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Al Sharpton rips Bush (and Dems) a new one

The guy is wacky and over-the-top, but he is saying all the things the establishment Dems should have said in 2004 and should be saying now. He is on target — he has no fear. There are so many quotes to highlight in this article! (Capital Times):

The Rev. Al Sharpton compared George W. Bush’s re-election a few months ago to a shell game in New York’s Times Square where con artists separate tourists from their money.

George Bush and Karl Rove engaged the public in a three-card political monte game last year,” Sharpton told a revved-up crowd in a near-capacity Union Theater Monday night during his Distinguished Lecture Series “sermon.” The Republican shell game included No Child Left Behind, an education program in which the administration “left the funds behind,” Sharpton said. The Bush campaign never addressed the 45 million Americans with no health insurance or the 1.8 million people who were put on the poverty rolls in the past four years, he said.

“You would think that these and other domestic matters would have been debated and discussed. But they played the card game on us,” Sharpton said.

“They had us debate gay marriage. Whatever your opinion of gay marriage is, it has nothing to do with being president of the United States,” he said, to overwhelming applause. In fact, Sharpton, a controversial civil rights activist who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2004 election, received a rare pre-speech standing ovation that turned into a complete ovation by the end of his talk.

The president of the United States has no say at all on the issue of marriage in this country. So how do we have a presidential election on an issue that has nothing to do with the presidency?” The election should have been about whether Bush had done his job right for the past four years, Sharpton said.

Instead, the election swung on two so-called moral issues dealing with sex: gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose. “In their definition of values and in their definition of morals, poverty is not a moral,” Sharpton said to cheers, adding that we live in a country where children go to school for 12 years and get five years’ worth of education, and where senior citizens don’t have enough money to afford prescription drugs.

That’s not immoral to them,” he added.

Even if you want to – and I don’t – act as though their moral position is biblically based, then why are we limiting it to one or two items?” he asked. Sharpton said that on occasion he finds himself debating the Rev. Jerry Falwell. He is always amazed, he said, at how selective the religious right is with the Bible, pushing for a constitutional amendment on marriage.

“Why don’t we have a constitutional amendment on lying, George Bush?” Sharpton said, drawing hoots and hollers. “Why don’t we have a constitutional amendment on adultery? Adultery has split up far more marriages than gay marriages have.”

It was absurd that the Democrats stayed on the defensive and allowed the Bush camp to define the issues in the campaign, Sharpton said.

Bush’s attacks on John Kerry were equally absurd: “Where was he in Vietnam? When first of all, we are in Iraq. Who cares if he was on a Swift boat or slow boat or boat at all?” Sharpton said with a delivery that conjured comedian and fellow Brooklynite Chris Rock and elicited lots of laughter.

“We are engaged in a war right now. We are not voting based on where you were 30 years ago, we are voting based on why are our troops in danger’s way right now!” Sharpton said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding