“Help make history! Keep the momentum going,” says the Hillary website, and boy when she does it she really does it. As the Republicans head to the industrial wasteland formerly known as Michigan – all Democrats but Hillary have taken themselves off the ballot, as the delegates may not be seated – the Dems are focusing on South Carolina, a state of deep significance not for its numbers, but because it is one of those places that produces more history than it can locally consume.

The first state to secede from the Union, it was also a big source of the Civil Rights movement. With a 60% black population, and a white populace who calls the Civil War “the late great unpleasantness”, the place is pretty schizophrenic. So the one thing you’d do is line up behind the late great movement that changed the country and the world right?

Not according to Hils. Barely noticed a few days ago, her recent comment – that Martin Luther King couldn’t have done what he did without a sympathetic president, LBJ, in the White House – is perhaps not untrue, but it’s kinda of the order of “that Mother Theresa… she’d be nothing without Pfizer”. 

Clinton has already started to backpedal on the quote, but it’s typical of her mixture of desperation and arrogance that she would make it in the first place. LBJ did get behind the Civil Rights bill – noting that the South would be lost to the Democrats for a generation, an underestimate as it turned out – but he was also faced with the Democrat party splitting down the middle if he didn’t. FDR had glanced at the possibility of civil rights in ’44, shamed perhaps by the number of black soldiers dying to fight racism, and quickly retreated, as did JFK.

But only Hillary could think that LBJ – this simultaneously roguish, brilliant, corrupt and principled man – is someone people would ever want to identify with. It’s a mistake Bill never would have made.

CNN is calling the gaffe “the moment which will look historic in retrospect”, as South Carolina congressman and powerbroker, James Cliburn – a civil rights veteran himself – has stepped away from his previous uncommitted position and is “weighing his options”. An Obama endorsement from him might make all the difference. Clinton’s team meanwhile are criticising Obama for making too much of the comment – but well they would wouldn’t they?

It’s simply a measure of the key role Strom Thurmond’s old state will play in the lead up to Tsunami Tuesday. It has leapt ahead of New Hampshire as the sounding board of a nation’s aspirations and desires.