Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PROFESSOR HILLARY CLINTON'S LESSON IN POLITICAL HISTORY

Down in Boca Raton, Florida, Hillary Clinton is doing her best imitation of, well, people like me. Politico reports that "Clinton, at times sounding like a modern history professor, praised the abolitionists, suffragettes and civil rights pioneers and talked about her own efforts to fight legislative redistricting and voter identification initiatives that she said dilute minority voting power."

She analogizes her effort to count the contested results of the premature primaries in Michigan and Florida to the actions of courageous activists who "refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote."

I am all in favor of voting rights--and I agree that it is in the interest of the Democratic Party to figure out how to handle the unresolved mess of the Florida and Michigan primaries. But Hillary's analogy is history as hyperbole. With all due respect to candidate Clinton, she is no Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Lucretia Mott. If she were, she would have long ago figured out a way to let the Michiganians and Floridians revote, after a full campaign with both candidates represented on the ballot. For the sake of the Democratic Party, I do hope that she and Obama reach some sort of amicable agreement that allows the seating of those two states' delegations. But ultimately, their fate does not rise of the level of enslaved African Americans or disenfranchised women.