DISRESPECTFUL OR JUST OVERBOOKED?….NAACP President Kweisi Mfume is upset that not all the Democratic presidential candidates showed up at an NAACP forum Monday:

The head of the civil rights group lambasted the no-shows ? Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Reps. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio ? declaring each of them a “persona non grata” in the African American community.

“Your political capital is the equivalent of Confederate dollars,” NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said.

That’s pretty over-the-top rhetoric, and the LA Times story has some interesting background to all this, especially the complaint by the candidates that it’s simply impossible to attend all these events:

Recent forums have been hosted by abortion-rights activists, environmentalists, labor unions and Latino leaders, among other groups. Several of the candidates are set to appear today before a gay rights organization in Washington.

“You cannot go to all these things,” said Steve Elmendorf, chief of staff for Gephardt’s campaign. “You could do two to three a week, every week, and do nothing else.”

OK, I can buy that, but I still have a couple of questions for the no-shows:

  • Maybe you can’t attend them all, but the NAACP? Shouldn’t that be in your top ten somewhere?

  • Surely these events are scheduled months in advance, so how is it possible that these guys had “scheduling conflicts”?

The Times mentions that this is just part of a larger issue that blacks are feeling increasingly taken for granted by Democratic party leaders. That’s a story I’d like to hear more about.

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