Here Are Questions That Tim Russert Failed To Ask Hilary Rodham Clinton On Meet The Press Yesterday
Tim Russert is an exceptionally good broadcast journalist. I say this with no ambiguity. However, like every one of us, sometimes you just have a bad day. Tim Russert had a bad day at the office yesterday. Regularly on a Sunday morning, political junkies all over the world, tune in to NBC to watch his “Meet the Press” program. He generally brings in elected officials and prominent political people, to answer tough questions about contemporary issues. He is quite good at what he does. Yesterday he brought in Hillary Rodham Clinton.
If someone was to ask me to use one word in summing up yesterday’s performance by Tim Russert, it would be: pusillanimous. From jump-street, he seemed ruffled by Hillary Clinton’s brashness and recalcitrance. He dropped the ball many times. In this column I will give you six areas of questioning that Russert should have asked-or followed up on- to answers HRC gave. These questions relate to just on one issue alone: the controversy swirling around her Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Barack Obama remarks. When you are through reading them, then imagine what would have happened if I had delved into other issues. Enjoy.
(To: Ms. Hilary Rodham Clinton)
If you say that at age fourteen, you personally heard Martin Luther King speak; and further, that he is one of the people that you “admire most in the world”; then how do you explain, that just a few years after you heard him speak- and given that you admire him so much- you were heading up a group supporting Barry Goldwater for President of the USA (POTUS)? Didn’t you know that Barry Goldwater was a vocal critic of Dr. Martin Luther King, and a person who spent loads of time and energy attempting to prevent civil rights legislation from ever passing Congress? Did you know that Barry Goldwater was one of those senators who supported the filibustering of civil rights legislation and voted against it? Did you know that he also voted against Voting Rights legislation? How do you then explain the dichotomy between your statement about MLK, and your support for Barry Goldwater for POTUS; since they don’t seem to equate; since they do seem adverse to each other; since they seem intellectually and philosophically inconsistent and/or incompatible?
What specifically did you publicly do for the civil rights movement, during the civil-rights era and afterwards? Can you give specifics, substance, dates, times, places, videos, audios, newspaper clippings, organizations, etcetera? Can you name witnesses, supporters, co-workers, and etcetera? And while you are at it, tell us what you have done specifically (avoid generalities please) for blacks, since you have been a Senator? Name programs, legislation, initiatives and/ or such, which were conceptualized, crafted and created by you or your office?
When you recently made the remarks that started off a brouhaha, it was about Dr. Martin Luther King, President Lyndon B. Johnson and President John F. Kennedy; do you think your remarks were necessary? Couldn’t you have tried to make your political points against Obama in another way? In retrospect would you have said these things given what you know now, and given the present blow-up and divisive fallout?
This is one of the remarks in question: “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964; when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, which the president before (Eisenhower) had not even tried (to do); but it took a president to get it done”.
This is another remark amplifying the first: “the dream (of MLK) became a reality; the power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a president who said that ‘we are going to make it happen’; and actually got it accomplished”.
You further elaborated that it took a doer like you to get it done (civil rights legislation). And further yet, you implied that LBJ was a doer, and that you do need a president- suggesting of course that it couldn’t be gotten done without the president- contrasting and comparing the presidency (even if not the deliberate aim) to the civil rights movement itself; and since those remarks you have been met with much resentment and many objections from certain quarters of the African-American community (especially); do you understand the reasons for these outbursts, the outcry in general, the resentment and objections? And what can you say to those who believe that in trying to put-down and trivialize Obama’s candidacy, you belittled MLK’s legacy and minimized his lifelong work in this area? What do you say to those who believe that you did this in order to elevate LBJ to the level of a legislative magus, to subtlety leave the message that the black man could dream but it took the white man to get it done? What do you say to those who believe that it was a caucasianesque way of looking at the civil rights era, and is revisionist history at its worst; since the struggles, pain and sacrifice of those blacks who fought and died for their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights, were devalued?
This was Barack Obama’s initial response to your original statement (“he is peddling false hopes”), which started off this quagmire: “JFK didn’t look at the moon and say ‘too far; can’t happen’; Dr. King didn’t look out to that large crowd in the Capitol and say ‘too hard; won’t happen’; they were both audacious in hoping (and dreaming)”. He further added that because of their hopes (and dreams) many good things were realized. He further added that those who tell you not to hope and dream were in Washington too long, and too experienced in the ways of Washington that we need to change.
So with this as a backdrop, how can you (Hilary) now say that Obama started all this, and that he attacked you first; and also, that he compared himself to JFK and MLK? And given that Obama has a history of racial neutrality, how can your campaign go even further to say that he is interjecting race into the campaign and exploiting the issue; especially when any blind person could see that racial issues will only have the potential to hurt Obama’s campaign? Hasn’t race issues been something Obama avoided (somewhat) for years?
Since all this a started over the issue of “experience” versus “hope-peddling”, with you professing to have more political experience than Obama; let’s talk about that. You claim to have 35 years of political experience in fighting for civil-rights and women’s rights and such; you also claim to have years of political activism and experience in government; and yet you have only held elected office for seven years; Mr. Obama has held it for eleven years; who is the more experienced legislator? Does 20 years experience as wife of both the governor (Arkansas) and president (USA) really count as governmental experience? If it does by your estimation, tell us why it should; and what exactly (specifically) did you do in those capacities that justifies your claim?
Why Tim Russert missed these questions and their follow-ups, we will never know; but he did. What we do know is that the controversy surrounding HRC’s remarks isn’t going away anytime soon; just as I predicted after she won the NH primary. And to think that many of my detractors thought that I was just blowing hot air. When will they ever learn respect to respect my political analysis?
Stay tuned-in folks; this thing is hotter than Paris Hilton’s sex tapes.
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