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Senator Clinton’s Comments Seek To Diminish M.L. King & The Civil Rights Movement

Senator Hillary Clinton made comments in New Hampshire last week that sought to diminish the role of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.

(Please click here for a Texas Liberal Martin Luther King Reading and Reference List. It is the best list of its kind on the web.)

Mrs Clinton said—“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a President to get it done.” 

Mrs. Clinton’s comments were part of her effort since the Iowa caucus to belittle the optimism felt by many over the campaign of Senator Barack Obama.    

Along these lines, former President Bill Clinton described the Obama theme of hope as a “fairy tale.

It’s no surprise that the Clintons would play down the work done by the Civil Rights movement and the idea that we can do more than settle for the least bad option.

Clintonism has always been about settling for the least bad option in a conservative era.

Now that the conservative era may be coming to an end, what strategy is left but to ridicule the idea that people believing in anything more than the imagination-killing pragmatism of centrist politics can make America better?  

For the record, Mrs. Clinton’s reading of history is simply wrong. As well-detailed in Carol Polsgrove’s Divided Minds–Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement and David L. Chappell’s excellent  A Stone of Hope—Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, many white liberals and white intellectuals were  slow to embrace the cause of Civil Rights.

From Stone of Hope—“It is hard to sort out whether liberals cared a great deal about racism, but lacked the power to challenge it, or simply cared too little about racism, until black voters and protesters forced their hand…in the 1960’s.”  

While many whites did take personal and political risks to aid the cause of Civil Rights, if Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement had waited for someone other than themselves to bring about freedom, they might well still be waiting.  

And if in 2008 we look to Hillary Clinton to inspire us beyond the mess we find ourselves in today, we will also have a very long wait.

January 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Martin & Malcolm, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Mitt Romney Not First Mormon Running For President To Rack Up Second Place Finishes

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second in the Republican New Hampshire primary yesterday. This comes after his second place finish in the Iowa caucus last week.

Governor Romney had invested a great deal of money in both states, but was unable to win. The people did not want him.

Governor Romney is not the first Mormon candidate for President to run up a string of second place finishes in the Presidential nominating process.

In 1976, Democratic Representative Morris K. Udall (photo above) of Arizona finished second in six primaries without winning a single one. He finished third in seven primaries.

Rep. Udall was a Mormon.   

In New Hampshire, Rep. Udall lost to Jimmy Carter 28% to 23%. Birch Bayh of Indiana ran third with 15%.

Morris K. Udall was a great liberal.  

However, running second does not get the job done—As Governor Romney is finding out.

As far as I can recall or read, Udall’s Mormonism was not an issue in 1976.

This may have been because religion was not the same kind of issue it is today, and because the Democratic primary electorate in 1976 did not have a religious litmus test for candidates the way the Republican electorate does in 2008.

Udall’s brother Stewart was Secretary of the Interior for President Kennedy.

Two Udalls serve in the House of Representatives today.

Democrat Mark Udall, son of Mo, represents the second district of Colorado. This district is focused on western suburbs of Denver and on Boulder.

Mark Udall is running for Senate to win the seat of retiring Republican Senator Wayne Allard.   

Stewart’s son, Democrat Tom Udall, represents New Mexico’s third district in the U.S. House. This district includes Santa Fe, Clovis and much of the top one-third of New Mexico.  

This Udall is also running for the U.S. Senate. He is running for the seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici.

A Udall cousin is Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. Senator Smith will hopefully be defeated for reelection in 2008.

1/16/08—Update—Romney has broken the Udall/Mormon curse and won the Michgan primary.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

An Early History Of The New Hampshire Primary

 

The first New Hampshire primary was held in 1916. This was 4 years after Presidential primaries were held for the first time in 1912.

The 1916 New Hampshire was not first in the nation. It was held one week after the Indiana primary.

The Democratic winner was a slate of delegates committed to President Woodrow Wilson. President Wilson  (photo above) was the only candidate. New Hampshire Republicans choose an uncommitted slate of delegates. 

The 1920 New Hampshire primary, the first contested Granite State primary, was also the first primary of the election season. It was held on March 9. New Hampshire has held the first primary ever since.

The names of individual candidates did not appear on the 1920 New Hampshire ballot. Instead, voters selected delegates who were committed to specific candidates or who at that point were uncommitted.

The Republican winner in New Hampshire was Major General Leonard Wood. Wood ( below) was from New Hampshire. General Wood had served as Army Chief of Staff under President William Howard Taft. He was later passed over as commander of US forces in World War I. Black Jack Pershing got that job.

For Democrats, delegates committed to Herbert Hoover  (Below with John Kennedy in 1960) won a plurality of support. Hoover had led the U.S. relief effort for Europe after the War.

Just as Dwight Eisenhower received a small number of Democratic primary votes in 1948, Mr. Hoover in 1920 was popular leader of uncertain political allegiance. Both Mr. Hoover and General Eisenhower would go on to win the White House as Republicans.

Neither General Wood nor Mr. Hoover would be nominated in 1920. Nor would the leading overall primary vote-getters of 1920 be nominated.

Republican top vote-winner Senator Hiram Johnson  (below) of California lost his fight to Senator Warren Harding of Ohio. On the Democratic side, Woodrow Wilson’s terrible red-baiting Attorney General Mitchell Palmer of New Jersey was defeated by Governor James Cox of Ohio.

Progressive Republican Senator Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate on the 1912 Bull Moose ticket, would have been the superior candidate over Mr. Palmer.

Who is to say that some years from now the Republican party will not be the party of the left and the Democratic party the party of the right? The parties shift and evolve over time.

It would be many years before presidential primaries had the lead role in selecting nominees.

January 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Elections, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The So-Called Independent Voter—Annoying, Annoying, Annoying

  

Is anything more annoying than the so-called independent voter?

(Answer– Yes, some things are, but most things are not.)

A recent New York Times story discusses some of these self-described voters in New Hampshire.

In 2000 many New Hampshire independents voted for John McCain. In 2008, many are considering Barack Obama.

How do you go from Senator McCain to Senator Obama? These are two very different candidates with very different views on most questions.  Is this independence or is it just about being all over the map? Is it about looking for some alleged “maverick” candidate who meets your conception of yourself?  

The Times article describes these voters in this way—“As a rule, they are middle and upper income, college educated, socially moderate, fiscally conservative, anti-Washington…..”

The other thing I bet could be added is that they are more a white demographic than the country as a whole.

This sounds like libertarian-lite in my view.

The Times also reports—They tend to pay less attention to the contest until the very end and are less likely to vote. As a group, they are volatile and unpredictable…”

Great. Uninformed and incoherent.

I’ll take even a right-winger over the so-called independent.

Well……in an abstract sense at least.  At the bottom line, I’ll take whoever votes on my side.

That’s politics for you.

October 3, 2007 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment