Hillary Clinton Finally Comments on Ferguson, Focuses on Race-Based Enforcement Injustices


Did it really take that long to get the comments focus group-tested?
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Hey, remember when Paul Waldman in The Washington Post wondered where the libertarians were on Michael Brown's killing in Ferguson, Missouri, and then Sen. Rand Paul wrote a big op-ed in Time the next day denouncing both the militarization of the police and the racial injustices of the way blacks are treated by law enforcement and courts?

Just thought I should remind folks about that happening nearly two weeks ago.

In completely unrelated news, presumptive Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton finally weighed in on the events in Ferguson yesterday. The Washington Post has some video footage of her prepared comments here. She makes a vague reference to the militarization of police by saying "Nobody wants our streets to look like a war zone," but she focused much more on the racism inherent in how our current justice system operates:

Imagine what we 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. If white offenders received prison sentences ten 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 in so many of the communities in which they live.

Her comments aren't bad at all (though her vagueness on militarization suggests to me that she doesn't see the distribution of equipment as a problem but rather its use in these circumstances). But it certainly took her a long time to articulate simple thoughts about racial injustice that aren't actually all that controversial or new and haven't already been said in response to Ferguson. Remember, this is the woman who campaigned against Barack Obama with the famous "3 a.m. phone call" that she would be more ready to lead at a moment's notice than any of her Democratic rivals:

There's nothing wrong with taking a day or so to get your thoughts together over the complex issues that drove what happened in Ferguson. But two weeks after everybody else? It makes her look like she wanted to evaluate what everybody else was saying first.