Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Sleeping With the GOP

Recently the Village Voice ran a column detailing their investigation of how the campaign of Al Sharpton is being financed by noted conservative gadfly, Robert Stone. As the Voice puts it:
Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.
Now, that is one sweeping statement. There must be some truth to it, though. These guys do seem to deserve each other. Yet, even though Stone and Sharpton come from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, they seem to have a lot in common. As Stone has said, he and Sharpton share "a mutual obsession: We both hate the Democratic Party." And, as The Voice points out:
Sharpton and Stone are, in a sense, brothers under the skin, outlandish personalities too large to be bound by the constraints that govern the rest of us. Stone was the registered agent in America for Argentina's intelligence agency, sucking up spy novels; Sharpton was a confidential informant for the FBI, wiring up on black leaders for the feds. Stone is a fashion impersonator, dressing like a hip-hop dandy; Sharpton, having shed his gold medallion and jogger suits, now looks like a smooth banker. Stone was involved in Watergate at the age of 19; Sharpton was a boy-wonder preacher. Stone's mentor from the days of his youth was Roy Cohn; Sharpton's was James Brown. Sharpton is a minister without a church; Stone is almost as rootless, having left the powerhouse Washington firm he helped form years ago. Each reinvents himself daily, if not hourly, as if nothing in their past matters.
But one must remember that this is a hit piece by The Voice. They will do anything to undermine any opposition to the democrat nominee. The Tampa Tribune has a more reasonable take on the Sharpton campaign, and Stone's involvement with it.

Looking past the obvious take, that Sharpton has sold out to Stone for the cash, there is something laudable about what Sharpton is doing. The democrats have been running roughshod over the blacks for a long time. African-American vote totals over 90% garner them no respect, or substantial appointments, from the democrats who win their contests. At least Sharpton will make them promise him something before he will go away. But, what if they won't bow down to the Reverend Al, the way they assuaged Jesse Jackson's ego?

There is a rumor that Stone will back Sharpton in an independent run in 2008, against Hillary. Now, isn't that a deal breaker? I'll bet it's almost enough to get Hillary rooting for Kerry in 2004. Almost.