Main | Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hillary's Latest Misstep:
I Am LBJ, Obama Is MLK

Black progressives are not responding favorably to an interview Hillary Clinton gave to Fox News earlier this week in which she said that while Martin Luther King may have provided the inspiration for the civil rights movement, it was Lyndon B. Johnson who made the difference for having signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

The Clinton pull-quote getting the most play from the interview is this: "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done."

From Jack And Jill Politics, in a piece titled "You Negroes Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights":
That's right. It wasn't the courage of King and local Montgomery residents standing up to legalized white supremacy in their hometown that began to change America, it was the white man. It wasn't Rosa Parks who had enough and refused to sit in the back of the bus that got things started, it was the white man. It wasn't John Lewis and others facing down billy clubs and tear gas in Selma, it was the white man. It wasn't Fannie Lou Hamer telling the racist Democrats at the 1964 convention that black people were sick and tired of being sick and tired, it was the white man. Why credit the people who gave their lives for the struggle when all credit is due to the great white father, in his ultimate, eternal benevolence, for finally deciding to recognize black people as human beings? I wonder where he got that idea?

Johnson didn't change America. Johnson reacted to the changes in America. For that he deserves some credit, but never mistake the man in the suit for the soldiers on the street. The difference is obvious: Johnson isn't the one whose life was ended by a sniper's bullet.

This is the kind of revisionist history I expect from the most extreme white supremacist kooks.

You can kiss that black vote goodbye. Between this and Bill claiming Hillary is tougher than Nelson Mandela, you have pretty much solidified the image that whatever happened in the 90s, you are now some out of touch rich white folks.

As a side note, one of the worst campaign strategies I've ever heard of in my life is associating your opponent with Martin Luther King Jr. Clearly, Hillary wants to lose.
You can watch the video of the interview here. For context, in the interview Clinton was read this quote by Barack Obama:
"False Hopes. Dr King standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking out over the magnificent crowd, the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument, sorry guys, false hopes, the dream will die, it can't be done, false hope, we don't need leaders who tell us what we can't do, we need leaders to tell us what we can do and inspire us."
When asked if she would like to respond to Obama's quote, the full quote from Clinton is:
"I would, and I would point to the fact that that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became a real in peoples lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished."
Read in the full context of the interview, Clinton's response doesn't come across quite as bad as black progressives seem to be reading it, but she definitely made a grievous tactical error. If this "I am LBJ, Obama is MKL" meme gets wider play, expect Clinton's polling among blacks to plummet.

RELATED: Talking Points Memo delves into the full quote.

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