Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why a President Mattered to the Civil Rights Movement

Bill Moyers on how the media and political opponents blew Hillary Clinton's comments about Lyndon Johnson's role in the 1960s civil rights reforms out of proportion in order to score some emotional points on race:

As you can see, Moyer's commentary is less about Clinton and more about the role that a President can play in forcing through democratic reform when the majority refuses it. LBJ did more than any other President, reinforcing anti-discrimination provisions in place since 1875. Because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, LBJ stands ahead of John F. Kennedy, whose legacy on civil rights seems only slightly forward of Dwight Eisenhower's.

The whole debate on race and civil rights during this 2008 campaign was unnecessary and ugly and it was spurred on by the mainstream media. As much as Martin Luther King, Jr. should be honored for what he has done, he could not have done it by himself. He needed the help of the President. It is just that simple. Dr. King knew that, which is why he met and spoke regularly with both LBJ and JFK.


  1. Maybe it's because I don't watch TV news, but I could have sworn that the people who went ape over it were the bloggers and their followers. Not all, to be sure; Josh Marshall tried to keep an even keel. But I think there's plenty of blame to go around; you can't pin exclusive blame on the MSM.

  2. No argument there. Bloggers were some of the worst offenders and some of them spread the baseless criticism without reference to context.