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February 7, 2006
Using The Dead As Soapboxes, Part II

I suppose after having watched the Paul Wellstone funeral here in Minnesota four years ago, I shouldn't be shocked by Democrats turning bipartisan shows of respect at memorial services into partisan sniping. President Bush and his family had to endure the bad taste of several speakers who used Coretta Scott King's funeral as a forum to snipe at his politics:

Speakers took a rare opportunity to criticize U.S. President George W. Bush's policies to his face at the funeral on Tuesday of Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil-rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery and former President Jimmy Carter cited Mrs. King's legacy as a leader in her own right and advocate of nonviolence as they launched barbs over the Iraq war, government social policies and Bush's domestic eavesdropping program. ...

Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King helped found in 1957, gave a playful reading of a poem in eulogy of Mrs. King.

"She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war / She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar," he said.

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there / But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here / Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor."

Jimmy Carter, for his part, went out of his way to note that the Kings suffered from "secret government wiretapping and other surveillance," an allusion to the NSA program under George Bush. He of course neglects to mention that the wiretaps were approved by Bobby Kennedy, one of the saints of his party, and that the reasons for it had nothing to do with national defense. He lectured about the lack of progress in civil rights, saying that all one had to do was look at the faces of those victimized by Hurricane Katrina to know that more progress had to be made. It's the first time I've ever heard God be called a bigot -- unless Carter somehow has evidence that Bush ginned up a hurricane to deliberately attack the Gulf Coast.

The Anchoress was not surprised:

No, none of it was surprising. It was not surprising that President Bush went, knowing - as he had to know - that a few opportunists and insecure old men would try to take their shots in an attempt to ingratiate the rabble and make the news shows. It was not surprising that both President Bushes spoke with class and humility. It was not surprising that Bill Clinton got the room rocking, and got just a little dramatic, as ever, appealing to the emotions -and he does it very well. It was not surprising that Hillary stood there nodding before plodding. It wasn’t even surprising to me that Hillary got to speak last - in essence giving her the “keynote” spot. In a crowd for whom everything is political and everything is calculated, that was completely predictable.

It's not surprising ... but it is sad that the Left cannot allow a single moment to pass without partisan rancor marring what could have been a marvelous bipartisan show of unity, in respect for a woman who deserved it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 7, 2006 9:01 PM

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