"This commemorative ceremony this morning and this afternoon is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over," said former President Carter, who remarks brought loud cheers. "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, those who were most devastated by Katrina, to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."
Carters comments ring true about Bush and his right-wing Republican followers a group of rabid racists whose tokenism only deepens the racial divide in this country.
But Carter drew even louder cheers when he compared Kings struggles against FBI harassment and surveillance to Bushs use of the National Security Agency and other government agencies to spy on Americans.
Bush tried his usual plastic smile but his body language clearly showed discomfort as speaker after speaker zeroed in on the hypocrisy of his Presidency one that talks unity but practices division.
He offered phony applause when the Rev. Joseph Lowery, King protege and longtime critic, who cited Coretta King's opposition to the war in Iraq and scored the administrations phony commitment to helping the poor.
When Bushs turn came, the audience, for the most part, sat on their hands, offering only muted applause for his seven-minute eulogy. It was a pitiful performance by a President whose legacy is marked all too often by shameless self-promotion.
Longtime political scientist George Harleigh, who worked in both the Nixon and Reagan White House, called the Presidents appearance at Kings funeral the equivalent of a walk-on, a token but-failed attempt to show compassion that does not exist for a cause he does not support.
George Bush has never been a compassionate man, says Harleigh, but lately he looks more detached than normal, like someone going through the motions, marking his time and hoping against hope that his time is not up.
But Bush, despite his clumsy attempts to put on a strong public face, should realize he is living on borrowed time, not only as a lame duck President but as one who could well face impeachment if enough Democrats win seats in this falls House and Senate elections.
The Bush era is coming to an end in 2008 or perhaps even sooner, Harleigh says. It is an era that will not be remembered fondly.
There is little doubt that George W. Bush will go down in history as one of the most controversial, morally-challenged, dishonest Presidents to serve at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. What remains in doubt is how his Presidency will end and whether or not there will be an America left to put that painful memory behind it.
Originally published at Capitol Hill Blue