12 July 2008

Obama and Jackson

Obama may have won the election. Jesse Jackson may have just handed it to him.

Specifically, Jackson may have handed Obama his Sister Souljah moment.

The general significance of that term is a moment when a politician gains credence beyond his base by a confrontation with someone within his base.

The paradigmatic example involves -- the very same Reverend Jesse Jackson. Sister Souljah herself was too insignificant a phenomenon to deserve attention except to the extent that Jackson took her seriously, and invited her to speak at a conference of the Rainbow Coalition.

Anyway, Clinton understood that anyone who would be offended by his criticism of Souljah would be no real threat to him -- since the alternative was George H.W. Bush.

Obama has tried to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright and that crowd. But Jackson's now-infamous remarks into a live mike do the job for him, and Obama has very little need to say anything more.

And what, after all, would he say? "Please keep that guy away from me if he's holding garden shears?

Ah, La Comedie Humaine.


Henry said...

For another take on "Nutsgate" as a Sister Souljah moment, visit http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ and scroll down to July 10.

Henry said...

As for the second ("more") link that Christopher provides, which discusses whether Jackson says that he wanted to cut them "off" or "out," I believe that it makes a difference. "Off," which is the usual expression, conjures up, as it did for Christopher, garden shears or some other crude instrument, whereas "out" conjures up (at least for me), a surgical knife which removes the testicles but not the scrotum. (Surely I have something better to do today.)

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.