The Dark Side of the Rev. Jesse Jackson
Jude Wanniski
December 18, 2000


Memo To: Jesse Jackson
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: You’ve Been Bad!

First of all, Rev. Jackson, I want to assure you that the good you have done in your life clearly outweighs your disgraceful behavior over the last several weeks. If you were to find yourself at the pearly gates today, St. Peter would ask you to spend several years in Purgatory, but I think he eventually would let you pass. Seriously, I have been an admirer of yours over the years, most of the time, and strenuously have defended some of your previous antics in the political arena. There is no defense, though, for the things you have said about the Republican Party in general and George W. Bush in particular once you realized you had bet all your chips of Vice President Gore and he lost. If I were President-elect Bush, I would not have taken your phone call, and I would let you stew in your own juice, in the political penalty box, for some significant period of time. Your fellow African-American, Ward Connerly, has it right. The Bush administration should simply ignore you and deal directly with elected representatives of the black community.

In the past, you’ve never allowed the Democratic Party Establishment to make such total use of your political capital in the black community. There have been times, as in 1984, when you tried to lead a breakout from the Democratic plantation. And in 1992, when President Clinton played his own “race card” in denouncing Sister Souljah at your Rainbow event -- and you said he had “a personality defect.” Those few outbursts of independence are long gone, though, and you now apparently are willing to do or say anything to keep your post as straw boss on the plantation. Your partner, Kweisi Mfume of the NAACP, deserves no better treatment than you do and certainly should not be entertained by the First Family. The political ads the NAACP ran (with white cash) showing George W. Bush driving a pickup truck, dragging a black man in chains along a Texas dirt road were disgusting, really evil. You went along with all that slimy race-baiting, Rev. Jackson, you a man of the cloth. Even there, I shrugged at this ultimate in political hardball, figuring you were betting all your chips on Gore and were getting desperate as he trailed in the last-minute polls.

It was after Election Day that you really went nuts, to all appearances trying to start race riots in Miami, ranting and raving about the fascist Nazi Hitler Republicans. Ah well, I said, now he’s been given the assignment of persuading black America that no matter what the rules, the election was being stolen from the man they supported by a 9-to-1 margin. So he’s telling a few little white lies, his nose getting longer. At least he is not under oath. What finally tears it with me, Reverend, is your post-election behavior. You simply cannot believe you have lost every one of the chips you bet and there is nothing left. You reckon the only way you can cover your political nakedness is to prove that Bush really, really lost the election. You must announce on Meet the Press that while the Bush presidency may be legal, it is illegitimate. Tim Russert made you look awfully foolish, pointing out again and again that at every step of the way there were not only loyal Democrats ruling in Bush’s favor, but a black Democratic judge on the Florida Supreme Court. You are intent on pinning your hopes on the Florida newspapers that are planning to hand count the ballots that were not hand counted. Then you can tell the 90% of black America that followed your lead, and Mfume’s, that they really won!!

Sorry, Rev. Jackson. It is my considered opinion that George W. Bush not only won the election in the Electoral College, but that he also won the popular vote. I believe there are at least half a million votes cast for Mr. Gore -- more likely a million -- cast by ghost voters in black precincts. If the Florida newspapers are going to count the chad, they should also ask to examine the books at the polling places, especially the signatures of those who voted -- if there are signatures. Once you start re-counting at this point, you are going to give the new Republican Attorney General reason to check out some of these 100% turnouts for Gore in our urban centers, not only in Florida, but across the nation. I’d suggest you instead start working on your future. Get down on your knees and ask God’s forgiveness for your disgraceful behavior. Maybe He will knock off a few years in Purgatory.