I've personally expressed support for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. And I still believe he's the candidate who can recreate the optimism and enthusiasm about our country that's been missing for so long. But I'm troubled about the latest tiff over the civil rights movement. Senator Hillary Clinton reminded us that without the support of President Lyndon Johnson, the great civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965 would never have made it through Congress. She's right. Johnson, who had been Senate Majority Leader before becoming vice president, knew which arms to twist and what promises to make in order to get the bills through Congress.
Johnson's skill at manipulating Congress does not detract one whit from the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., James Forman, Ralph Abernathy, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, or any of the other courageous black men and women of the civil rights movement. Senator Clinton was saying that without strong presidential leadership, progressive legislation is not likely to get through Congress. And she's right.
I still support Obama. But it's troubling that people in his campaign have made this unwarranted attack on what is simply a true statement.