Wellstoning the King Funeral – UPDATED

Wellstoning the King Funeral – UPDATED February 7, 2006

Check out Chris Muir’s cartoon today!

Oh, come on, you’re not really surprised, are you, that Coretta Scott King’s funeral got political?

I’m not. I remember this:

Sen Paul Wellstone Memorial

After President Bush praised Dr. King, things went downhill, apparently. Video is available here.

Really, what was so surprising?

I remember Jimmeh Cartah, and his lovely wife Roslyn, saying of his successor, Ronald Reagan, “anything would be better than what we have in the White House, now!” I remember him having no good words for Bush 41 or Clinton, and certainly not for Bush 43. Jimmeh Cartah never has a good word for anyone but himself, or a third world dictator, and he has never managed to behave in a classy manner – not when he can do the easier, trashier thing and get his accolades from the usual suspects, and lots of coverage. He seems a miserable human being, a man threatened by killer bunnies – the very FIRST of the media whores to completely buy into the hype surrounding him (“a brilliant naval engineer…”) and lose, utterly lose, his mind and his moral compass when the headlines and magazine covers went away. In this, he joins Al Gore, John Kerry, Cindy Sheehan and (sadly) John McCain. I’ve come to the conclusion that people who buy their own hype, who believe the press when the press over-does the gushing in order to push their own ideas, are weak-minded, or perhaps simply not very smart.

He can build all the houses he wants – any former president who will accept a “peace prize” given to him explicitly to (as the Nobel board admitted) “kick the current president in the legs” is unworthy of his office, or the esteem a former president is normally due. The man is inappropriate at all times. Sigmund Carl and Alfred have what he really needs.

My best friend, who was watching the funeral, called me up and said, “exactly when did the Democrats utterly revise history and co-opt the civil rights movement? Why does the world forget that it was Democrat Bull Connor putting the hoses and the dogs on the marchers, and the Republicans standing up for civil rights? Why doesn’t anyone mention that Bobby Kennedy was wiretapping King?”

History got revised because of the US press, and two men – Lyndon Johnson (the Great Society) and Bobby Kennedy, who did indeed wiretap Dr. King in an attempt to ruin him. But Bobby Kennedy went to the poor in Appalachia, and he went to the poor in the South, and he ended every speech with “now, let’s sing the song,” and joined hands and sang “We Shall Overcome,” and it moved people to see a man born into unimaginable privilege find common cause with the under-represented. It made it easy to forget that he’d tried to get dirt on Dr. King. I remember it like it was yesterday. Kennedy then single-handedly and forever put the “Democrats=Civil Rights” equation together when he, upon hearing of the assassination of Martin Luther King, extemporaneously and movingly called for calm and gave tribute to King. You can read or listen to the speech here.

In the issue of Civil Rights, I think it’s pointless to carry on about revised history. It’s done. The warp of history and the woof of of hype will never be untangled. Let it be. People believe what they want to believe, anyway, as we see daily.

At my friend’s urging I turned on the television to see the service. I got there in time to see Bill Clinton work the room masterfully while Hillary did her bobble-head thing. I noticed that she practically stood on top of him while he spoke – insuring that she would be in every camera shot, but he stepped aside and allowed her full/solo camera access as she spoke – and it must be said that her speech, remarkably twangy, as it always is when she speaks before a predomiantly black audience – was plodding, uninspired, robotic and flat. You could not escape the comparison of the electricity that filled the room while Bill Clinton spoke, and the steadily diminishing energy that presented itself as she droned. And I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to her talk about (paraphrased) “each person’s personal relationship with the one God…” The sort of stuff that gets President Bush creamed if he says it. But then again, she – and Democrats in general – are also allowed to campaign in churches, and Republicans can’t do that either, so…shrug. There you go.

I also noticed, in the brief few seconds that I watched Chris Matthews before shutting off the set, that Jonathan Alter was already spinning the Wellstone Memorialiness of the event and trying to turn it into a “speaking truth to power” meme. Whatever.

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. I wasn’t surprised to see that she didn’t seem to be wearing her new, three-carat rock for the occasion, either. There’s a time for that, but not today.

It is not surprising that this will be spun into something. And it will largely be forgotten in about three days. So, the left has three days, now to solidify the impressions it wants America to take away from this, which is – of course – “Democrats good. Care for the little guy. Bush bad. Hates blacks.” The Right has three days to remind people that Democrats can’t ever behave like grown-ups or stop throwing rhetorical molotov cocktails. They still think it’s 1969.

Hey, they want to keep running against George W. Bush, why stop them?
Dan at Gay Patriot says Carter attacks the man who is cleaning up his messes. Spot on, I think.
More on this: Michelle Malkin calls it unhinged and has links, plus a video flashback of Ron Brown’s funeral.

Sensible Mom saw the Wellstone connection
Indy Conservative liveblogged it.
Gina Cobb notes that Carter always praises Hamas, among others.
Newton is writing with her baseball bat, again :-) She’s mad! She’s sharing the bat with Gerald.
Sister Toljah ain’t happy neither.
Then again, the personal is political?
SoCalPundit suspects Dr. King would have had better manners.
Bizzy Blog patiently goes through the No WMD meme again which is good, when you consider that (sssshhhh the press isn’t talking about it but) congress is looking into the maybe-there-were-WMD-afterall scenario. Which sooner or later, we’ll find to be the case. I wonder if Lowery remembered that Bill and Hillary et al were talking about WMD way before Bush got into office? They seem to like to forget that. Captain Ed says, we owe history the full story on WMD, and we’re not working for it.

More links: Bob the Watchman feels a bit bad for the King family.
DC Thornton gives us a tale of two funerals.
Hazzmat calls it plain demagoguery.
GatewayPundit is just disgusted.
Captain Ed writes eloquently:

“…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.
” Yup. And it is why they cannot be trusted to lead. They don’t have any sense, anymore, of what is appropriate. Ever.
Noonz has a good-sized piece with lots of links.
Adam’s Web has an articulate and well done post in which he credits Clinton for pointing out that “there’s a woman in there.”:

Yes, Mr. President, there’s a woman in there, who like us all got it right sometimes and got it wrong at others. There was a woman in there who spoke with courage and stood up for what she believed.

Americans tuned into watch and Presidents came to say goodbye to someone who meant much to our country. Millions tuned into remember a great family and a great woman. They wanted to hear words that spoke not to partisan feelings, nor cheapshots. They wanted to see our nation come together to honor a great woman’s passing, to mourn the end of an era.

Instead, we got a classless, graceless performance in which a sitting President who came to share the condolence of the American people was attacked in the most cowardly way possible, at a time when he could not defend himself.

The American people don’t like classlessness and petty politics and for turning a dead woman into a political prop, Democrats will pay a price.

UPDATE: Instapundit gets the impression that Chris Matthews was embarrassed by the behavior of the Dems, due to this exchange. Props to him if he had the sense to be embarrassed (I certainly am quick to say when my party or my church embarrass me) but I figure by tomorrow he’ll have his talking points. He doesn’t seem embarrassed, to me, in that clip.
Victoria writes with sensitivity and her usual gracefulness.
BullMoose has a lowkey and sensible musing on it all.

UPDATE II: ABP notes a strange omission in later WaPo stories. Outside the Beltway reminds those Democrats accusing us of “telling black people how to mourn” that we had the same reaction to the politicizing of Paul Wellstone’s funeral. “No one is arguing that the King family does not have the right to turn their matriarch’s funeral into a pep rally. But this was a public event attended by the sitting president of the United States. Surely, if it is going to be politicized, we have a right to comment on it.”

UPDATE III: Protein Wisdom takes issue with the idea of giving up the fight for civil rights history, and he makes some good points.

WELCOME Instapundit, CQ and Betsy readers! While you’re here, please look around! Today we’re also talking about the quality of Condi, the anger of Hillary, cartoons and their effects on some people, and John Bolton’s Peace Prize nomination.

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