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THE DEMOCRATS' SAMBO DEBACLE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 4, 2005 10:34 AM

***updated…statement from Project 21***

Will top Democrats apologize for the vicious “Sambo” smear leveled at GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is running for Senate in my home state of Maryland?

The New York Post’s Deborah Orin reports today that Steele is seeking an apology from Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the DSCC, for the racist slam by a liberal blogger who doctored a photo of Steele with minstrel makeup.

The NY Sun reports that the DSCC has belatedly removed a link on its website to the liberal blogger/smear artist:

As of yesterday, a link to Mr. Gilliard’s blog was still featured on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s site. When officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement yesterday calling attention to the site, the link was removed.

“It is despicable that the Democratic Senatorial Committee’s official Web page is linking to such an offensive site,” a spokesman for the NRSC, Dan Ronayne, said. “This is another outrageous affront to Lieutenant Governor Steele by the DSCC.”

Last month, a research director at the DSCC was fired for illegally obtaining Mr. Steele’s credit report. A spokesman for the DSCC, which is headed by Senator Schumer, of New York, did not return a call for comment.

The AP finally covers the Sambo story here.

Some local Democrats are taking steps to distance themselves from the anti-Steele race-baiters (via the Washington Times):

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin yesterday pledged not to use racially tinged attacks in his campaign for U.S. Senate but stopped short of repudiating fellow Maryland Democrats who have said such tactics are acceptable against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele because he is a black conservative Republican.

“I have never in my entire life brought race into what I do in life, and it is not going to come in now, at this stage,” said Mr. Cardin, a 10-term congressman who could face Mr. Steele in the contest to replace retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. “I don’t think race has any place in this campaign.”

Even as Mr. Cardin declined to criticize fellow Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus said Baltimore lawmakers in the General Assembly should “cease and desist” from making racial comments about Mr. Steele — the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland.

“My plan is to meet with them and ask them to stop this at once,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Baltimore Democrat and former Black Caucus chairman.

Rep. Albert R. Wynn, a black Prince George’s County Democrat, admonished Baltimore lawmakers and even described Mr. Steele as “a likable guy.”

“I think the comments and the attacks were outrageous and reprehensible. It does a disservice to the African-American community, and it creates a herd mentality that whatever the Democrats say we should repeat,” Mr. Wynn said.

Good for them. The Washington Times has more in an editorial here.

RNC chair Ken Mehlman comments on the deafening silence from top Dem leaders and also notes the Dems’ dirty credit report trick against Steele.

NRO’s Eric Pfeiffer gives due credit to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine in Virginia for yanking ads from the liberal smear artist’s blog.

***

Related reading:

Deroy Murock: Missing Parks
Robert George: Black to the future?
Juliette Ochieng at Baldilocks has some questions about the Washington Times’ reporting. The Baltimore Sun’s background on Steele’s conflicts with black Democrats is here.
Ed Morrissey:

Kudos to Rep. Wynn for even broaching this subject and using this opportunity to remind the Democrats that this strategy demeans his community and will not be acceptable. Perhaps Rep. Wynn will next direct his ire to the racial attacks coming from people like Jesse Jackson, who accused Samuel Alito of being a segregationist and hijacking Rosa Parks’ memorial services to do so.

True political freedom will come when the various minority groups quit buying the victimization and latent racialism that the Democrats sell and demand solutions to the issues that face their communities, real solutions and not just the panaceas they’ve sold like snake oil for the past two generations. Until the African-American community makes the Democrats work for their vote, however, that day will never come.

From Project 21:

In light of the racial indignities being foisted upon Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, a black Republican who recently announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, members of the black leadership group Project 21 call on all candidates and political parties to shun both the use of such tactics and individuals who employ them.

Steele most recently was portrayed as a white minstrel in blackface on a left-wing blog, but has suffered other racial indignities, such as being pelted with Oreo cookies at the historically-black Morgan State University in Baltimore and being called “Uncle Tom,” among other epithets.

Project 21 members say all electoral candidates should be open to criticism about their records, credentials and policy positions, but candidates should not be subjected to race-based abuse. The way to end this, says Project 21, is for all political parties and candidates to repudiate and pledge to refrain from engaging in any activity that demeans on the basis of race, gender and/or other birth characteristics in favor of a robust debate on real issues affecting the public.

“Slandering Steele is contemptible on its face,” said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. “It proves two things: Liberals fully support flagrant racism for their own purposes and that their insults expose them as representative of the most baneful and cancerous elements of their community. One would wonder about their shame, but it’s assumed that’s th°>Ãwxë e purpose of their Sundays.”

Project 21’s Kevin Martin added: “I was there in 2002 when they threw Oreo cookies at Lieutenant Governor Steele. It happened at a historically black college, and it brought shame upon that institution. It’s horrible that, as our nation buried civil rights icon Rosa Parks, those who lay claim the mantle of civil rights movement are continuing to engage in such despicable acts.”

***

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