Here’s a “light bulb” moment to consider.
This one came to me as I relaxed one evening last week, semi-watching the Fox News program “Hannity & Colmes.” Conservative host Sean Hannity turned to his guest, identified as a “Democrat” and a regular Fox News contributor (like a two-headed calf is a regular at the state fair) and asked her about the controversy du jour on the presidential campaign trail: the MLK/LBJ controversy.
In case you missed it, let me explain the hubbub.
Sen. Barack Obama gave a stump speech deriding status-quo politicians who would offer “false hope” of change for America. He didn’t name the offending politicians, but it was a clear enough reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett (a former Review-Journal reporter, for those collecting Las Vegas media trivia) interviewed Hillary about it. She was prepared.
She said she’d bring “real” change (as opposed to Obama) and used the civil rights struggle as an example. Martin Luther King Jr. did much for civil rights, but, she noted, it took President Lyndon B. Johnson to get the Civil Rights Act passed through Congress and signed into law.
And so the controversy, such as it is, began.
Hillary critics said it was a not-so-subtle injection of race into the campaign. I’m no mind reader, so I don’t know if it was or not. It was, however, an odd way to make her point. Is the martyr for righteous change any less important than the politician who enacts it?
Anyway, back to the exchange on “Hannity & Colmes.” By raising the MLK/LBJ example, Hannity pressed his guest to admit that Hillary played the race card here, just as she’s played the gender card in the past.
The two-headed calf took issue mightily. While the MLK/LBJ reference was an error in judgment because it could be easily misinterpreted, she said, Hillary was not injecting racial bias into the campaign, and she certainly has never, ever used the gender card in her candidacy.
Now for the “light bulb” moment.
The house phone rang. “Who was it?” I asked my Republican wife.
“It was an automated phone message from the Hillary campaign. She needs you to caucus on Saturday because it’s time for a ‘woman’ in the White House. I hung up on them for you.”
Drifting back into a TV-induced vegetative state, I briefly wondered: Where’s Sean Hannity’s phone number when you need it?
Caucus or Sabbath II
Some politicos suggest I’m off-base in my criticism of the choice by the state Democratic and Republican parties to hold Nevada’s presidential caucuses on Saturday morning, a time that disenfranchises those who observe the Sabbath.
It only affects a few hundred Orthodox Jews, the gutless party defenders whispered.
Besides the number of disenfranchised being so not the point, it shows a stunning lack of understanding of the Jewish community. You don’t have to be Orthodox to diligently observe the Sabbath. There’s also a significant Christian group, Seventh-Day Adventists, who are affected. Together, it’s significant population.
The point is no one should be forced to choose between faith and civic duty. A Saturday morning caucus does that.
Second note to party leaders: Stop defending it and apologize — and promise to change it.
Sherman Frederick is publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media. Readers may write him at sfrederick@ reviewjournal.com.