Shelby Steele takes a harsh look at Hillary Clinton’s Martin Luther King Day speech in his Wall Street Journal column “Hillary’s plantation.” Steele writes:
Mrs. Clinton came to Al Sharpton’s MLK celebration looking for an easy harvest of black votes. And she knew the drill–white liberals and Dems whistle for the black vote by pandering to the black sense of grievance. Once positioned as the white champions of this grievance, they actually turn black resentment into white liberal power. Today, Democrats cannot be competitive without this alchemy. So Mrs. Clinton’s real insult to blacks–one far uglier than her plantation metaphor–is to value them only for their sense of grievance.
Mrs. Clinton’s husband was a master of this alchemy, and his presidency also illustrated its greatest advantage. Once black grievance is morphed into liberal power, it need never be honored. President Clinton notoriously felt black pain, won the black vote, and then rewarded blacks with the cold shower of welfare reform. And here, now, is Mrs. Clinton sidling up to the trough of black grievance, eyes wide in expectation, but also a tad contemptuous. It is hard to fully respect one’s suckers.