And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
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Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is leading the filibuster against the nomination of Miguel Estrada, seems to have completely reversed himself on the legitimacy of such tactics. Five years ago, when the Senate was debating President Clinton's nomination of a Hispanic Judge, Sonia Sotomayor, to the federal appellate court in New York, Leahy accused Republicans of "cowardly tactics by stalling her nomination." In a Senate floor speech on June 18, 1998, Leahy said, "I have stated over and over again on this floor...that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported." Judge Sotomayor was confirmed. Estrada, also a Hispanic, remains blocked.
Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, is warning Democrats to be careful how they treat the candidacy of the Rev. Al Sharpton. Brazile, who is African-American, told the Washington Times, "The GOP is making inroads in the black vote. It's trending away. Groups of [minority] votes are hearing the Republican message." Her advice to Democrats on Sharpton, who has been taking his lumps in liberal political journals lately, was "debate him, don't disown him." She compared his candidacy to the campaigns of Jesse Jackson who she said energized black voters and helped register them as Democrats.
A Sign of the Old Times
The Dallas County commissioners have a heated controversy on their hands over what to do about a faded "whites only" sign over a water fountain in the county office building. Through the years, officials have tried to buff the words away, but they could still be seen faintly. So when people protested about that, they covered it over with a metal plate. That was not enough. Last night at the county commission meeting, speakers demanded more. Ofori Benson, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said, "We are telling you that covering it is not sufficient. We are still bothered as long as we know what lies behind the metal plate."