Larry Elder

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.'"

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.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit