March 12, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way Home From The March

Robert Novak points out some inconsistencies in Hillary Clinton's proclaimed personal history on the campaign trail. The woman who famously claimed to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary after his ascent to the top of Mount Everest -- which happened when she was eight years old -- has attempted another bit of revisionism, this time on civil rights. After her attempt last week in Selma to drawl out her teenage epiphany from listening to Martin Luther King in 1963, Novak notes that she supported one of King's opponents:

While Hillary Rodham Clinton came out second best to Barack Obama in their oratorical duel at Selma, Ala., a week ago, the real problem with her speech concerned her claimed attachment to Martin Luther King Jr. as a high school student in 1963. How, then, could she have been a "Goldwater Girl" during the following year's presidential election?

The incompatibility of those two facts was pointed out to me by Democratic old-timers who were shocked by Clinton's temerity in pursuing her presidential candidacy. Barry Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 voting rights bill was not incidental to his run for the White House but an integral element of conscious departure from Republican tradition that contributed to his disastrous performance. ...

Speaking at Selma's First Baptist Church on the 42nd anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" freedom march, Clinton declared: "As a young girl, I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. King speak in Chicago. The year was 1963. My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night to hear [King]. . . . And he called on us, he challenged us that evening to stay awake during the great revolution that the civil rights pioneers were waging on behalf of a more perfect union."

Young Hillary Rodham answered that challenge the next year as the 17-year-old class president at Maine East High School in the Chicago suburbs. She described herself in her memoirs as "an active Young Republican" and "a Goldwater girl, right down to my cowgirl outfit." As a politically attuned honor student, she must have known that Goldwater was one of only six Republican senators who joined Southern Democratic segregationists opposing the historic Voting Rights Act, which King inspired.

Oops! Does the nation's First Black President know about this?

Hillary has shown signs of panic after the advent of Barack Obama as a potential contender for the nomination. This just provides yet another example of her anxiety. She expected the nomination this year to be a cakewalk, a coronation that would carry her on the shoulders of adoring throngs back to the White House. Now that she faces a real political fight, she appears unprepared and bumbling.

The Selma appearance reveals a little of the real Hillary. She has the same kind of authenticity issues that plagued Al Gore. The Edmund Hillary whopper showed that she has the same affinity for tall tales, but the Selma appearance puts her in a league of her own. She attempted a Southern accent that sounded more like Larry the Cable Guy rather than Scarlett O'Hara, and phonier than a three-dollar bill. If that wasn't bad enough, she attempted to assume the mantle of King while forgetting that her biography clearly shows her supporting Goldwater and, presumably, his opposition to the civil-rights legislation a year after her supposed epiphany.

At one time, I presumed that Hillary would win the nomination easily. Now I'm not so sure. She seems almost too incompetent to beat the smooth and skilled Barack Obama, at least on the stump.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Funny Thing Happened On The Way Home From The March:

» A Funny Thing Happened On The Way Home From The March from Bill's Bites
Hill: I'm the JFK of 2008 Vows to beat odds March 11, 2007 -- NASHUA, N.H. - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked the campaign of the nation's lone Catholic president, John Kennedy, last night as she talked about her challenge in becoming the first fema... [Read More]