January 17, 2006

Cotton Picking Mind


From The New York Sun: Senator Likens House to Slavery, Drawing Rebukes From Some.

Martin Luther King Jr. fought four decades ago to free black Americans from the legacy of slavery. Yesterday, Senator Clinton compared the Republican leadership of the current House of Representatives to the very idea the civil rights leader dedicated his life to fighting.

"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run - it has been run like a plantation," she said. "You know what I'm talking about."

Mrs. Clinton, who was addressing a packed house at the Reverend Al Sharpton's annual Martin Luther King Day event at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, continued: "It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary point of view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard. The Senate's not that bad, but it's been difficult. It's been difficult."

Later in the afternoon, Mrs. Clinton's press secretary, Philippe Reines, declined to comment on the senator's allusion to slavery, but he said she was simply discussing "a top-down system that is fundamentally at odds with how the people's House should operate."

Mrs. Clinton's reference to one of the darkest periods of American history drew applause, but some national political observers said yesterday that they doubt the comparison of mainstream politicians to slave owners will help the senator win broad-based support as she tests the political waters for a possible presidential campaign.

"The use of the term plantation is foolish, and my guess is that she will live to regret this," a University of Virginia political analyst, Larry Sabato, said. "She's playing the race card."

UPDATE I: Michelle Malkin has an extensive round-up of links on the topic.

UPDATE II: From CNN: Clinton's 'plantation' remark draws fire.

"It's definitely using the race card. It definitely has racist connotations. She knows it," [New York, Rep. Peter ] King said. "She knew the audience. She knew what she was trying to say, and it was wrong. And she should be ashamed."

However, the host of the event where Clinton made her remarks Monday, activist Al Sharpton, disagreed with the criticism.

"I absolutely defend her saying it because I said it through the '04 elections," he said.

UPDATE III -- Jan. 18: Michelle Malkin has still more.

Posted by Forkum at January 17, 2006 05:17 PM