Campaign 08 - The Media Race
Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office
"We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes -- President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King -- Senator Obama and I are on the same side." Hillary Rodham Clinton
Read. My. Lips. Hillary Clinton is not a racist. She didn't deny or denigrate the pivotal contribution to the Civil Rights movement by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And Barack Obama knows that. But he's letting his surrogates play the race card to the media. Another indication he's more image than substance.
Hillary's substance and her image are being burned. No matter what she says, no matter how respectful and how reasoned, somebody's going to use it against her. Worse, her opponents are joined and assisted by a media hell-bent on deifying Barack Obama and crucifying Hillary Clinton.
Now they've jumped on the issue of Civil Rights. That's just plain wrong.
Chris Matthews and Tim Russert (Andrea Mitchell too) and their networks should be ashamed of picking it up. They're supposed to report political news, highlight specific issues, comment--if they must--on trends, polls, patterns, public response.
It is not their role to create conflict, push for confrontational scenes or--let's get to the meat here--shill for the candidate of their choice. They are doing the public a huge disservice. They are also making asses of themselves.
What, they don't think we notice? For smart people, they're acting like idiots.
Let's get something straight about Hillary's remark that "[Dr] King's dream became a reality when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964."
She happens to be right.
Dr. King was a leader of extraordinary courage and vision who gathered a community --on behalf of the nation-- together in the cause for Civil Rights.
Nobody disputes that. Certainly not Hillary. Or Bill. Or Obama.
President Lyndon Johnson was a leader with incredible guts and determination who wrestled a Congress, especially the Senate --on behalf of the nation-- together in passing Civil Rights legislation.
Nobody should dispute that either. Not Obama. Not the media.
Dr. King had a dream and fought hard to make it a reality. Kennedy shared the dream, helped bring the country on board. But it was Lyndon Baines Johnson who got the job done. In the hard, dirty trenches of Capitol politics.
Dr. King was a minister, a proponent of non-violent protest, our nation's conscience on race, and his vision of equal rights for all races is his enduring legacy.
Lyndon Johnson was a senator, a president, a knowledgeable old hand at political maneuvering. In the end, he was the contractor who turned the dream of civil rights into a reality. That makes civil rights his legacy too.
Read up on the history of civil rights legislation before you take another cheap shot at Hillary's admiration for the savvy, gritty politician who did the heavy lifting.