Dr. Karl Rove, that is:
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Reuters) - Race became a focus of the Democratic presidential campaign on Sunday with Hillary Clinton accusing rival Barack Obama of distorting remarks she made last week about the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement.In case you missed it, and you may have, Clinton said in effect that while Martin Luther King Jr's words were passionate and powerful, it took a political process to bring about the changes he wanted to see.
Obama, who would be the first black president, called this "ludicrous" but said Clinton had offended some Americans who believed her comments last week had marginalized the role of black leader Martin Luther King in advancing those rights.
Clinton, who would become the first woman president, and Obama are locked in a close race for the right to represent the party in the November 4 election to succeed President George W. Bush. Republicans too are in a tight race.
And she was right. And wrong. There's no guarantee that President Johnson would have done much about civil rights if not for the powerful words AND actions of Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr could not introduce legislation into Congress to create The Civil Rights Act, The Great Society or The Voting Rights act. It was Johnson's sheer power, force of will, and knowledge of Congress that got these passed.
It is precisely this kind of bitter dissension that the Republicans are hoping for. The focus of BOTH campaigns should be to show the American people how they'll improve our lives. The economy is tanking, there's a war going on that's draining our lifeblood figuratively as well as literally. We have more important things to do than to assess credit for what little progress has been made in this country regarding race.
And while Clinton's wording was clumsy when she made her original comments, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," she said, adding that "it took a president to get it done," it's a little hard to say she minimized King's contributions, but I suppose if you're thin-skinned enough (or willing to lay down the race card), you can make the claim. One can have a dream, work hard for that dream, and yet it may take something beyond one's control to realize that dream.
Luck, after all, is the residue of hard work, and no one is denying King did the hard work.
It's not the only time Obama partisans have unfairly injected race into the, well, race:
In a call on Friday to Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated talk radio show, Mr. Clinton said that his “fairy tale” comment on Monday about Senator Barack Obama’s position on the Iraq war was being misconstrued, and that he was talking only about the war, not about Mr. Obama’s overarching message or his drive to be the first black president.(You might ponder how tied up Obama might be in a general election when Republicans fight with the gloves off as you read this piece.)
“There’s nothing fairy tale about his campaign,” Mr. Clinton said. “It’s real, strong, and he might win.”
The race has gotten nasty (even John Edwards has "me, too'd" the whole Martin Luther King thing, and he might do better to shut the hell up and let these two scratch out each other's eyes. Did New Hampshire teach you nothing, son?). If it's going to get over and done with quickly, fine, but if this animosity lingers well beyond February, it could rift the Democratic Party enough to hand the election to the Republicans.
So...again, I'm just a shlub blogger who's only been politically active and aware for 40 years.. it might behoove both Obama and Clinton to shake hands, and apologize.
And grow a thicker skin.