Monday, July 07, 2003
I would like to start with a paraphrase of Bob Schieffer's concluding sentence from yesterday's broadcast of Face the Nation by saying that when I think about our Prince George it is always the 4th of July to me.
I feel this way because dear Schieffer friend Herbert Walker's God-smacked son embodies from the tips of his French cuffs to the near pristine soles of his hand-cobbled boots the very essence of the corrupted class of modern white collar professionals who have brought American Democracy to this perilous brink.
Interestingly and without intention Schieffer's aging program amply displayed the present generational unsuitability of the cuff-linked warring class to effectively rule in the elevated technical and multi-ethnic environments that will continue to multiply in complexity as we move into the depths of this new century.
But, that, of course, has been and will be the very bone of contention between the people yearning to be free and the effete class who would harness them as displayed in microcosm during the Sunday broadcast.
The guest, or should I say intended victim, was a rested, composed and stylin' Reverend Al Sharpton who, without breaking a sweat, neatly defused the buzz bombs tossed by Schieffer and the Washington Post's more rustically attired Dan Balz in rounds of aggressive interrogation that evoked the June 22nd Howard Dean/Tim Russert confrontation.
Questioning began, after some insufferable patronizing, with Iraq and intimations of the Rovian Catch-22 of warfare conferred presidential heft:
Schieffer: It's well known that you were very much against the United States going into Iraq...what would you do?
Sharpton: First of all, I would try and heal the rift that we have caused with allies...I would aggressively move toward trying to find common ground...I think that the rhetoric we've heard from the president this week is the exact opposite of what we need. In fact, I will be calling on the president today to apologize to the American servicemen and their families for what he said.
Schieffer: Well, despite what you say, the president and American forces did bring down Saddam Hussein. Do you not think that the world is not better off now that Saddam Hussein is not there? Why should the president apologize for that?
Sharpton: No, I said the president should apologize for telling people, `Bring it on,' to American troops. I think that kind of rhetoric speaks to street brawling rather than international relations.
Schieffer: Do you think that it's going to take more American troops in Iraq to finally bring it under control...because the one thing we do know is that at this point they have not calmed down the situation.
Sharpton: I think what you need is to have a strategy...I don't think just continuing to pour troops, particularly with inflammatory and provocative language, is going to lessen American casualties.
A marvelously cleansing moment of unintended televised frankness then captured an unaware Bob Schieffer in conspiratorial glee with co-questioner Dan Balz as Sharpton continued speaking. Though Schieffer's microphone was not on, his demeanor to that point and the questions that followed suggest not only the media motives we have witnessed elsewhere but an added juvenile nit-pickery reserved for the likes of Dean and Kucinich that speaks to a real Establishment fear of the revived Left's resonance-laden eloquence.
This morning's firework gotcha's, though lit by Schieffer and Balz, were grabbed from the air and held, by Sharpton, to the soft pink bottoms of the President's dude feet.
After Dan Balz's questions about Liberia and non-UN sanctioned US unilateralism, Schieffer followed with an example of the popular slightly-misconstrued-fact-gambit for what he must have thought was a potential "kill":
Schieffer: I read your book this weekend...you gave a list of the people you consider good leaders...the person you seem to have the most praise for is Fidel Castro.
Sharpton: Well, Bob, I think you should re-read it. I said that the most fascinating and brilliant person I ever met was Reverend Jesse Jackson. So you need to reread the book.
Schieffer: All right.
Sharpton: I was talking about leadership attributes, because I was saying, particularly to young people, qualities that you look for in people even if you disagree with them.
Schieffer: Well, Reverend Sharpton, if I may, you describe Castro as `awesome,'
Sharpton: When I talk about qualities of a personality, it does not at all support, condone or endorse their policies...to observe someone's awesome personality doesn't mean they're using it in a positive way and that's what that chapter was about. But I'm glad you read the book.
Schieffer: So you don't admire him putting his political opponents in jail? You don't consider that awesome?
Sharpton: I don't admire him -- I don't admire him putting his political opponents in jail anymore than I admire the Bush administration for locking us up for protesting in Vieques. I think people should have the right... to protest in Cuba and in the United States.
Schieffer: Now, Mr. Sharpton, you're not going to sit here and compare President Bush to Fidel Castro, are you?
Sharpton: Absolutely not...But in my judgment, we're getting dangerously close to condoning some of the things that are un-American, and that we criticize, and that we...and -- I think justifiably repudiate in other parts of the world.
The smokin' Reverend then promptly dispensed with an array of other potential "kill" questions dealing with President Clinton, the DLC, Rove's tax-raising gambit, slave reparations and Schieffer's absurd objections to the Reverend's qualification for the Presidency:
Sharpton: The Constitution says you have to be 25, a U.S. citizen of voting age. I mean, I don't think you can mess with the qualifications. We're all qualified and any one of us would be better than the president that we have.
Reverend Sharpton, I have to admit, has surprised me more than any other Democratic candidate. He is slightly mistaken about the age of presidential eligibility for the US Constitution says "neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five..." but to overemphasize this kind of easily researched slip would be to dabble in the muddy waters of punditry. Sharpton is a summer storm. Imposing and highly charged, the tempestuous Reverend gathers force in moments of calm and then punctuates with the rolling thunder of an eloquence not often heard on the modern American political stage. Best of all, I can actually smell the Establishment's fear of a potential Sharpton Presidency. This blogger is very pleased that Reverend Sharpton is a Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America.
You go, Al!
Photo: Corkery News