Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sen. Clinton's MLK/LBJ faux pas

The more I think about it, the more I think Sen. Clinton's MLK/LBJ faux pas is going to become a big deal -- I'm surprised the mainstream media hasn't picked up on it in a big way yet.  Here's one friend's take (I disagree with the racist part -- more below):

Hillary on LBJ, besides being completely wrong historically, shows (I truly hate to say it) what a narrow-minded racist she is.  To even equate LBJ and MLK is absolutely wrong on the facts AND morally repugnant.

Wasn’t it white Southern racists who lambasted Northerners for traveling to the Deep South and “raising false hopes” amongst African-Americans?  Those false hopes were dreams that came true because of the dreams, ideals, inspiration, and character of Martin Luther King and others he encouraged to stand up to white apartheid.

Hillary Clinton should be skewered for spouting this bullshit!!!!  (Imagine if any Republican or even any Democratic male candidate had said this nonsense!)

I don't think it's racist, but I do think it's illustrative of how she thinks about the world.  In her world, the key actors are the politicians in Washington, whereas the people on the streets -- the Nelson Mandelas, Vaclav Havels, Lech Walesas -- are just bit players, rabble rousers even.  More broadly, she sees political problems as analytical puzzles to be solved in a Machiavellian way -- find out who your enemies are and then try to kill them (ditto for Edwards).  Words and dreams don't matter.
The contrast with Obama could not be greater.  He understands the power of words, how they can inspire and bring people together.  And he understands that to get things done politically, one needs to: A) Create broad-based support among the people; and B) Don't needlessly antagonize all Republicans by inpugning their motives and going to war right off the bat.  One attracts more bees with honey than vinegar.  I think President Obama will be tough when necessary, but will also be clever enough to woo Republicans and try to peel off some moderates (I think there may be a few left) to build a filibuster-proof coalition.


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