Responding to ‘Black Lives Matter’ & What Obama Can Learn from Bill Clinton

When is President Obama going to stand up and lead on the issue of violent rhetoric directed at our nation’s police officers? Although a direct connection between many of the recent assaults on police officers and the Black Lives Matter movement is still tenuous, it’s difficult to argue that chants of “Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon” are helping diffuse community tensions with the police. Yet, President Obama has still refused to publicly denounce the group.

This should infuriate every law enforcement officer in the country at the local, state and federal level who bravely stands on the demarcation line between law and order, and street chaos. It also begs the question, what does a left-leaning group have to do, or say, to earn President Obama’s condemnation? We know from experience that just being a Republican is enough to generate condemnation from President Obama in many cases but, calls for assaults on police officers have earned Black Lives Matter activists not condemnation, but an endorsement from the President’s party.

If the Democratic Party insists on endorsing, rather than condemning, a movement that has some of its members declaring open war on our police officers then they have made the politics of this fair game. If President Obama continues to cower on this issue and continues to avoid condemning the dangerous rhetoric of Black lives matter, then law enforcement should openly boycott the Democratic Party. There is power in numbers and if a major, national political party, led by the current President of the United States, cannot gather up the courage to condemn what’s evolving into an openly violent movement, then the Democratic Party should suffer politically for it.

Police investigate the scene where two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police investigate the scene where two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Leadership and judgment are two qualities we look for in a President and, with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, and their calls for violence against police officers, President Obama has shown neither of these traits. But, Mr. Obama still has an opportunity to redeem himself. He could take the path chosen by Bill Clinton in 1992 when he was given the opportunity to take a stand against inflammatory, and divisive, racist rhetoric when he refused to appear at a Rainbow Coalition event because activist Sister Souljah was speaking there. Sister Souljah—who infamously stated to a Washington Post reporter “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”—gave Clinton an opportunity to show sound judgment in distancing himself from this type of nonsense, and he took it.

I’m no fan of Bill Clinton’s politics, and I cannot dive deep into his thoughts to uncover what his real motivation was for calling out Sister Souljah, but actions matter and talk is cheap. President Obama is all talk, and no action, on the extremely violent rhetoric being directed at the police.

President Obama was quick to be seen on camera in the Henry Louis Gates incident claiming, without a full grasp of all of the circumstances of the interaction, that the police officer acted “stupidly.” He was quick to be seen on camera after the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, stating that it “stains the heart of black children,” while failing to responsibly describe to the America people the full context of the interaction between police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. He was quick to issue a statement after the grand jury’s decision not indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner stating, “It’s incumbent on all of us as Americans…that we recognize that this is an American problem,” despite not having the facts presented to the grand jury in the case.

It’s interesting that the President was so comfortable indicting the country and talking about police use of force incidents as an “American problem” but he still refuses to stand publicly in front of the cameras and give a forceful speech defending the good cops out there and condemning the dangerous and violent rhetoric employed by the Black lives matter movement as an “American problem.” How many more police officers are going to have to die before the President acts on this?

Finally, playing word association games is a terrific way to get past the clutter and find out what people are really thinking about. The recent word association results from a Quinnipiac University poll are devastating for the Hillary Clinton campaign as the word mentioned most often in association with Mrs. Clinton was “liar.”

I made the case in my August 4 Conservative Review piece that the ongoing email scandal regarding Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server was clear evidence that she is missing the two qualities most important to the presidency—leadership and judgment—and the association of Hillary with the word liar is further evidence that the public doesn’t trust her anymore. If President Obama doesn’t change course with his attitude towards police officers in America the first word that’s going to be associated with President Obama on the lips of our nation’s police officers is going to be “opportunist.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review.

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