Monday, January 14, 2008
Hillary: Our Modern LBJ





Amy Holmes

360 Contributor


Does Hillary really want to be making this comparison?

"Dr. King didn't just give speeches. He marched, he organized, he protested, he was gassed, he was beaten, he was jailed," [Hillary Clinton] said, noting King had campaigned for Johnson because he recognized the need to elect a president who could enact civil rights into law. [emphasis mine]


And because MLK had no other choice.

If you wanted to pass civil rights legislation, you had to appeal to the white politicians who held the power, set the agenda and cast the votes. MLK's great genius was to persuade those with power -- LBJ, as well as white fellow citizens -- to enfranchise those without -- America's black citizens.

So, is Hillary saying that, in 2008, Barack Obama should occupy the role of a black moral leader while she takes the reigns of power and handles the "legislative stuff"?

You know, like back in the old days when a black man couldn't be elected president?
Posted By CNN: 2:02 PM ET
  11 Comments
Amy,
I don't think that's what Hillary meant. I think she meant that it takes more than moving speeches to change laws and government policies. In this election it seems that Hillary is playing the role of the policy wonk while Obama is the inspiring speaker who while short on experience, manages to give many people hope for change. Hillary cares deeply about civil rights and doesn't want to cede this issue to Obama. And I don't think she should.
Posted By Blogger Barbara in Culver City, CA : 2:14 PM ET
It is very sad that the Clintons, (not only Hillary but both of them and followers) are using this to attack Senator Obama. I am glad that their true colors are coming out. I am a Latino woman and fully support Senator Obama. It is a shame that she as a woman uses the gender card to her advantage. I am sick of her and Bill's politics. I just hope all voters see what is going on. Is she believe in change and truly means that she has done a lot for African Americans, then she and her cheating husband would step out of the way to let change take its course. But what is she doing: she is taking us back to old days, all she wants is the status quo. She feels she is entitled to be the president no matter what.
I find both Clintons very insulting and their tactics very low.
Angelina Aguilar
Posted By Anonymous Angelina Aguilar : 2:17 PM ET
Amy,

You are making some erroneous assumptions in attempting to distort what Hillary Clinton is saying. Why we keep having news correspondents twisting Hillary's words for their own purposes, is beyond me. Maybe to stir the pot a little? I guess controversy is the order of the day.

I grew up in the 1960's. I remember the civil rights struggle quite clearly. No one is trying to take credit from those who marched and fought so courageously in the noble fight for equality. The fact that LBJ had a strong mandate with his landslide victory in 1964, coupled with his skill and familiarity with the workings of the Senate, helped him get passage of the Civil Rights bill.

Shame on you for trying to manipulate Hillary's words in that manner. You know perfectly well what she was saying and so does everyone else. She is likening herself to LBJ as an experienced person who can get legislation passed. Her comments had precisely nothing to do with race or the idea that Obama should take a back seat. Too bad you felt the need to make it seem that way.
Posted By Anonymous Mindy Chatsworth, Ca. : 2:20 PM ET
Amy,
OK...I think WAY too much is being made out of this! I doubt very seriously that Hillary is trying to say that Obama should take a back seat and be a runner and not the president! I hope that the media doesn't blow this out of proportion and get everyone off track. Because the real things we need to look at are the issues and how the candidates line up on them! We don't need race brought up dividing this nation when we are SO desperate to get it back on track! Where is the change in that!? I thought this was the election of change. Is this race issue being brought up a way to deter that!? HMMM makes me wonder!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 2:34 PM ET
You know, I'm afraid this is like many things. We overreact. We toss her aside and start hammering at her like she's just told us she is THE LBJ INCARNATE. She was just drawing a comparison, simple, easy, we all do it. Let her alone. Let's keep it simple, keep it real. The last thing we need is more confusion.
Posted By Blogger Lewis : 2:55 PM ET
Sure sounds like that, doesn't it. You make a good point. I'm sure she or Bill will spin it again, as they feel it suits them . . . and 'round & 'round they'll go. That much is certain.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy : 3:06 PM ET
I would only add that LBJ had no choice. If he had not passed legislation the country would have been burnt to the ground (and rightfully so). Also, Ladybird Johnson probably deserves as much credit as LBJ. During the 1964 election, Mrs.Johnson traveled through eight Southern states in her own train to promote the Civil Rights Act, at one point giving 45 speeches over five days.

No one group is the sole heir to MLK's legacy or the legacy of the civil rights movement. The ideas MLK espoused transcend race, color, sex, and creed. To use MLK for political leverage is just low.

The Clinton campaign machine knows that they must carry the African-American vote to get back in the White House and they will say anything to that end.

Can't a leader be both a moral leader and President? Must we have one or the other?

African-Americans are sophisticated voters. They will not let the Clinton machine succeed using these kind of tactics. This I know.
Posted By Blogger Chris : 3:18 PM ET
While I really don't believe Hillary Clinton was attempting to minimize the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, I can see where her arrogance and manner of speech could lead people to believe that was her intent.

Hillary Clinton is an arrogant, stubborn politician who has a very difficult time admitting to her mistakes and accepting her limitations. This sounds a lot like our current President, doesn't it? The last thing the United States needs is another arrogant,stubborn President who can't admit to mistakes.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 3:34 PM ET
Amy, I heard Hillary say that it's not enough to give inspiring speeches and talk about change, and hope. You have to know how to make the change come about. You have to have the experience to make the changes happen.

Reverend King knew this, that you had to work within the system to make changes happen. Protests, marches, speeches, draw attention to issues, but it is the government that makes the law.

No one is saying anyone can't or shouldn't be elected. Please, please, lay off the inflamatory rhetoric, and focus on the issues: economy, war, health care. Please don't focus only on race/gender, just to make a story out of this. There is TOO MUCH AT STAKE this time.

Linda
Boulder
Posted By Anonymous Linda : 3:45 PM ET
Amy I never really agree with you but you are ON POINT with this one.
Posted By Anonymous Obama Supporter : 4:01 PM ET
It is so sad that Hillary resorted to a stereotype to push herself ahead in the polls and win people's votes. I find her comments offensive and I feel she is back to the idea that she must do anything she feels necessary to win a vote.

Implying that Obama should become a moral leader, is a direct insult to him and other black people who aspire to be president of the United States. I am really starting not to like her at all. Let's be real here, she doesn't have all the experience she claims she has to be president. She's been running for president (theoretically) since 1992. She dealt with her husband's blatent in your face infedelity so that one day his success would just catapult her into the oval office.

She will do anything to be president. Her sence of doing what is right is corrupt. I hope that she doesn't get the nomination. She really doesn't deserve it. If she gets close to getting it, I hope Bloomburg comes in and splits the Democratic vote so bad, McCain or Huckabee get it.

I am truly disappointed in her.
Posted By Anonymous Robin, Atlanta, Georgia : 4:15 PM ET
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