So proclaims WaPo in its page one today

Activist Al Sharpton takes on new role as administration ally

and it’s only fitting for the privatization president to legitimize someone exposed a few years ago as

Sleeping With the GOP

by the incomparable investigative reporter Wayne Barett.

But, back to today’s piece of fluff in Rahm’s paper. We are reminded of the embarrassment he was for the campaign in 2008

Early on, Sharpton chose ally, staying off the campaign trail in 2008, for instance, when Obama sent word that he would be a distraction.

and who can forget? Sharpton himself was giving interviews left and right proclaiming from the rooftops his “secret” endorsement of Obama

The article mentions all the visibility opportunities, including the fashion makeover

That more-polished image — a strategy known around his headquarters here as “from-the-streets-to-the-suites”

and different uses for the man who would say anything if it serves him

More recently, Sharpton has been among the president’s chief defenders against criticism from television host Tavis Smiley that “black folk are catching hell” and that the president should do more to specifically help blacks.

Speaking of the risky part of the tie with Sharpton, only Brawley comes up

“In the minds of some people, [Sharpton] is always going to be a black man wearing a medallion defending Tawana Brawley,” said Andra Gillespie, an Emory University professor who studies politics and race. She was referring to the 1987 case, later dismissed, in which a teenage Brawley accused six white men of raping her.

Oh, but that’s ancient history.

For us, New Yorkers, it’s the man who brought us a GOP Mayor you know, the guy charging the homeless rent today


In his 2002 book, Al on America, Sharpton wrote that he felt the city’s Democratic Party “had to be taught a lesson” in 2001—insisting that Mark Green, who defeated the Sharpton-backed Fernando Ferrer in a bitter runoff, had disrespected him and minorities. Adding that the party “still has to be taught one nationally,” he warned: “A lot of 2004 will be about what happened in New York in 2001. It’s about dignity.” In 2001, Sharpton engaged in a behind-the-scenes dialogue with campaign aides to Republican Mike Bloomberg while publicly disparaging Green.

In 2006. Bush’s operative Roger Stone (Miami Dade mob architect) considered using Sharpton to torpedo Hillary’s run

Stone, whose Miami mob even jostled a visiting Sharpton during the recount, said recently in The American Spectator that if Sharpton were to run “as an independent” in the 2006 Hillary Clinton race, she would be “sunk,” implicitly suggesting that this operation may be a precursor to another Stone-Sharpton mission.

So, in light of these associations, who should be shocked that nowadays he is pushing privatization of public education for Obama with New Gingrich?

“He’s been an extraordinary partner. The fact that we’re working together has been great, but the level of his engagement, it’s been phenomenal,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who attended Sharpton’s conference Thursday and toured schools in five cities last year with Sharpton and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

Plus the White House is desperate enough by the loss of interest among black voters to use Sharpton

Obama’s poll numbers are sky-high with black voters. But the need for an ally such as Sharpton is clear for Democratic Party leaders worried about the steep drop-off in interest in November’s midterm elections among African Americans, said John Kenneth White, a political professor at Catholic University. According to a recent NBC/WSJ poll, deep interest has dropped 33 points among blacks, compared with 19 points among whites.

“Between our connection with black churches and our radio show, we reach a lot of black America every day,” he said. “We’re turning that into a strategy.”

After all, he has enough chutzpa to compare himself to Nelson Mandela

Like Nelson Mandela said, you have to have core principles and everything else is a tactic.”

WaPo reports this straight, no editorializing. My jaw being on the floor, I’ll have to do the same.