In 1992 Sister Souljah was quoted in the Washington Post as saying “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” after the L.A. Riots. Bill Clinton condemned her remarks and this interaction where a politician takes on stalwarts of his or her base became known as a Sister Souljah moment.
While it is often referenced I think the fundamental nature of the interaction is lost upon most casual observers. While many in the black community saw President Clinton‘s reaction as an opportunistic public display throwing a black activists under the bus, if Sister Souljah’s quote by the Washington Post is as true as reported then it was a classic case of a President reining in a segment of the base that has gone beyond the pale.
House Speaker Boehner needs to have a “Sister Souljah” moment with the most extreme members of his party in the House or the consequences will be much more dire for the nation then scaring white people. What’s labeled as Tea Party Republicans have already shown that they are willing to shut down our government to pursue an agenda out of step with the majority of the American people according to recent polls. Conventional beltway media posits that Speaker Boehner must please these politicians to survive as House Speaker and probably remain a Congressman. Today’s vote on the budget revealed a third way built around a coalition of moderate Republicans, however scarce they are, and Blue Dog and moderate Democrats in the house.
Instead of being dictated to by freshman congressmen, Rep. Boehner can form a more effective governing coalition if he would think creatively enough, and be courageous enough to buck his parties continuing polarization and throw his full force of support behind the group in the House that would be able to write, pass, and enact legislation that could get through the Senate and past the President’s desk.
Sure, this option has always been on the table and it has been up to this point blithely ignored by Republican leadership. Opposition on all fronts has been the modus operandi of the Republicans since Obama’s inauguration why should it be any different now? Because no matter what the Republicans do, not one candidate that they can run seems to have a better than fighting chance of knocking off the President in the General Election. Honestly, look at the field. Donald Trump has made the biggest impact among the Republican contenders. I’m not ready to celebrate President Obama’s second term yet, anything is possible and given the state of economy Obama just might be an one-term President. However if he is, it probably won’t have anything to do with who Republicans put forward so much as how much money is in voters’ pockets come November 2012. So why pursue an agenda that would not only wreck the economy, which is tentatively climbing out of the worst recession in decades, and lessen our standing on the world stage in addition to potentially wrecking your party for the foreseeable future when you could act like a leader, take a stand, look the most extreme members of your party in the eye, and say, no.