Remarkably, [Obama] instead reached back -- over King and Lincoln -- to George Washington. He rooted the values he cherishes most (and wants us to renew) in the Founders, in the First Republic, the slave-tainted one (as our schoolchildren are incessantly reminded) that had to await Lincoln for its cleansing. Obama's unapologetic celebration of Washington and the Founders of the original imperfect union was a declaration of his own emancipation from -- or better, transcendence of -- the civil rights movement.
How is that a repudiation of the civil rights movement? Wasn't the notion of redeeming the original promises of America's founding the main intellectual basis for the civil rights movement? I would refer Krauthammer to an obscure text that plays a minor role in the history of the movement:
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ...
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."