Suffering from foot in mouth disease, due in part to their fear of losing their imperial grip on the Presidency to someone else, the Clintons have managed to piss off a power broker in their most loyal constituency-African Americans. Congressman James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and the most influential and highest ranking African American on Capitol Hill, ain’t a happy camper at all. He is so displeased that he is seriously considering changing his neutrality in the Presidential nomination free for all.
The New York Times reports, “We have to be very, very careful about how we speak about that era in American politics,” said Mr. Clyburn, who was shaped by his searing experiences as a youth in the segregated South and his own activism in those days. “It is one thing to run a campaign and be respectful of everyone’s motives and actions, and it is something else to denigrate those. That bothered me a great deal.”
“In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Mrs. Clinton, who was locked in a running exchange with Senator Barack Obama, a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, over the meaning of the legacies of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., tried to make a point about presidential leadership.”
“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Mrs. Clinton said in trying to make the case that her experience should mean more to voters than the uplifting words of Mr. Obama. “It took a president to get it done.”
“Quickly realizing that her comments could draw criticism, Mrs. Clinton returned to the subject at a later stop, recalling how Dr. King was beaten and jailed and how he worked with Johnson to pass the landmark law. Clinton advisers said her first remark had not captured what she meant to convey. And they said she would never detract from a movement that has driven her own public service.”
“She has spent the majority of her life working for poor families, poor children, fighting for the principles that Martin Luther King stood for,” said Minyon Moore, a senior adviser. “The Clintons have a track record.”
“Mr. Clyburn, reached for a telephone interview Wednesday during an overseas inspection of port facilities, also voiced frustration with former President Clinton, who described Mr. Obama’s campaign narrative as a fairy tale. While Mr. Clinton was not discussing civil rights at the time and seemed to be referring mainly to Mr. Obama’s stance at the Iraq war, Mr. Clyburn saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism.”
“To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us,” said Mr. Clyburn, who said he and others took significant risks more than 40 years ago to produce such opportunities for future black Americans.”
I think that the Congressman is sending a warning to the Clintons that they had better heed. If they don’t, he will use his considerable clout against them and could bring the rest of the undecided membership of the Congressional Black Caucus with him.
On the other side of the ledger, Black Congressional surrogates are turning up with regularity to chew the fat on MSNBC. Gregory Meeks and Stephanie Tubbs Jones appeared today to defend the Borg Queen and her consort. Congresswoman Jones was aggressively negative saying that while Barack Obama talks about change, Hillary makes change. She also defended the Clintons foot in mouth remarks that pissed off James Clyburn. I like Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Gregory Meeks, but I have a deep seated mistrust of lawyers hooked up to the criminal justice system. Both Meeks and Jones have been prosecutors and I ain’t got no love for that.
It’s one thing to criticize Barack Obama, as I’ve done, for his departures from the progressive black consensus, its quite another to be a flack and volunteer handkerchief head defending the indefensible Clinton juggernaut.