In 1992, Bill Clinton hit a political home run with his "Sister Souljah" moment. In 2007, Hillary Clinton suffered a reverse "Sister Souljah" strikeout. If it isn't the end of her presidential aspirations, it should be.
Allow me to explain. Fifteen years ago, Mr. Clinton was looking to solidify his centrist credentials. An obscure quote by an obscure black radical rapper provided the perfect exploitable opportunity. In the wake of the Los Angeles riots, Souljah was interviewed by The Washington Post. "If Black people kill Black people every day," Souljah wondered aloud, "why not have a week and kill white people?"
Mr. Clinton took to the bully pulpit at the Rainbow Coalition and denounced Sister Souljah. "If you took the words 'white' and 'black' and you reversed them," Mr. Clinton lectured sternly, "you might think David Duke was giving that speech." Political cheerleaders framed this as an act of political bravery -- publicly repudiating an extremist racial separatist's rhetoric to demonstrate independence from minority grievance-mongers in the Democrat Party.
Mrs. Clinton, whom conventional wisdom mistakenly casts as the smarter, more disciplined politician of the household, didn't learn from her hubby's Sister Souljah triumph. She turned it on its head. Instead of dissociation with racial extremists, she has chosen ingratiation. And the results are comedy bordering on political suicide.
Strike One came last January, standing at the pulpit at the Canaan Baptist Church with racial racketeer Al Sharpton in Harlem. Affecting a strange Southern-spiced-with-street twang during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, Mrs. Clinton sassed:
"For the last five years, we've had no. Power. At All. And that makes a big difference, because when you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. And you know what I'm talkin' about."
"We"? "Plantation"? Whatchu talkin' 'bout, H-dawg? All that was missing was an "Oh, snap!" and a talk-to-the-hand motion for pandering punctuation.
Strike Two came earlier this year in Selma, Ala. Commemorating the bloody 1965 civil rights march that helped roll back segregation in the South, Hillary painfully recited from an old gospel hymn: "Aww don't feel noways tired. I've come too faarrr from where I started frum. . . . Aww could have listened all day luung." The speech was met with universal derision.