RUSH: Here is an interesting story, too. Now, this is in the London Sunday Times and it’s fascinating. On Martin Luther King Day — we’ve already had the story about most college students have no clue what Martin Luther King was really all about, despite Black History Month, despite all the liberals running academe. ?He is a media darling, a paparazzi target and a source of inspiration for millions of Democrats who dream of retaking the White House in 2008. But Senator Barack Obama, the charismatic African-American who is shaking up the presidential primary race, has not impressed some of America?s most powerful black activists. Civil rights leaders who have dominated black politics for much of the past two decades have pointedly failed?? there actually should be a period right there and forget the rest of the sentence, because it’s true. (Laughing.)
?Civil rights leaders who have dominated black politics for much of the past two decades have pointedly failed,? dot-dot-dot, ?to embrace Obama, who is considering a bid to become the first black ?? actually second since Bill Clinton was first. He?s supposed to announce his exploratory committee this week, according to some early reports out there. Anyway, ?At a meeting of activists in New York last week, the Rev Jesse Jackson, the first black candidate to run for president, declined to endorse Obama. ‘Our focus right now is not on who?s running, because there are a number of allies running,’ Jackson said. The Rev Al Sharpton, the fiery New York preacher who joined the Democratic primary race in 2004, said he was considering another presidential run of his own. And Harry Belafonte, the calypso singer who became an influential civil rights activist, said America needed to be ‘careful’ about Obama: ‘We don?t know what he?s truly about.’ The unexpected coolness between the old civil rights guard and the new Democratic hopeful has added an intriguing twist to the budding rivalry between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, who hopes to emulate her husband ?? it’s a good thing they didn’t put a period there. I’d pay to watch that.
?The importance of the black vote ? and the still-potent influence of community leaders such as Jackson and Sharpton ? was underlined last week when both Clinton and Obama appeared at different times in New York at a black business conference organised by Jackson?s Rainbow/Push Coalition. Clinton was applauded at a breakfast meeting for her attacks on President George W Bush?s economic policies of ‘tax breaks for the rich’. She added: ‘It is not rich Americans who have made this country great. It is hard-working Americans who have worked hard to lift themselves and their children up.’? The more Democrats are in power, the harder they have to work to keep what they have, because if Democrats have perfected one thing, folks, it’s this: they have what it takes to take what we’ve got. They have just perfected it.
?Obama?s charm and eloquence have not wooed the old guard. ‘They are basically jealous,’ said a Democratic strategist who has not yet decided which candidate he intends to support. ‘They?ve been toiling in the trenches for decades, and along comes this son of a Kenyan farmer and suddenly he?s measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.’? Yeah, that’s true. It’s fascinating. I think there is a lot of jealousy to this. But, you know, folks, there’s something else about this, too. The black leadership, the story says they failed to embrace Barack Hussein Obama. He’s in good company, actually. The self-centered, ego driven do-nothing’s repudiation about standing black public servants includes Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas, so he’s in good company in that regard. Anyone or anything that threatens to undermine the authority of the Reverend Jackson or Al Sharpton to speak for black America is deemed a threat. So if you’re going to be jealous of a successful black man, then it’s pretty high school on their part, pretty cliquish.