Sharpton and Kucinich represent two major modern principles in action. For Sharpton, it's the guiding principle of affirmative action: i.e., race as a resume bullet. Nobody's really going to ask if Sharpton is qualified for the job. Even the toughest question in the debates, asking him if he'd apologize (to Stephen Pagones, I infer) for Tawana Brawley, was quickly swept off when he answered, "No." Hell, apologies are coin of the realm in politics. Bill Clinton apologized to everybody in the world (even if we all knew it wasn't sincere), with that bite-the-lip, feel-the-pain bathos he made an art form.
Kucinich represents the clouded mind of the politician who is unaware that he embodies the principle of failing upwards. Kucinich's abysmal performance as mayor of Cleveland should have relegated him to the dog-catcher tier of politics. Instead, he has leveraged his good intentions and "outsider" goofiness into a decent ride in the national Democrat junior varsity. He's a socialist, of course, and one who thinks that Americans agree with him. He's the kind of guy who thinks that disconnecting work requirements from welfare is a human rights kind of issue. He could never possibly run a successful democratic state on his principles without leaving it in a fiscal situation reminiscent of . . . well, how about Cleveland circa 1979?