FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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 is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail