Biden’s Sister Souljah Moment

When I started writing in support of Judge J. Michele Childs for the Supreme Court I didn’t realize that she would be opposed by the hard-left in the Democratic Party. So, that was a happy surprise. Now there’s reason to support her all the more.

Last week the Washington Post reported on the growing unrest among progressives about the potential for a Childs nomination. They complain, basically, about two things: she once was a corporate lawyer and Sen. Lindsey Graham likes her.

“The fact that Lindsey Graham is vouching for her should give the White House pause,” said Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution, an organization set up by Sen. Bernie Sanders. He went on to say that picking her would “demoralize the base” and “side with corporate America.”

Cenk Uygur, the founder of the Young Turks, a left-wing news network said, “If Clyburn and Lindsey Graham agree on something, it’s an absolute guarantee that it’s something that is being pushed by corporate donors. And something progressives would be opposed to.” It should be noted here that Jim Clyburn is a long-time, well-respected, Black House member from South Carolina who, not coincidentally, is responsible for getting Biden elected president. Clyburn has been pushing his friend Biden to nominate fellow South Carolinian Childs.

Geevarghese and Uygur weren’t alone. While other activists were equally outspoken, hard-left House leaders were more circumspect, but you knew who they were talking about. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that there were plenty of qualified Black women to fill the seat so Democrats had the luxury of picking the most progressive among them.

All of which absolutely convinces me, as if I wasn’t before, that Biden should nominate Childs. For one thing, she can be confirmed. It’s astounding to me that all these folks on the left are going on as if anybody Biden puts forth would be confirmed. Let me introduce them to Sen. Joe Manchin. He’s a Democrat from West Virginia. He’s had something to say about the rest of the progressive agenda. You can look it up.

But there’s another good reason for Biden to pick Childs: the very fact that it would anger the left. Biden has spent (some would say wasted) his first year in office trying to placate progressives. (Note: nothing one does will ever placate progressives.) Now, he’s shown signs of moving back to the center. He spent last week being against crime, cancer and terrorists. Picking Childs would send a strong signal that he was done dancing with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC and the rest.

Sister Souljah may not have been serious when she said we should have a week for killing white people, but she gave Bill Clinton an opening.

It’s not unlike Bill Clinton’s move when he was running for his party’s presidential nomination in 1992. He made it a point to pick a fight with a singer and activist named Sister Souljah. She had said in an interview, perhaps not altogether seriously, that “we should have a week for killing white people.” Serious or not, Clinton saw a chance to separate himself from his party’s unpopular left, so he took the occasion of a speech at a conference organized by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to repudiate Souljah. It worked so well that a “Sister Souljah moment” has become a thing in politics. It’s defined as finding a way to distance yourself from unpopular ideas and people in your party or group.

(The Sister Souljah thing was a political calculation, which made its point without doing any harm. The same can’t be said for The Ricky Ray Rector moment. Rector was on death row in Arkansas during that same 1992 campaign. To show how tough on crime he was, Clinton made it a point to leave the campaign trail to sign Rector’s death warrant. Rector was so mentally compromised that he asked his guards to save his dessert for when he returned from the death chamber. I remember being appalled at the time, and Clinton’s move has not improved with age.)

Choosing Childs would make it clear that Biden is now his own man. He did all that he could for the left’s agenda, they couldn’t deliver, and now he’s moving to the center. More than ever, Childs is the choice.

And on another matter… This morning it’s reported that Madison City Council President Syed Abbas has introduced a resolution accepting federal money to hire six more police officers next year. He’s quoted as saying, “That whole thing about ‘defund, defund’ isn’t going to help anyone here.” That’s a courageous thing for the liberal leader of a very liberal council to say. But where’s Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway on this important issue? Her office had no comment. This continues a pattern of the mayor just not showing up on one issue after another.

Welcome to the 354th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!

Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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