A Friend of a Friend in Pennsylvania

Denunciation politics and the hypocrisy of guilt by association.

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I'm indebted to Sam Stein of The Huffington Post for unearthing this YouTube video of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell in 1997 showering praises on….drum roll, please…MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN!

Yes, Louis Farrakhan, the same Louis Farrakhan about whose links to Barack Obama Hillary Clinton and George Stephanopoulos made such a fuss a few weeks ago.

I've been rolling on the floor laughing my bitter ass off ever since I watched this video. If only it had surfaced before the Pennsylvania primary, when Rendell's powerful machine was propelling Clinton to a near 10-point victory as the Governor famously predicted that some white Pennsylvanians "are probably not ready to vote for an African American candidate." Would Clinton have been forced to disassociate herself from the governor for sucking up to the most divisive Negro in the land? Would John McCain, who has ripped Obama for his tenuous ties to William Ayers, the 1960s bomber, be on Hillary's case for depending on a Farrakhan lover like Rendell to deliver a crucial state?

It gets even better, thanks to Colbert King of The Washington Post, who has been keeping track of the Black Muslim leader's undisclosed links to the Clintons. In March, King columnized about the nice things Bill Clinton had to say about Farrakhan in 2005, when the Muslim leader was organizing a ten-year-anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March. The former first black President made no mention of the nasty anti-Semitic speech Farrakhan had delivered only a few months before. Noting that Hillary Clinton had demanded that Obama denounce Farrakhan's unsought endorsement, King asked, "Did Hillary get on Bill's case, too?"

I could write more, if I could just stop chortling. But every time I think I've got my act together, I remember that picture of Bill Clinton shaking hands with Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the White House and I start giggling again. And my sides split when I start wondering why no one in the Pennsylvania news media brought up Rendell's complimentary remarks about Farrakhan in time to make a potential difference in the primary. It's too bad that unfair accusations of guilt by association - and the hypocritical politicians who exploit them - can't be laughed off so easily. Come to think of it, there's nothing funny about this at all.

Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.