A few days after being declared “persona non grata” by the NAACP, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman suggested in a speech to the group that its leader, Kweisi Mfume, would make a good Supreme Court justice, the New Republic reported.
Mfume, however, has never been to law school.
Sen. Joe Lieberman
Lieberman had upset the civil-rights leader by skipping a candidate forum at the NAACP national convention Monday, the magazine reported.
The Connecticut senator called Mfume the next day to apologize and agreed to come to Miami to speak to the convention yesterday.
After an apology to the group and a recounting of his civil rights bona fides, Lieberman, the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate in 2000, commended the NAACP for its work during the Florida recount.
“We didn’t realize at the time, Al Gore and I, that we not only needed Kweisi Mfume fighting for justice here in Florida counting votes,” Lieberman said, according to the New Republic. “We need him on the Supreme Court where the votes really counted. Maybe that’ll happen some day.”
According to the NAACP website, Mfume has earned a Masters degree in liberal arts, with an emphasis in international studies, from Johns Hopkins University.
Don’t bother asking
At Monday’s event, Mfume said the four candidates who didn’t show up now have no right to ask for black votes in the 2004 election, USA Today reported.
Four empty chairs were placed up front, representing Lieberman, Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and President Bush.
”We are interested in people who are interested in us,” Mfume said, calling their failure to attend an affront to African-American voters and the 94-year-old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
”This organization has dignity,” he said, according to USA Today. ”We are not going to allow anybody, Democrat or Republican, to take it for granted.”
In a speech, the NAACP leader named each of the no-shows, accompanied by a dramatic death-knell chord.
”You have now become persona non grata,” he said. ”Your political capital is the equivalent of Confederate dollars.”
USA Today noted Bush is the first sitting Republican president to travel to Africa, and the three missing Democrats received 100 percent scores for their voting in the last Congress from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.