Sunday, November 09, 2003

The real story behind Howard Dean's Confederate Flag Flap.

I've been so busy with Mom stuff and Dean stuff, but I just read a powerful letter written by another mom on the official blog. CommonSenseMom writes about Dean and the Confederate Flag comment lamenting that the Democrats are more willing to sacrifice on their own on the altar of Political Correctness than do what is best for the party and the country. I want to take her analysis one step further, taking my inspiration from Cythnia Tucker's insight into the character of one of the lead actor's in the drama — John Kerry.

Here's what really happened:
For months Howard Dean has been saying: I intend to talk about race during this election in the South, because the Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us, and I'm going to bring us together, because you know what, white folks in the South who drive pick ups with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us and not them because their kids don't have health insurance and their kids need better schools too. This is the quote that started all the trouble. Seems pretty clear that Dean is attacking the insidious use of racism by the GOP. In fact this was a big applause line in Dean’s stump speech, even in front of African American crowds.

All was well until the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, was on the verge of endorsing Dean. The prior week stories ran in the press about Kerry, Gephardt, and Edwards conspiring to stop the endorsement.

Then Jesse Jackson Jr. endorsed Dean. In steps Al Sharpton who has his own history of using race to cause discord and division. Sharpton has long seen himself as the heir to Jesse Jackson Sr. His run for the presidency is supposed to emulate Jackson’s run in 1988, which elevated Jackson to the unofficial but very powerful position of national leader for African Americans. Sharpton also has a long simmering feud with Jackson, probably having something to do with the fact that Jackson isn’t ready to give up his leadership role, and certainly not to Sharpton.

Enter Jesse Jackson Jr. who endorses Dean thus denying to Sharpton the mantle of undisputed leader. The son of the man he is aiming to replace has endorsed his rival, a white man. So Sharpton reverts to form and attacks Dean as having an "anti-black agenda."

In defending himself against this attack and one by Kerry on gun control, Dean cites the line from his speech about pick-ups with Confederate flag. Kerry, Gephardt, and Edwards seize the remark and with feigned PC liberal outrage go for the jugular, hoping that by playing the race card themselves they can stop the ethnically diverse SEIU from endorsing Dean.

Not only does the SEIU endorse Dean, but AFSCME also decides to endorse Dean. Furthermore, a number of prominent African Americans come to Dean’s defense, including Constance Rice and Cythnia Tucker, as well as Paul Krugman, economic columnist at the New York Times.

Who is the real leader here? Howard Dean is the first politician to talk honestly to the American people about how racism is used to keep both blacks and whites in poverty? And what do the egomaniacs competing with him do? They lie, twist and distort this important message that everyone needs to hear.

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