Yeah, she went there.
In her efforts to take a leak on the idea of hope--because it benefits Barack Obama--Hillary Clinton decided that she needed to minimize the role that Martin Luther King Jr., and by extension African-Americans, played in securing their own civil rights.
The audacity of her cynicism below the fold.
The context, of course, lies in Clinton's regrettable statement from last Saturday's debate:
"We don't need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered."
Obama, not being a stupid politician, pounced.
Obama challenged Clinton's claim in a weekend debate that he was raising "false hopes" about what he could deliver for the country. Obama told his audience that hope made President Kennedy aim to put a man on the moon and Martin Luther King Jr. to imagine the end of segregation.
"If anything crystallized what this campaign is about, it was that right there," Obama said of Clinton's comment in the debate. "Some are thinking in terms of our constraints, and some are thinking about our limitless possibilities."
Well, Clinton had her chance to respond, and oh boy did she deliver up a doozy:
"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done. The power of that dream became real in people's lives because we had a president capable of action."
Just how awful is this, on so many levels? "It took a President to get it done?"
It took a nation to get it done. It took a mass uprising to get it done. It took brave men and women to brave Bull Connor's thugs, firehoses, and dogs. It took an overriding popular will to see it throught. It took courage. It took inspiration. It took the the blood of martyrs and patriots.
It took a movement.
And the implication here is that African-Americans didn't make it happen, but rather that the nice white father figure in Washington got it done for them.
Get her off the national stage before she disgraces herself any further.
The video from the interview is available here.
UPDATE 2: African-American bloggers react, and they are not impressed:
I don't like these internal fights. I detest them. I especially hate when someone I admire like Sen. Clinton says something as brazenly horrific as this in order to puff up her own political fortunes . . . .
It's not as if Lyndon Johnson couldn't wait to sign the Civil Rights Act. He was right to do it and it changed the country. But there is no civil rights movement, there is no America as we know it today without the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. How could she say this? In my eyes, and the eyes of millions of people of all races and sexes, Rev. King is the greatest American who ever lived. He was not just a talker, which is what Sen. Clinton's message seems to be here. MLK was the ultimate "doer". The sterling example of what it means in America to stand up for what's right by putting your life on the line.
How could she? How. Could. She.
Hillary: You Negroes Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights
I'm fascinated when white people say what they mean. . . .
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.