Words have meaning. Words spoken in haste or in anger or in horror are often harsher than would be spoken in normal conversation.
Words spoken in a heightened state of emotion are forgivable. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. Please forgive me," are almost always … forgiven.
But words spoken in measured tones, or before a friendly audience are keepers. You cannot say, "Oops.
While speaking at a Black church in Harlem, New York on Martin Luther King's birthday, Hillary Rodham Jemima Clinton said that the Bush Administration was the worst in American history.
If that had been the worst thing she had said, it would have gone down in as a footnote; as a stupid remark made by a New York Senator, simultaneously running for re-election and for President and trying to, like her sometime-husband, triangulate among the moderate wing of the Democratic party and its extreme left wing. In a real sense, she was preaching to the choir.
But, as you know, she went on to say, according to the Associated Press, that the Republican-controlled House "has been run like a plantation."
This was said in response to a question, which led me to suggest on Fox 'n Friends yesterday morning that it had all the earmarks of a planted (pun intended) question and a rehearsed answer.
First of all Hillary Rodham Jemima Clinton is a member of the US Senate. There is a long tradition in the Congress of the United States that a member of the Senate does not criticize the House and a member of the House does not criticize the Senate.
In fact, until recently it was considered bad form to even mention the other guys. They were referred to as "the other body."
So, Hillary Rodham Jemima Clinton decided to use the highly charge word, "plantation," in a Black church on King's birthday to score political points.
It was pandering at its lowest.
Black political leaders (hold onto me lest I faint) leapt to her defense. That surprised me.\
According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged, the definition of a "plantation" is:
A (usually) large estate in a tropical or subtropical region that is generally cultivated by unskilled or semiskilled labor under central direction.
In common American usage, the "unskilled or semiskilled labor" were slaves. Black slaves.
I am surprised that Black leaders didn't say that using the imagery of a "plantation" as a cheap political punch line, belittled the cruelty and inhumanity which Blacks suffered in the era of slavery in the US.
But they didn't. They allowed themselves to be patronized by Hillary, and thus belittled themselves.
Imagine if Hillary Rodham Yenta Clinton had not been speaking at Black Church in Harlem but, rather, had been speaking at a Jewish Synagogue in Queens. And suppose she had said that the Republican-controlled House "has been run like a concentration camp."
Think she would have gotten away with it?
What's the difference?
Before our appearance on Wolf Blitzer's CNN program yesterday, I asked former Democratic Chairman of the Democratic Party of California if they were going to be able to find anyone to run against Arnold for Governor. He countered by asking if the GOP had found anyone to run against Hillary for US Senate.
The difference is: Hillary is running for President in 2008. Arnold is not.
That "plantation" line might well prove a pyrrhic victory. She might have scord cheap points in Harlem - where she didn't need them. And for the price of it, find herself in big trouble in southern and border states in 2008 when her primary opponents like Mark Warner of Virginia and Bill Richardson of New Mexico, throw that remark in her face.
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A history of "Aunt Jemima" pancakes which is pretty interesting. Definitions of "pander" and "pyrrhic victory;" Another license plate Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.