Most Entertaining Politician (Progressive) (2009)

Charles Barron

There are plenty of joke candidates and pretend pols who make good copy. But Charles Barron serves on the City Council and is dead serious about the stands he takes, which just make them funnier. In July, the former Black Panther attempted a citizen's arrest of School Chancellor Joel Klein for continuing to serve after Albany failed to reestablish mayoral control of the schools. He appears on right-wing talk shows and gives no quarter, calling Sean Hannity a racist and telling Bill O'Reilly that America will soon have a black majority and that O'Reilly fears his "white privilege will no longer rule the law." He has also said, "Some days, I get so frustrated I just want to go up to the closest white person and say, 'You can't understand this. It's a black thing,' and then slap him, just for my mental health." He has fought to close down Obama Fried Chicken stores as "part of the racist stereotyping of black people in America." He has raged against a Bill de Blasio flier showing de Blasio's black wife, called black cops at the Sean Bell shooting "House Negroes who will shoot us at the behest of their masters," invited dictator Robert Mugabe to speak at City Hall, and compared Mayor Bloomberg unfavorably to Hugo Chávez, telling him, "I will see you on the battlefield." In short, he's a major public official who doesn't give a shit about what the press makes of him. And we could use a hundred more like him.


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