Friday, July 11, 2008

Obama's Sister Souljah Moment

In an earlier post, I suggested that Jesse Jackson's "nuts" controversy provided Barack Obama an opportunity to "break dramatically from the racial grievance masters of the Democratic Party's black-American base." Jackson's coments, in other words have provided Obama his Sister Souljah moment.

Dan Balz, at the Washington Post, makes
a similar point:

Barack Obama leads a charmed life. He finally had his Sister Souljah moment and didn't even have to show up. Jesse Jackson did it for him solo.

Sixteen years ago, Bill Clinton used a Jackson-sponsored forum to rebuke the rap singer for suggesting that black people "have a week and kill white people" rather than each other. Jackson fumed as Clinton made the comments and denounced them later. Politically, Clinton came out such a winner that "Sister Souljah moment" now has its own entry in Wikipedia.

Roll forward to this week and the controversy that is attracting so much attention. Obama did not have to rebuke an important constituency himself to define himself as different from the Jackson-Sharpton wing of the Democratic Party. Being attacked by Jackson was more than enough to get across the point. Whatever people may know or think they know about Obama, they can no longer mistake him as a direct descendant of old-style black politics....

Whatever his disagreements, Jackson's outburst suggested that he has some fundamental disagreements with Obama's worldview. The more he makes that clear, the better it's likely to be for Obama. Jackson is an old-fashioned liberal with an abiding faith in government, for which he makes no apologies. He has kept that flame burning for many years.

But he is also trapped in a battle that was resolved within the Democratic Party long ago, when Bill Clinton declared the era of big government over. The party is comfortable with both governmental and non-governmental solutions and Obama is on the other side of that divide. He speaks in a language that is foreign to Jackson's ears.
I'm not fully in agreement that Obama is "fully over that divide," as the Illinois Senator's policy proposals would make Lyndon Johnson smile.

But I do think Balz hits the bullseye with his points on Jackson, and thus Obama's opportunity. Jackson-style post-civil right black leaders are caught in a time-warp of grievance politics - the "
blood of martyrs" - that turns the contemporary civil rights agenda into a guilt-mongering shake-down scam.

The opportunity for Obama is to fully denounce the racial politics of victimology. He has yet to do so formally, although he has thrown MoveOn and the radical netroots under the bus.

I'm seeing some outrageous rejection of the Sister Souljah frame for Jackson's "nuts" controversy, of course.The leftist
Obsidian Wings says just raising the issue is "racist":

I keep hearing that Nutsgate is a “Sister Souljah moment” for Obama. Frankly, it’s annoying me. First – it’s not a Sister Souljah moment at all. Second – I’m sick of that term. It’s time to retire the Sister Souljah label altogether. It’s inaccurate, and even borderline racist....

The [use of] “Sister Souljah” means distancing oneself from black people. When used in this sense, the Sister Souljah label masks an uglier, racial dimension lurking below the conceptual surface.
It takes a lot of, well, balls, to argue racism is at issue in suggesting Barack Obama ought to distance himself from the hardline black grievance-politics constituency.

But note here
the deep sickness in Obsidian Wings' reference to racism.

The author of this post has no business writing about race and politics if he fails to realize the Jackson's comment was a call to lynch Barack Obama. Lynching was the standard tool of terror for racist night-riders in post-bellum America, and the phenomenon wasn't just isolated to Dixie. For Jesse Jackson to even suggest Obama's castration recalls the face of horror so devious that to argue against those who criticize him as "racist" reveals a strange, malevolent victim's irrationality.

It is not "racist" to repudiate the "master's mentality" of racial recrimnation that drives the grievance hordes of the black underclass interest group lobby. This is the very cohort that Balz suggests is stuck in a time warp.

You know we're in a very strange era of politcs when lefties twist the genuinely evil comments of a discreditied civil rights icon into some form of alleged neo-Reaganite anti-black ideology.

See also, "'Nuts' Case: How Did Media Cover Jesse Jackson's Choice of Words?"


UPDATE: For more substantiation of my thesis here, that lefties have no sense of the seriousness of Jackson's "cutting" remarks, look no further than Young Ezra Klein, who says:

Jackson is getting a bad rap. The problem was the live mic, not his comment. His comment was a private utterance, graphically constructed, but not atypical for conversations between friends.
This is really unbelievable.

The problem is not a "live mic." The problem is that Jackson is so consumed by jealousy at Barack Obama's success, that in his sickening mental complex of faded civil rights glory he freely conjures up images of castrating the Democratic nominee, and his powerful comfort in talking about these sentiments in a casual off-the-cuff style reveals an absolute degree of utter moral depravity.

I've said it many times, but again, there's truly an absence of "divine soul" among today's hardline leftists.

The more I see of these episodes, the more depressing the prospect of Democratic power next year becomes (or, this is all the more reason Barack Obama needs to throw these nihilists under the damn bus!).