FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Howard Dean and Affirmative Action

October was a rough month for Howard Dean. His Democratic challenger Al Sharpton upped his attack on the front-runner for Dean’s anti-affirmative action, pro-death penalty, pro-gun agenda. And the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is fast making their case that Dean broke the law in Vermont, by concealing Government records while in office.

In a statement released this past week Rev. Al Sharpton stated that, “Howard Dean’s opposition to affirmative action, his current support for the death penalty and historic support of the NRA’s agenda, amounts to an anti-black agenda,” he went on to say, “that [Dean’s positions] will not sell in communities of color.”

Sharpton’s criticism came quickly after he was informed Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. had planned to endorse the ex-Vermont Governor. In Sharpton’s retaliation he cited a statement Dean made in 1995 on CNN’s Late Edition, where Dean remarked that, “We ought to look at affirmative action programs based not on race, but on class.” The effect of Sharpton’s words will be put to the test during the Primary elections in South Carolina, where heavily black Democratic districts will take to the polls. Sharpton claims those Primaries will be a turning point in the race for the Presidency.

But before those elections in early February, Judicial Watch may already have burst Dean’s hopes.

In a recent statement released by the organization, Judicial Watch quoted a letter that Vermont State Archivist Greg Sanford sent to the state’s Governor’s Council in 2002. In that note Sanford claimed that “ambition” is not an ample reason to block access to Government documents. He also pointed out that Vermont’s Open Record Laws (V.S.A. § 315) clearly oppose such actions. As the law itself states, “It is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize [the officer’s of the Government] decisions even though such examination may cause inconvenience and embarrassment.”

What is Dean covering up? Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch believes Dean is obviously hiding something. “Dean’s personal political ambitions and apparent obsession with keeping his public record secret are not consistent with Vermont law,” Fitton says “nor are they compatible with principles of transparency and accountability in government.”

Although Judicial Watch is a pronounced conservative organization, they are not partisan in their litigation. Last year the group led the effort in attempting to force the Vice President’s office to release all information they possessed on Cheney’s Energy Task Force.

So how will Sharpton’s attacks and Judicial Watch’s legal actions against Dean play out? If indeed Shapton’s comments do hit home in prominent black communities, Dean’s wide Internet support may seem overtly narrow. The ex-Governor may not be the next George McGovern, as some claim, but the next Eugene McCarthy-as Dean’s campaign fails to bridge the gap between “white” Vermont and the “black” South.

And if Judicial Watch is successful in their attempts to force Vermont to release Dean’s records, journalists and critics may have a field day with the information.

In any case, progressives must question whether supporting an alleged law-breaker at this stage in the Primaries, is a good idea. Supporters of Dean must realize the more their candidate attempts to conceal his past, the harder it’s going to be for him to sell his present. America certainly does not need another administration, where cover-ups and deception are commonplace. Governor Dean better prove he’s a worthy alternative to George W. Bush-or October isn’t going to be the worst month Dean has in his quest for the White House.

JOSH FRANK is a writer and activist living in New York City. He can be reached at: frank_joshua@hotmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 13, 2019
Vijay Prashad
After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
Charles Pierson
How Not to End a Forever War
Kenneth Surin
“We’ll See You on the Barricades”: Bojo Johnson’s Poundshop Churchill Imitation
Nick Alexandrov
Murder Like It’s 1495: U.S.-Backed Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
George Ochenski
Montana’s Radioactive Waste Legacy
Brian Terrell
A Doubtful Proposition: a Reflection on the Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7
Nick Pemberton
Assange, Zuckerberg and Free Speech
James Bovard
The “Officer Friendly” Police Fantasy
Dean Baker
The Logic of Medical Co-Payments
Jeff Mackler
Chicago Teachers Divided Over Strike Settlement
Binoy Kampmark
The ISC Report: Russian Connections in Albion?
Norman Solomon
Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge
Jesse Jackson
Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure
Manuel García, Jr.
Criminalated Warmongers
November 12, 2019
Nino Pagliccia
Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War
Patrick Cockburn
How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq
Jonathan Cook
Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians
Jim Kavanagh
Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage
Susan Babbitt
Fidel, Three Years Later
Dean Baker
A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security is What America Needs
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Trump’s Crime Against Humanity
Victor Grossman
The Wall and General Pyrrhus
Yoko Liriano
De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines
Ana Paula Vargas – Vijay Prashad
Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?
Thomas Knapp
Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights
Wim Laven
Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?
Colin Todhunter
Agrarian Crisis and Malnutrition: GM Agriculture Is Not the Answer
Binoy Kampmark
Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Akio Tanaka
Response to Pete Dolack Articles on WBAI and Pacifica
Nyla Ali Khan
Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque
Yves Engler
Canada Backs Coup Against Bolivia’s President
November 11, 2019
Aaron Goings, Brian Barnes, and Roger Snider
Class War Violence: Centralia 1919
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
“Other Than Honorable?” Veterans With “Bad Paper” Seek Long Overdue Benefits
Peter Linebaugh
The Worm in the Apple
Joseph Natoli
In the Looming Shadow of Civil War
Robert Fisk
How the Syrian Democratic Forces Were Suddenly Transformed into “Kurdish Forces”
Patrick Cockburn
David Cameron and the Decline of British Leadership
Naomi Oreskes
The Greatest Scam in History: How the Energy Companies Took Us All
Fred Gardner
Most Iraq and Afghanistan Vets now Regret the Mission
Howard Lisnoff
The Dubious Case of Washing Machines and Student Performance
Nino Pagliccia
The Secret of Cuba’s Success: International Solidarity
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Mammon: Amazon and the Seattle Council Elections
Kim C. Domenico
To Overthrow Radical Evil, Part II: A Grandmother’s Proposal
Marc Levy
Veterans’ Day: Four Poems
Weekend Edition
November 08, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Real Constitutional Crisis: The Constitution
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail