Hillary to Obama: You're no MLK -- although I might be LBJ

Never mind the creepy intro she got from her supporter comparing Obama to JFK before pointedly noting that he was assassinated. If that had happened at a Romney rally it’d be front-page news and Keith Olbermann would be breathing into a paper bag. But the media is what it is, and no charge of a “climate of hate” emanating from the Clinton godhead to animate deranged gunmen will stick. Never mind the plain truth, either, of what she said about Obama and MLK. That won’t save her from the dreaded Drudge red font of death, and in fairness to Barry O, he’s not claiming to be a moral leader of King’s stature. He’s claiming to be someone in the Kennedy/King line of charismatic progressives whose idealism Americans (especially kids) are inspired by. Although the messianic hysteria currently surrounding him does add some resonance to Melanie Phillips’s analogy.

The truly weird thing here is Hillary comparing herself implicitly to LBJ. True, he was an “agent of change” in some respects (i.e. civil rights) — but he was also the ultimate Washington insider and, um, infamous for extending and escalating an unpopular war. Is that really the image she wants to pitch to the nutroots and their cohorts?

Today, in Dover, Francine Torge, a former John Edwards supporter, said this while introducing Mrs. Clinton: “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation…

[Said Hillary,] “You know, today Senator Obama used President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to criticize me. He basically compared himself to our greatest heroes because they gave great speeches.

“President Kennedy was in Congress for 14 years. He was a war hero. He was a man of great accomplishments and readiness to be president. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a movement. He was gassed. He was beaten. He was jailed. And he gave a speech that was one of the most beautifully, profoundly important speeches ever written in America, the “I have a dream” speech.

“And then he worked with President Johnson to get the civil rights laws passed, because the dream couldn’t be realized until finally it was legally permissible for people of all colors and backgrounds and races and ethnicities to be accepted as citizens.

In other words, dreams are well and good but they don’t mean jack without an experienced pol who’s willing and able to actually get legislation passed. She’s not the candidate of hope and change, then — but she can help those who want hope and change to git ‘r done. Anyone think that pitch is going to persuade when she’s up against someone selling himself as the redeemer of all mankind?

Go read Captain Ed to see how the identity-politics experts deal with a crisis situation like this. Exit question: There is indisputably something good coming out of Obamamania, isn’t there?

Update: The Journal says undeclared Senators are starting to tilt towards Barry O. Plus:

The road may get harder immediately after New Hampshire. The all-important Culinary Workers union in Nevada, the next state to vote on Jan. 19, is considering backing Sen. Obama a day after a New Hampshire win, say some high-ranking Democrats. The support of the state’s largest union by far would virtually hand him a victory in the labor-dominated caucuses there, Democrats say. And the Clinton campaign is considering effectively ceding South Carolina, which votes a week later. Her once-strong support in the state’s large black population eroded and Sen. Obama opened a big lead in polls after Iowa’s caucus results energized many blacks with the prospect that a man of their race stands a realistic chance of being nominated.