Barack Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe recently circulated the following complaint:
In an increasingly desperate effort to slow Senator Clinton’s slide, the focus of the Clinton campaign has moved from Barack Obama’s kindergarten years to his teenage years.
On Wednesday, their top advisor in New Hampshire tried to recycle old news by smearing Barack for experimenting with drugs as a young man — something Barack candidly wrote about years ago in his memoir and has since talked about with young people in an effort to teach them the lessons he learned from his mistakes.
The following picture, however, says more about Mr. Obama’s character than anything the Clinton campaign can possibly dig up or even fabricate out of whole cloth.
This picture was taken this April at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the same organization that shouted racial and anti-Semitic epithets at the Jewish owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem in 1995. The National Action Network quotes Mr. Obama as saying, “Reverend Sharpton is a voice for the voiceless, and a voice for the dispossessed. What National Action Network has done is so important to change America, and it must be changed from the bottom up.”
Sixty or seventy years ago, it was socially and politically acceptable for Robert Byrd to correspond with the notorious segregationist Theodore Bilbo while promoting the Ku Klux Klan. As recently as 1963, George Wallace didn’t worry about losing many votes for vowing to “stand in the schoolhouse door” to exclude Black children. Those days are long gone. By appearing with, praising, and therefore enabling a prominent hate monger, Barack Obama has flunked a basic entry-level test of personal character: no mainstream candidate promotes racism or anti-Semitism in 21st century America. The Clinton campaign and other detractors can say all they want about Obama’s lack of experience, but a candidate’s experience or lack thereof becomes irrelevant when the candidate disqualifies himself before the starting gate even opens.
It is irrelevant that Sharpton was probably not spewing hatred of white people, Jews, or others during his actual appearance with Obama. The appearance of a credible Presidential candidate with this hate monger sanitizes and enables him. It gives the hate monger and his organization credibility, and therefore empowers them instead of relegating them to the lunatic fringe with the other bigots. When the Ku Klux Klan tried to endorse Ronald Reagan, Reagan rejected the endorsement on the spot. Reagan, unlike Obama, did not need that kind of vote badly enough to associate his name with a hate group. Reagan, again unlike Obama, most certainly did not endorse a Klan leader while praising what the Klan has done to change America. We recall Aesop’s fable about birds of a feather flocking together, and Obama’s decision to preen Sharpton’s feathers leads to some very unsavory conclusions about Obama himself.
Al Sharpton’s History, For the Record
Mr. Obama is easily old enough to remember what Al Sharpton has done, but here it is for the record. (We lived in Wappingers Falls in 1988, so we know all about Al Sharpton’s list of white people whom he said raped Tawana Brawley.)
Fred Siegel’s “Democrats Embrace ‘Impresario of Hatred'” at http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110004192
It would have taken no great effort for the reporters covering the Apollo debate to have walked across 125th Street from the theater to visit Freddy’s Fashion Mart, where in 1995 eight people died in a murderous rampage inspired by Mr. Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton is best-known for the Tawana Brawley hoax, in which he insisted that a 15-year-old black girl had been abducted and raped by a band of white men practicing Irish Republican Army rituals. In fact she had made up the story to protect herself from her violent stepfather. But at Freddy’s, Mr. Sharpton was even more malevolent. He turned a landlord-tenant dispute between the Jewish owner of Freddy’s and a black subtenant into a theater of hatred. Picketers from Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network, sometimes joined by “the Rev.” himself, marched daily outside the store, screaming about “bloodsucking Jews” and “Jew bastards” and threatening to burn the building down. After weeks of increasingly violent rhetoric, one of the protesters, Roland Smith, took Mr. Sharpton’s words about ousting the “white interloper” to heart. He ran into the store shouting, “It’s on!” He shot and wounded three whites and a Pakistani, whom he apparently mistook for a Jew. Then he set the fire, which killed five Hispanics, one Guyanese and one African-American—a security guard whom protesters had taunted as a “cracker lover.” Smith then fatally shot himself.
The National Action Network, the very same organization at which Mr. Obama made his appearance, screamed about “bloodsucking Jews” and “Jew bastards” while making an arson threat that was later put into effect with the loss of seven innocent lives. Al Sharpton, with whom Mr. Obama posed arm in arm, personally added “white interloper” for good measure. There is no identifiable difference between the NAN’s conduct outside Freddy’s Fashion Mart and that of Ku Klux Klansmen who once intimidated Black people who moved into the “wrong” neighborhoods.
“Power Dem” by Jay Nordlinger (http://www.nationalreview.com/20Mar00/nordlinger032000.html) adds,
August of 1991 saw “Crown Heights,” the period of madness that began when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew careened out of control, killing a seven-year-old black child, Gavin Cato. Riots broke out. A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured. The city was on the verge of breaking apart. And here is what Al Sharpton had to say, in one of the most vile orations of his career, noxious with slanders familiar and novel:
The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident. . . . What type of city do we have that would allow politics to rise above the blood of innocent babies? . . . Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights.
…Sharpton’s rhetoric could also be rather less high-flown. “If the Jews want to get it on,” he said, “tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
…But the torching, so to speak, continued. In 1995-four years into the putative New Sharpton-there was another, fatal case in which Sharpton had a guilty hand: Freddy’s Fashion Mart. In Harlem, a white store owner — no, worse: a Jewish one — was accused of driving a black store owner out of business. At one of the many rallies meant to scare the Jewish owner away, Sharpton charged that “there is a systemic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear . . . that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Sharpton’s colleague, Morris Powell, said of the Jewish owner—Sharpton’s “white interloper”— “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers. Reverend Sharpton is on it.”
Al Sharpton’s Blood Libel of Jews
Jeff Jacoby’s “Al Sharpton: the Democrats’ David Duke” (http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2411) adds,
1991: A Hasidic Jewish driver in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section accidentally kills Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black child, and antisemitic riots erupt. Sharpton races to pour gasoline on the fire. At Gavin’s funeral he rails against the “diamond merchants” — code for Jews — with “the blood of innocent babies” on their hands. He mobilizes hundreds of demonstrators to march through the Jewish neighborhood, chanting, “No justice, no peace.” A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, is surrounded by a mob shouting “Kill the Jews!” and stabbed to death.
The image of Jews “with the blood of innocent babies on their hands” is an ancient slur known as a blood libel. During medieval times, whenever anti-Semites wanted to incite a violent pogrom against Jews, they would claim that Jews used the blood of Christian babies to make bread or matzos. Noting that Sharpton’s mob yelled “Kill the Jews!” and then did so after Sharpton’s remark about “diamond merchants with the blood of innocent babies on their hands,” little has changed. A professional hate monger spewed an anti-Semitic blood libel, and a violent pogrom ensued.
Obama’s appearance with Sharpton is not only a deliberate and willful insult to all of us “crackers” and “bloodsucking Jews” (as Sharpton & Co. call us), it also shows total contempt for African-Americans. Racists and anti-Semites appeal universally to the absolute dregs of the societies they claim to represent. No decent white person would want to live next to the kind of Caucasian whose vote someone like David Duke (KKK) or Tom Metzger (White Aryan Resistance) can deliver, and the class of African-American whose vote Sharpton can deliver is self-evident.
Res ipsa loquitur means, “The thing speaks for itself.” If Mr. Obama has any conceivable excuse or explanation for the picture and the statement on the first page, he and his staff are welcome to post it for the benefit of our readers. We do not expect any response, however, because we cannot conceive of any excuse or explanation for enabling racial and anti-Semitic hatred as part of a mainstream candidate’s political campaign. An unconditional apology to the entire country might, however, be a small start toward restoring Mr. Obama’s credibility as a member of mainstream American society, let alone as a candidate for any office of public trust or responsibility.