The Ellison angle

Democrats and their media adjunct are stirring the pot about the alleged bigotry of prospective Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon, yet they are poised to name a long-time advocate of one of the leading racist and anti-Semitic organizations in the United States as chairman of their party. I’m referring of course to Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison and his long involvement with the Nation of Islam.

Yesterday Ellison formally announced his bid to become chairman of the Democratic Party. Leading Democrats have lined up to support him. He seems to be poised to take the reins of the national party. Allison Sherry reports from Washington for the Star Tribune:

Ellison drew widespread support over the weekend and Monday from the party’s elite, including Sanders and presumed incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Harry Reid, the current Senate minority leader, threw his support behind Ellison. Even President Obama told reporters the party needed fresh faces and new ideas to rebuild, though he did not mention anyone by name.

As a black and left-wing Muslim in a one-party town with a cheerleading newspaper, Ellison has been insulated from the kind of media scrutiny that he should have received over the past 10 years. Rather, he has been celebrated as the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. Who wanted to stand in his way? Certainly not the political reporters or editors at the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune has never troubled itself to chronicle Ellison’s unsavory years on the make in Minneapolis as an active local leader of the Nation of Islam, even though it could have drawn on its own archives to do so. The Star Tribune has left Ellison free to lie about his past and it is a freedom that he has exploited to the hilt.

Thus Sherry reports on Ellison’s current bid without the slightest hint of Ellison’s back pages:

Ellison issued a statement Monday castigating Trump’s choice, saying that Bannon “is adored by white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and the KKK,” and that the president-elect must rescind the appointment if he is “serious about rejecting bigotry, hatred and violence from his supporters.”

Ellison’s public agitation on behalf of the Nation of Islam extends back to his days as a law student at the University of Minnesota Law School through his first attempt to secure the Democratic endorsement for a state legislative seat. Over the years Ellison agitated on behalf of the Nation of Islam he operated under names including Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. I summarized this aspect of Ellison’s rise in the Weekly Standard article “Louis Farrakhan’s first Congressman” and the companion Power Line post “Keith Ellison for dummies.”

Ellison’s freedom from media scrutiny has served him well so far. Apart from an extremely misleading letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council in 2006, Ellison has never had to account, explain or apologize for his long-time membership in and advocacy of the Nation of Islam. Rather, Ellison has lied about it, minimized it and suppressed it. In his own memoir Ellison rewrites his past, presenting himself as a critic of the Nation of Islam for its bigotry and hatred. He does not confide in readers that the source of his knowledge is personal and that it comes from the inside. I don’t think much of the Democratic Party or its leaders, but I have to ask whether Democrats really know what they are buying with Ellison.

UPDATE: I just heard a radio news report indicating that Ellison denies he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. This is a bald-faced lie for which I have the ocular proof in “Keith Ellison for dummies.”

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