Front page, below the fold, today’s paper.
Question for my liberal friends here in Massachusetts: Back in 2004, when Al the Anti-Semite gave a key note address at the Democrat National Convention, here in Boston, do you remember telling me not to worry, that he would never have any real influence? Because I remember. And when I expressed concerns about Obama and his connections to the antisemitic church in Chicago, how many of you counseled that Obama was not at all involved with that kind of thinking? Pretty much all of you.
WASHINGTON—With his wavy bouffant and medallion necklaces, the Rev. Al Sharpton famously confronted government officials on behalf of black Americans. Now he has found a new role: telling black leaders to quiet their criticisms and give the government a chance.
President Barack Obama has turned to Mr. Sharpton in recent weeks to answer increasingly public criticism in the black community over his economic policy. Some black leaders are charging that the nation’s first African-American president has failed to help black communities hit hard by the downturn, leaving party strategists worried that black Democrats will become dispirited and skip November’s congressional elections.
Mr. Sharpton has emerged as an important part of the White House response. On his national radio program, he is directly rebutting the president’s critics, arguing that Mr. Obama is right to craft policies aimed at lifting all Americans rather than specifically targeting blacks. One recent on-air fight with Tavis Smiley, a prominent talk show host and Obama critic, grew so heated that it has created a small sensation among black leaders.
“The president does not need to get out there and do what we should be doing,” Mr. Sharpton told Mr. Smiley during the testy exchange. He argued that expecting Mr. Obama to become a “black exponent of black views” was “just stupid,” because it would create fodder for conservatives looking to defeat legislation that could ultimately help blacks.
In an interview, Mr. Sharpton added that it was a “double standard” for Mr. Smiley and other critics to expect more from a black president than they would demand of a white Democratic president.
Mr. Sharpton is an unlikely White House partner, given his racially polarizing history and efforts by Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign team to steer clear of the civil-rights leader.
But Mr. Sharpton could help ensure that blacks remain energized for November’s elections—an important task in a year that finds the Democratic base to be less enthusiastic about voting than are Republicans.
Mr. Obama remains immensely popular with African-Americans, about 86% of whom approve of his job performance, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. But party strategists worry that, without Mr. Obama’s name on the ballot, his personal appeal won’t be enough to motivate black voters who may feel that the government is failing them. The new poll shows a steep decline from the near 90% black voter interest in the 2008 campaign, with fewer than half now saying they are very interested in the November elections.
Mr. Sharpton has been to the White House five times since Mr. Obama took office, most recently this month as part of a small group meeting with economics advisor Lawrence Summers. Mr. Sharpton’s radio program, which airs in 27 markets, has become a friendly platform for administration officials to address black listeners, allowing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, for example, to take credit for a recent $1.25 billion settlement with black farmers who had sued the government for discrimination.
Now there are signs that Mr. Sharpton will play a role in this fall’s midterm elections. Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy Kaine conferred with Mr. Sharpton this month on sending him to black churches and neighborhoods in politically important states to register and mobilize black voters.
For the president, the alliance with Mr. Sharpton carries risk. Where Mr. Obama has worked hard to mute race as part of his persona, Mr. Sharpton is famous for inflaming racial sensitivities, as when he represented Tawana Brawley, the black teenager whose 1987 claims of rape by several white men were discredited.
Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, America’s first elected black governor, said that Mr. Obama “went to great lengths to show that he is the president for all people, not just some people.” Outreach to Mr. Sharpton, while shoring up black support, could hurt that image, he said.
“Sharpton brings a profile, whatever you think of it,” said Mr. Wilder. “When he first got known was with the Tawana Brawley incident. A lot of people still remember it, and many of those old enough to remember it still haven’t gotten over it.”
Sharpton is a racist and an antisemite. You are known by the company you keep.
this is the company Obama is keeping
Crown Heights Riot
For more details on this topic, see Crown Heights riot.
The Crown Heights riot began on August 19, 1991, after a car driven by a Jewish man, and part of a procession led by an unmarked police car, went through an intersection and was struck by another vehicle causing it to veer onto the sidewalk where it accidentally struck and killed a seven-year-old Guyanese boy named Gavin Cato and severely injured his cousin Angela. Witnesses could not agree upon the speed and could not agree whether the light was yellow or red. One of the factors that sparked the riot was the arrival of a private ambulance which, on the orders of a police officer worried for the Jewish driver’s safety, removed the uninjured driver from the scene while Cato lay pinned under his car. Cato and his cousin were treated soon after by a city ambulance. Caribbean-American and African-American residents of the neighborhood rioted for four consecutive days fueled by rumors that the private ambulance had refused to treat Cato. During the riot blacks looted stores, beat Jews in the street, and clashed with groups of Jews, hurling rocks and bottles at one another  after Yankel Rosenbaum, a visiting student from Australia, was stabbed and killed by a member of a mob shouting “Kill the Jew.” Sharpton marched through Crown Heights and in front of “770″, shortly after the riot, with about 400 protesters (who chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No justice, no peace!”), in spite of Mayor David Dinkins’s attempts to keep the march from happening.
Freddie’s Fashion Mart
In 1995, a black Pentecostal Church, the United House of Prayer, which owned a retail property on 125th Street, asked Fred Harari, a Jewish tenant who operated Freddie’s Fashion Mart, to evict his longtime subtenant, a black-owned record store called The Record Shack. Sharpton led a protest in Harlem against the planned eviction of The Record Shack. Sharpton told the protesters, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.”
On December 8, 1995, Roland J. Smith Jr., one of the protesters, entered Harari’s store with a gun and flammable liquid, shot several customers and set the store on fire. The gunman fatally shot himself, and seven store employees died of smoke inhalation. Fire Department officials discovered that the store’s sprinkler had been shut down, in violation of the local fire code. Sharpton claimed that the perpetrator was an open critic of himself and his nonviolent tactics. Sharpton later expressed regret for making the racial remark, “white interloper,” and denied responsibility for inflaming or provoking the violence.[
He is a dangerous man. People used to say, when Bush was President, that we are losing our liberties. That didn’t pan out, did it? But with Obama, there is a clear lurching towards fascism, liberal fascism, amply illustrated by his welcoming of Al Sharpton into the inner circle. In my view, Sharpton is more of a problem than Reverend Wright.