Nearly three weeks after the shooting incident in Ferguson, and after a good deal of grousing about her silence from the Left, Hillary Clinton finally piped up… at one of her paid speaking engagements, of course. Even if you were comfortable with the idea of reaching Judgment Day without ever knowing what Hillary Clinton thinks about the incident, you’ve got to appreciate the humor of her weighing in this late in the game, after gallons of ink and billions of pixels had been spilled. And it’s not because she’s wisely withholding judgment until investigations and legal procedures are complete. Her remarks couldn’t have been more comically stiff and calculated if a squad of pollsters had actually accompanied her on-stage and punched her speech into the teleprompter.
Time describes Hillary’s efforts to retroactively insert herself into yesterday’s news:
The likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate addressed the both the shooting and the days of often violent protests that followed, saying ???this is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray.???
Clinton???s comments came at the end of a paid speaking appearance in San Francisco. She said her ???heart just broke??? for Brown???s family after the unarmed 18-year old was shot by police officer Darren Wilson more than two weeks ago. She also condemned the ???terrible??? images on television of heavily-armed police facing off with largely peaceful protestors. ???Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone,??? she said. ???Not in America, we are better than that.??? And Clinton called for a renewed focus on reforming the nation???s criminal justice system, saying the country must confront lingering unfairness.
???We can???t ignore the inequities that persist in our justice system that undermine our most deeply held values of fairness and equality,??? she said.
???Imagine what we with would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers, instead of the other way around,??? Clinton said. ???If white offenders received prison sentences 10 percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes. if a third of all white men???just look at this room and take one third???went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that. that is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans and so many of the communities in which they live.???
What’s any of that got to do with a young man pulling a strong-arm robbery, then getting shot after he assaulted a cop? The weird thing about Democrat political posturing and pandering over Ferguson is that it’s all frozen in amber on the night after the shooting took place, as though highly significant details about the incident had not been revealed since then. We’re back to watching the Tides of Narrative sweep away the actual events of the Brown shooting, the words and deeds of the individual people involved fading to insignificance because this is Really All About traffic stops, prison sentences, or whatever.
If Hillary Clinton had any capacity for self-criticism, she would discuss how this tendency to graft long-running Narratives onto tragic incidents contributes to the fraying of those community “bonds of trust and respect”. Once you’ve asserted that Ferguson is about Big Issues instead of what transpired between one police officer and one citizen, actual justice becomes an intolerable betrayal of the issues. It becomes difficult for people to accept investigations and verdicts that don’t line up with what politicians and agitators told them the incident was “really all about.”
Riot response and militarized police forces are a separate topic of fair discussion. I notice Clinton didn’t seem very interested in chastising the rioters who produced “terrible images” and made the “streets look like a war zone.” It’s not in the Time excerpts, but The Hill says Clinton did throw in some praise for “decent and respectful law enforcement officers, who showed what quality law enforcement looks like,” so at least she was willing to make a qualified rhetorical concession to law and order. Any comments on the heavily armed police who faced off against protesters who weren’t “largely peaceful?”
As to why Hillary finally decided to speak up, The Hill draws a contrast with presumptive 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul’s speedy penning of an op-ed (two weeks ago now!) “criticizing the ‘militarization’ of police and racial inequities in the justice system.” After spending a few weeks studying polls and hoping nobody would drag her into the quagmire, Clinton belated realized she couldn’t let potential rivals like Paul leave her in the dust, so she decided to toss a little “me too” chip on the table.
Also, there’s the famed Clinton hubris to consider:
Clinton noted that her remarks fell on the 51st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.???s ???I Have A Dream??? speech during the 1963 March on Washington. ???That mission is as fiercely urgent today as when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the hot August sun all those years ago,??? she said. ???So we have a lot of work to do together.???
It takes a very special degree of clueless arrogance to link your box-checking pander with the “I Have a Dream” speech. Luckily for Clinton, box-checking is all she needs to keep her ambitions alive in the general election – those who grumbled about her silence, like Al Sharpton, aren’t going to make her pay any price for it once she’s the Democrat nominee – and she’s not likely to run against anyone who would give her a really hard time about going AWOL on Ferguson in the primaries.