Maybe these Americans know that Sharpton has refused to say Saddam Hussein is worse than George Bush. Or that Sharpton has hailed Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a great leader. Maybe they recall the trumped-up rape trial that Sharpton participated in and milked publicity from -- before the whole thing turned out to be a complete fabrication.
The truth is that the brightest minds in the Democratic Party hope this bleating press hound will just go away. They recognize that any success for Al Sharpton in next year's primary season might force party leaders to allow him to speak at next year's national party convention. If that happens, what little chance the Democrats might have to defeat President Bush will melt away as fast as it takes the convention's TV viewers to reach for their remotes and change the channel.
Perhaps more disturbing is the realization that Sharpton's rhetorical sword may simply be the blunt-edged version of the blades being wielded by like-minded but more circumspect leadership in the Democratic Party. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle recently traipsed onto the shaky ground of attacking the president in time of war. His remarks drew censure from all corners of the nation, and Daschle decided to cool the opposition opportunism at least until the bullets stop flying.
But not Big Al. Instead of holding his piece until there is lasting peace, he proved almost as contemptuous of his country's government as our battlefield enemies are. An act of courage by Sharpton? More like an act of cynical, tasteless showmanship. Experience has shown that where two or more cameras are gathered, there too shall be Al.
Here's an idea: Now that Americans have dismissed Al Sharpton as a serious political voice, much less a presidential candidate, let us in the media stop rebuilding his speaking soapbox by means of free publicity for his bogus candidacy.
Al Sharpton? Forget him. In fact, most already have.
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