomberg have 10 damning scandals for every 1 Sharpton has. Bloomberg is the one in office right now - let's talk about his history of outrageously racist, mysogynistic and homophobic behavior and his mindblowing comments on those matters that are in the public record.

"Ferrer is not much better?" Ferrer is great. I went to an anti-police brutality earlier in the year with 18-20 people present, and Ferrer was there. It was not worth an hour of his time and the trip to South Brooklyn for 18 votes, he was there because he cared. That's far more than I can say for some of the people that unfortunately will be representing me for the next 4 years.
posted by djacobs at 7:29 AM on November 8, 2001


As distasteful as Sharpton is personally, and as much as I disagree with his past actions and the policies he presently advocates, it cannot be denied that he has managed obtain a significant degree of credibility among several of the various communities of African descent in New York, and, after going to jail for the Vieques protestors and supporting Freddy Ferrer, even begun to pick some support and respect in the Latino communities.

As a leader afforded credibility by those who listen to him, Sharpton is entitled to a certain degree of acknowledgment -- in a democracy, the people choose their own leaders, rather than then having their leaders pre-qualified on grounds of character. Demeaning Al Sharpton the way that Green operatives and the press did in the run-up to the Democratic primary run-off does not effectively communicate disdain for Sharpton personally as much as it signals profound disrespect for the people who look to him as a leader.

Ironically, it is Green's leftism that put him in this bind. Since he couldn't materially oppose any of the policies which Sharpton advocates (as those are by and large the same policies which Green has agitated for during the 8 years of the Giuliani administration) he had to resort to ad hominem attacks which rebounded in the worst way. Bloomberg, on the other hand, can simply say, "I plan to continue Giuliani's policies, and hence must disagree with Sharpton." No disrepect, no personal attacks whether or not warranted.

As I have said in another thread, this shows the serious bind that New York Democrats may be in, which may begin to extent to other places which have NYC's demographic composition (California, for example, may strongly resemble NYC's demographics before long.)
posted by MattD at 7:33 AM on November 8, 2001


besides racist hysteria, what problems do people have with Sharpton?

since when is "racist hysteria" something to be casually ignored?
posted by nobody_knose at 7:52 AM on November 8, 2001


To be clear, I'm not claiming that Al Sharpton is guilty of racist hysteria, I'm claiming his critics are.
posted by djacobs at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2001


But I think that because he's a radical-minded African
American, people are looking to exaggerate those incidents


Yes, and on the other side of that coin are people who will forgive his every deed no matter how questionable for the same reason. Equally distasteful.

The bigger issue that I see here is that you've got a political party that's pitting segments of its voter base against one another. How long can that continue?
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2001


Ok, now I get it: If you criticize Sharpton, you're automatically a racist.

Whoa. I think the Dems are in even more trouble than I thought.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:05 AM on November 8, 2001


nobody_knose, you grossly overestimate the impact Sharpton had on this election. While he had some effect, he most certainly did not "completely crash the hopes of a Dem candidate with his hype." Green wasn't liked much to begin with, and he simply self-destructed. If you want to look to anyone outside of the two candidates themselves who had the greatest impact, it was Giuliani; his endorsement of Bloomberg gave 25-27% of voters (based on two polls), who said they wouldn't have considered voting for Bloomberg before the endorsement, reason to reconsider.

And nicwolff, who wrote, "He's a lying demagogue, a racist rabble-rouser, and a slanderer. Ferrer's little better." -- you're my new hero of the moment, because that's exactly right (and what a great many Democrats would say, too, if only they had the b*lls).

djacobs, on the other hand, accuses nicwolff of "racist hysteria" for telling the truth about the Reverend Al. Apparently it's still not possible for some people to accept the idea of individual African Americans being described as "racist" when, in truth, that's exactly what they are. Shame on you.
posted by verdezza at 8:07 AM on November 8, 2001


nicwolff: while I agree with your read of Sharpton, how can you possibly say there is no Democratic party in NYC?

Putting Bloomberg aside (who is arguably not so much a republican as a opportunistic Democrat), they pretty much swept the elections, per usual.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:15 AM on November 8, 2001


Al Sharpton is a divisive buffoon.
I don't think you can extrapolate NYC local politics to have much of a national implication, it's a pretty unique situation.
posted by owillis at 8:43 AM on November 8, 2001


owillis: Yes, but Sharpton clearly has national ambitions and something of a following outside of NYC. The point remains, that on a national level, the Dems have done a much, much better job of keeping their crazy uncles quiet and in the attic than Republicans.

How long before these caged birds are no longer content with just singing?
posted by nobody_knose at 8:52 AM on November 8, 2001


I think that everyone is forgetting for a moment that Bloomberg is a Republican in name only. Just look at who he votes for, I would say the democratic party not dead, just under cover
posted by Grok09 at 9:14 AM on November 8, 2001


Grok09: agreed. does this mean that Dems have to do an end run around folks like Sharpton to get in office then?
posted by nobody_knose at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2001


Demeaning Al Sharpton the way that Green operatives and the press did in the run-up to the Democratic primary run-off does not effectively communicate disdain for Sharpton personally as much as it signals profound disrespect for the people who look to him as a leader.

Good. Anyone who kowtows to Sharpton or takes him seriously is worthy of profound disrespect, because they are a fool following a buffoon. Why should anyone of any party pay any heed to the syncophants of an unworthy "leader?"
posted by Dreama at 10:13 AM on November 8, 2001


Dreama: Ah, but if you dance with the devil, you have to pay a price.

Democrats have long given lip service to folks like Sharpton and his ideas. Partly as a result, they have enjoyed a stranglehold on black voters who have received precious little in return.

Besides, look at how Green and his operatives "confronted" Sharpton - they made anonymous attacks, and then denied they had anything to do with them. They want to enjoy the support of folks like Sharpton, but want to divorce themselves of any public connection.
posted by nobody_knose at 10:47 AM on November 8, 2001


I used to think Sharpton was a useless primping egotist - my opinion formed like most people beginning with the Tawana Brawley story. But increasingly I respect him as someone who has become a tireless voice for the powerless and poor. Like Jesse Jackson, he goes where he and his messages are unwelcome.

I don't agree with Sharpton most of the time, but he stands hard for people that would never get their story told otherwise.
posted by Zombie at 11:33 AM on November 8, 2001


I think that everyone is forgetting for a moment that Bloomberg is a Republican in name only.

Today's NYTimes made that point -- Bloomberg is a lifelong Democrat who only took the Republican ticket so that he could run for mayor.
posted by teradome at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2001


Yeah, I think everybody gets the point that Mike's not a hardcore Republican. That's pretty undisputed ground you're covering there.

The question is, since everyone agrees that NYC is really a one-party town, how will Dems will handle the growing conflict in their own ranks.

In other words, if Bloomberg won because Green tried to distinguish himself from Ferarr by dissing Sharpton, what does that say about Democratic unity?

Half the party loves Sharpton, half hate him, and he's not going away anytime soon. So whaddya do?
posted by nobody_knose at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2001


You link to a Dick Morris article for analysis of DNC politics? Talk about ax-grinding.

Jim Hahn was recently able to win the mayoral race in LA through a coalition of mostly black and white constituents in a city that you would think a shoo-in for his Hispanic opponent. I think moderate-conservative Democratic candidates (the bulk of them nowadays) don't have much to worry about with regards to "the black vote".
posted by owillis at 2:55 PM on November 8, 2001




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