On November 5, 2008 CBS News’s Maggie Rodriguez asked her guest, “Did you think also, Dr. King, about your presidential quests in 84 and 88 and how you laid the foundation for his victory yesterday?”
No, I’m not having a Biden moment. And no, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not survive an assassination attempt in 1968, run for president twenty years later, and chat about Barack Obama’s victory on CBS at age 80. Maggie Rodriguez’s guest was not the great American hero Martin Luther King, Jr., but the unhinged has-been Jesse Jackson. Rodriguez’s Freudian slip is profoundly depressing — and more than a little telling.
The worst side effect (so far) of Obama’s election is, without question, the inescapable clip of Jesse Jackson weeping like the virtuous embodiment of the Civil Rights movement itself. In July, he wanted to castrate Barack Obama for telling black people not to be victims. A month ago, he decided Obama wasn’t that bad because he’d wrest foreign policy control from the hands of evil Zionists. Two days ago he became (forever) the visual reference point for the majestic resolution of America’s history of racial inequality. After decades of anti-Semitic, race-huckstering, demagogical theater, Jesse Jackson gets to finish his career as an iconic image of what’s best in America.
The fact of Jackson’s twilight P.R. coup is doubly unjust in that it taints the extraordinary accomplishments of Barack Obama, a singular talent who never dealt in the paranoid histrionics of which Jackson’s career has been comprised. Not that Jackson sees much difference between his worldview and the President-elect’s. He sees himself in the “role of conscience” in regard to today’s black movement, and describes himself as an Obama supporter. In his supporting role, he told the New York Post‘s Amir Tehari that, under Obama’s administration, “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end. I think it’s clear that a President Obama won’t go near Jackson with a ten-foot pole. As for the media: since they’re now in the business of suppressing videotapes, could they please shelve the one of the sobbing bigot?