Not a Sister Souljah moment

With his standing in polls seeming to slide in the wake of non-stop rioting in jurisdictions controlled by Democrats, Joe Biden denounced violence in his speech yesterday in Pittsburgh. Here is what Biden said:

And now we have to stand against violence in every form it takes. Violence we’ve seen again and again and again, of unwarranted police shooting, excessive force, seven bullets in the back of Jacob Blake. Knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment, violence of extremists and opportunists, right wing militias. . .And to derail any hope and support for progress, the senseless violence of looting and burning and destruction of property. [NOTE: Huh?].

I want to make it absolutely clear, so I’m going to be very clear about all of this, rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better.

This passage sounds good, and it might have played well. However, as Rich Lowry and Dan McLaughlin point out, the only people Biden identified as responsible for the violence are the police officers involved in the Blake, Floyd, and Taylor cases, plus “right wing militias.”

He didn’t identify Antifa. He didn’t identify BLM radicals who, as McLaughlin documents, have engaged in, and been arrested for, setting fires and shooting at people.

Police officers aren’t rioting and looting. Neither are “right wing militias.” The rioting and looting, and nearly all of the violence, are coming from the left.

Yet Biden is unwilling to call out anyone on the left. He wants no enemies on that side of the political spectrum.

McLauglin makes a telling point. He reminds us that after the violence in Charlottesville, President Trump very specifically condemned “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” (Trump’s words) He did what Biden hasn’t done — call out extremists who might be inclined to support him.

(Trump’s response to Charlottesville produced media outrage because he said there were fine people on both sides. This almost certainly was a true statement because some of those who peacefully protested removal of a Robert E. Lee statute undoubtedly are good people, just as many of those who protest with BLM are.)

Biden should be willing to do what Trump did — condemn groups like Antifa by name, while stipulating that there are many good people among the protesters. This should be easy for him, but he hasn’t brought himself to do it.

I agree with McLaughlin’s conclusion:

The reason why Bill Clinton’s famous “Sister Souljah moment” was effective politics was that he called out someone by name and didn’t bury it in vague platitudes about how both sides do bad things. Biden, by contrast, is giving cover to those on his side who are still minimizing the violence or pretending that it is a false-flag campaign of right-wing conspirators.

(Emphasis added)

Responses