Politics

Obama Politicizes a Funeral

Civil rights giant John Lewis deserved better than what he got from our 44th president.

Douglas Andrews · Jul. 31, 2020

Minnesota Democrats might have been excused some 18 years ago when, just a few days before the 2002 midterm elections, they turned an emotional memorial service for the late Senator Paul Wellstone into a bizarre political pep rally. After all, Wellstone, their young, energetic, and unabashedly liberal senator, had just been killed, along with seven others, in a plane crash.

Yet there was former President Barack Obama yesterday, paying “tribute” to a long-time congressman and civil rights hero by invoking the specter of racism and trotting out a far-left political wish list.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports, “Prominent Democrats have been dropping hints that they’d scrap the filibuster for legislation if they win the Senate. Would they really make such a polarizing move? Any doubt was eliminated Thursday when President Obama, speaking at the funeral for Congressman and civil-rights leader John Lewis, described the filibuster as a ‘Jim Crow relic’ that should be eliminated if it gets in the way of Democratic voting legislation or admitting Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico as states.”

Obama, who once campaigned for president as a “constitutional scholar,” must not have known that the Senate filibuster has been around since 1837 — long before the Jim Crow era began. Nor must he appreciate the historic role of the filibuster as our legislative branch’s essential tool for protecting the rights of the minority — even though he himself used it in 2006 in an effort to block the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and even though Democrats used it against the Civil Rights Act.

“If all of this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do,” railed Obama in his phony plug-and-play Southern drawl.

But were it not for the filibuster, one party controlling both houses of Congress even by the slimmest of majorities would have carte blanche to pass endless piles of flimsy legislation. They’d be empowered by the mob rather than bound by reasonable debate and thoughtful compromise. And every law they pass would be subject to being undone as soon our fickle electorate returns the other party to power.

“Republicans kept the legislative filibuster intact when Democrats were a minority,” the Journal continues. “But in a Democratic-controlled Senate, expect institutional arguments to wilt under the racism charge Mr. Obama previewed. … The filibuster is not embedded in the Constitution, and a majority can lawfully eliminate it. But voters should be aware of what they are getting when they pull the lever for Democratic Senate candidates — a legislature that may be unconstrained by institutional norms that have checked both parties for decades. The door to radicalism is getting busted wide open, and Americans of both parties may not like what comes out the other side.”

And so, a giant of the Civil Rights era has passed: a man who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King; a man whose skull was split open on the Edmund Pettus Bridge; a man who helped lead a real, honest, courageous struggle for equal rights, rather than a fake, pathetic, ginned-up, pseudo-struggle like those of today.

How did Barack Obama choose to memorialize him? By picking at old racial wounds and shamefully lobbying for the statehood of two non-states. Why? To give his political party four more Senate seats.

What a disgrace.

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