This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, November 17, 1993.
A wondrous theater has emerged since Republican flack Ed Rollins met with the press last week. Rollins, you may recall, has said that the New Jersey gubernatorial race had been graced with $500k in - oh how we shall put this - $500k in bribes to black clergymen for them to suppress the votes of their constituency, who supposedly would vote Democratic. When it was sorrowfully drawn to Rollin' attention that what he had done was not, oh, in the spirit of honesty, he hastily denied he had ever said it, a supposition somewhat in doubt since he is on video tape with his lips moving. Rollins' position as prime advisor to the winner and New Jersey’s new governor, Christina Whitman, suggests he knew of what he spoke, but he received support from Governor elect Whitman's brother who was the campaign manager and who said $500k in 'walking around money' was de rigueur for a New Jersey election and that vote suppression had been a goal.
Horrors to Betsy! Republicans trying to buy an election. Black clergymen, maybe, taking money to achieve that end. The fact that black clergymen in New Jersey have barely stopped short of fainting on camera to demonstrate the insult they feel surely casts a shadow over the whole performance. The entire show by white republican powerbrokers and black men of the cloth has managed to create an image not at all far from the first impression. They're all guilty as hell.
Whether it’s against the law is not so easy. To attempt to discourage people from voting by not encouraging them is pretty weak as far as charges go. Its also questionable how powerful black clergymen are with their flock. Their image problem is such that they have to both deny the charge while intimating they were strong enough to be guilty of it had they so chosen. This so they can be perceived as vote deliverers.
That New Jersey politics is not mistaken for the season's virginal snowflakes may not send many of us reaching for the laudenum. What is odd is that the Republicans' brain trust would brag about their games in a Democratic state. The Democrats responded gleefully, they filed and received permission to depose Rollins and other craniums of solid bone who chirped about it to the press. It is a case of the pot calling the kettle African American but highly entertaining none the less. Of course, no one group is less corrupt than the others. It's just hilarious to watch Governor elect (as of now) Whiteman and her cronies backslapping Black clergymen and saying "Hey, we wouldn't dream of trying to bribe such a self-effacing group of moral superiority as you guys, wink, nudge, even though to please our essentially bigoted constituency we leave the impression you'd sell your wives for national air time so you can chant to the camera"
And the clergymen laugh along saying "Of course, we have our differences but we would never accept the bribes even if offered but would have immediately called press and police to report a bribe attempt which we claim happens but, um, well, we were going to as soon as we got to a phone or something and anyway, Oliver North's running for Senator and Milken has his billions yet and Ross Perot has been allowed to both vote and procreate, don't get uppity with us, honkies!" Point taken.
Ah democracy. The theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.