I agree with something in The Gadflyer.
The Reverend [Al Sharpton] gets way too much attention for the level of support he generated during his campaign this year, and worse, heâ€™s self-indulgent. And tonight his self-indulgence â€“ less so, in my mind, for his remarks as for the length of his speech â€“ could jeopardize a schedule intended to feature John Edwards more than anything else. Because Edwards is the partyâ€™s best speaker right now, Sharpton’s grab imposes a terrible penalty on Edwards, John Kerry and the message tonight and for the week. Edwards needs to be able to take his time tonight, bask in every applause moment, and still finish by 11 EST.
I puzzled over this, too. Why did the party give Sharpton a nigh-prime time slot, considering he won less delegates than Dennis Kucinich? Was it because they feared anything less would be a slight to blacks? That’s terribly insulting, for reasons Mark Bowden entailed in The Atlantic (not online) and I touched on here. Sharpton has no base or grounding in modern political reality, but he says he does, and – one last time? – the party fell for it.