"Don't use Martin Luther King against Joe Biden": The must-see Biden, Bernie surrogate debate over evil of "white moderates" on CNN

It started out so well — or at least not so bad — but it didn’t take long for a debate between surrogates for the Democratic front-runners turned into a food fight over … Martin Luther King, Jr? Chris Cuomo tried to have Nina Turner and Hilary Rosen stick to answering criticisms of their own candidates in this CNN segment, but Lowey tried defending Bernie Sanders’ socialism with Dr. King’s comments about “white moderates” in his letter from the Birmingham jail.

A few minutes later, Rosen, who had just announced her endorsement of Joe Biden, erupted at that reference — and the ensuing fight left Cuomo looking like he was auditioning for one of those old Southwest Airline commercials.

Want to get away? The first reference comes in at the three-minute mark, but it gets started in earnest at five-thirty:

And it gets really lit at the 6:33 mark:

CUOMO: Last quick point to you, Nina.

TURNER: Chris, what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was talking about, he said it is the point that the white moderate wants things to be comfortable instead of focusing in on — the bigger threat is not necessarily the white KKK member, but more the white moderate that is more comfortable in keeping things the same and pretending like there is no tension than to deal — [crosstalk]

ROSEN: Don’t — don’t use Martin Luther King against Joe Biden. You don’t have — you don’t have that standing. I’m sorry, you don’t.

TURNER: Don’t tell me what kind of standing I have as a black woman in America! How dare you! First of all — [crosstalk]

Turner doesn’t have “standing” to discuss the issue? What does that even mean? That led to this commentary shortly afterward on Twitter:

For the record, Turner was more correct about the MLK argument about white moderates than was Rosen. You can read the letter in its original form here; King was expressing profound frustration and disappointment in the white moderates of his era not for their “silence,” as Rosen argued, but because they were vocally urging King and civil rights leaders to go slow and let time take care of everything. They cared more for order than justice, King argued, not realizing (or more likely not caring) that order without justice is little more than authoritarianism.

None of this is terribly applicable to Bernie Sanders or his socialist agenda, though. King wasn’t discussing political ideologies but basic human rights and equality under the law in his time. Here, it’s a non-sequitur. Tossing it into this discussion was intended to blow it up, and Rosen stepped right into that trap.

At the end, Chris Cuomo was left with little to say except to remind the two that they were in the same party. One has to wonder for how long.