Smiley, West’s Anti-Poverty Theme Isn’t Hiding Anti-Obama Sentiment

tavis smiley cornel westSmiley, West and The Poverty Tour National Debate: The Anti-Poverty Theme Isn’t Hiding The Anti-Obama Sentiment

This is an issue I’ve known about for sometime, but have chosen to remain silent on it, beyond a few friendly admonishments. But the issue has rocketed into the mainstream public discourse with the launch of a poverty tour. It’s a conflict between two people I highly respect. One I love and one I revere. I got mad love for Tavis Smiley because of where he comes from and the voice he has represented the last 20 years. I consider him a friend, and I hope he considers me one. Friends can talk to friends when nobody else can, and we can disagree without being disagreeable…I hope.

I have a reverence for President Barack Obama simply because of what he represents in this nation’s history, the unlikelihood of his accomplishment, the self-esteem he presents to my children, grand-children and all black children in the realm of what they now see as possible and the fact that I had a direct hand in helping this impossibility come about, places him in a position of esteem that few can attain. Make no mistake, poverty is an important issue.

And it is commendable that Tavis Smiley, in his national platform as a social commentator, T.V. host and now documentarian, wants to focus the nation’s attention on poverty. But to cast himself as some kind of moral compass for the nation, in the footsteps of King’s poor people’s campaign started in Chicago in 1966, ending in Memphis in April 4th, 1968, is over the top and very suspect, given he’s established himself as the black community’s leading “Obama-Hater.” He should do a documentary on the poor in America, which I’m sure he will. But he can’t do at Obama’s expense.

To suggest that President Obama is ignoring the poor and poverty is a continuation of what many see—including myself, a personal grudge that he needs to let go. Everybody can see through it. It’s black-on-black violence on another level and he’s jamming Obama just because he can and has the platform to. But he’s creating a pathway for the Republicans to miscast the President and impede his re-election. People are not going to let Smiley use the poor as his excuse to undermine the President’s re-election.

Last week, it reached a fever pitch when the highly popular Steve Harvey went on a five-minute tirade on his nationally syndicated radio show that pretty much represents how people are feeling about Smiley’s megalomaniac behavior on this Obama hating. If you didn’t hear it, here’s the link, www.eurweb.com/?p=124298. Harvey threw a fit.

For nearly three years, Smiley has been on this “accountability” mission, which just so happened to start right after Obama failed to attend at his last State of the Black Union panel in 2008. He really tried to cause him to lose to the nomination, and when he didn’t, he went became a very vocal critic and black America didn’t take it well. They pushed back on him on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, making him quit the show and Tavis has been relentless in taking pot shots at the President. He finally found the issue to disguise his resentment of Obama, POVERTY. Poverty, as a national issue, GREW under Bush II. Where was the outrage then? The timing is what makes this tour seem so disingenuous.

Tavis, as a progressive, probably has a lot more in common with Obama than disagreement. Like many black people who agree on nine out of ten things, and fall out on the one thing you disagree on. I feel that’s what’s going on here. Tavis may not even like Obama. I get that. Everybody doesn’t like everybody, but does that mean you have the right to put your personal animus ahead of the interests of the whole? No it doesn’t.

Obama means too much to spirit of the nation, at this critical time in history, and too much to black people, to let this folly continue. And Tavis’ voice to the diaspora is too critical for him to be vilified for this. We need him too. Why self-destruct playing the martyr role? Sentimentalizing the issue tying it back to King is not going to get it addressed any faster with idealogues in Congress worse than Dixicrats and without the guilt. That’s what Tavis should be hatin on. But his blind rage for Obama won’t let him.

It is difficult seeing the highly respected Dr. Cornel West tied up in this, as he has written extensively on the pathologies of race, oppression, and demagoguery. It is not in Cornel West’s nature to attack anyone on the least common denominator, nor is he beyond dialoguing with anyone with whom he has ideological or philosophical differences. But he can’t come to terms with Barack Obama? I don’t want to believe that.

Dr. West has acknowledged privately that part of his issue with the President is personal. He, unlike Tavis, worked to help get Barack elected but hasn’t been recognized for it. West feels used and exploited to an extent and considers this a character question, if not by Obama, by the people around him. According to him, he made over 70 appearances for Obama in the 2008 campaign and didn’t receive an invitation to the inauguration nor has received an invitation to the White House, or has been extended any kind of reciprocity for his effort.

Now, I have to tell you, this issue of reciprocity is going to be an issue for the President in the 2012 campaign and it’s not just coming from Cornel West. People who raised tens of thousands of dollars, traveled all over the country, opened their homes for fundraisers are saying the same thing in Obama’s own hometown of Chicago, in Detroit, in Atlanta, in Los Angeles, that they haven’t been invited to the White House (when people who have done less, or nothing, have), or haven’t received a personalized letter of acknowledgement, or had others take credit for what they did in the last campaign. A whole bunch of people are waiting to have this conversation with the President, or they won’t be pushing as hard as they pushed in 2008. But I’ve heardn’t anybody say they are not working to get him re-elected, or working to help him lose. Maybe except Tavis.

Tavis Smiley is now seen as being engaged in a grand distraction, his motives are seen as petty and revengeful, and his recalcitrance is now causing more harm than good. I mean, you gotta believe in what you gotta believe in, but there’s not too many people out here who believe what Tavis is doing is for the common good, at a time where the middle class is suffering just as much as the poor. And he can’t possibly believe that Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry would reach further to the left than Barack Obama. Even Tavis’ heroes, Bill and Hillary Clinton, haven’t done as much as Barack. In fact, the Clinton policy contributions to the poor are overstated. Welfare reform was signed by Clinton in 1995 and it has tripled the homeless population that Smiley and West are sleeping in the streets with. That’s the Clinton’s contribution to poverty.

All Clinton did was “fake left, and went right.” Obama has moved to the left, the center and the reasonable right. His initiatives have helped the poor more than any President recently. Go to http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/PromisesKept and see for yourself.

Tavis has been a mainstay in the national media for 20 years now, so he knows how to manipulate it. He and Cornel state that this isn’t an anti-Obama tour, but every time you see him on television, the first thing out of his mouth is, “This President has to…” making the President the focus of his anti-poverty engagement. While anti-poverty is not synonymous with being anti-Obama, the mainstream media and the partisan media following Smiley’s tour sees large black crowds and report that Obama is losing support among blacks, when its not true.

Three times, I’ve heard and watched political commentators suggest that Obama was losing support among black leadership and, of course, they put up photos of Smiley and West, which isn’t support he’s lost. It’s support he never had (in Tavis’ case). Not a true reflection of the support Obama has amongst black leadership. The intent is to get others to defect based on perceived black defection.

Lastly, Smiley has chosen to allow himself to be positioned as the preverbial “gun on the table” for the conservatives to pick up shoot Obama with (in a figurative sense…I know how sensitive Secret Service is about analogies like this). Smiley has volunteered himself to be the one to help beat Obama, under the guise of “accountability” of course, and our community is not going to stand by and watch him do that.

Thus, the Steve Harvey tirade, the Tom Joyner “Done and Done” letter, the Eddie Glaude tweets, all friends and/or former supporters of Tavis who think he’s taken this personal grudge too far. 150 years, nobody will know who Tavis Smiley was any more than we know who the social critics of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt were long after their terms were over. But they will know who Barack Obama was as America’s first black President and what he tried to do in one of our nation’s most vulnerable periods in its history.

Anthony SamadThat’s important. Nobody’s saying Obama can’t be criticized (I just did). Just make him better, or more aware. Don’t make the case for folk who want him to lose. That is, of course, unless you want him to lose too. Our community also needs to know that.

Poverty’s important, but it must be addressed in the context of lifting the nation. The Poverty tour, masked as a stealth anti-Obama campaign, is no way to get it addressed. For all of our sakes, let the megalomania stop and the healing begin, my friend.

Anthony Samad

Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (www.urbanissuesforum.com) and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.

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Comments

  1. LA Crystal says

    I, like most liberals/Progressives are frustrated with President Obama. However, I don’t think the rather large numbers of Nader votes in 2000 pulled the country or the Democratic party any further to the left. We did get Bush, instead and we see now just how far to the right the entire conversation has become. Someone else already said this here, but I’ll reiterate. We have to rebuild from the bottom up – again. The president has enormous power, but even the lowly House of Representatives does too. We need stronger congressional leaders. We have a few. Let’s work to keep those and elect more like them. When there is strong support in Congress, we can then hold a Democratic president much more accountable for his policies and actions.

    He has been calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest and we can see how far that could go in this Congress.

    I have not been to any of the Smiley-West Poverty events, so all I have to go on there is what I read in the media and an interview video I saw. I think the major motivation is simply to draw attention to the issue, despite their personal-level disappointments with the president.

    I won’t vote as enthusiastically as I did in 2008, but vote I will and it will not be a throw-away empty gesture ‘message.’ That message was loud and clear in Wisconsin this year and in NY in a Democrat being elected in a red district after the Ryan Medicare fiasco.

    Right now, the Republican candidates for President are like passengers of the clown-car, but the generic TP-backed lowly reps in the House took us to the brink of default. We need to change the conversation and we will most likely not get help from the mainstream media.

    Let’s rise above our emotional reactions and work smarter to change course.

  2. Nusun Singleton says

    After reviewing many of the responses and reading the article, the same question that I ask many of my colleagues and friends comes to mind, what does elected representative mean to you, and more important what does elected representative mean to the individual who gets elected. Understanding what that means before hand and whether or not that is the type of representation you are looking for can really be important. What I have noticed as a fundamental difference in Republicans and Democrats is that when elected, Republicans understand that as you put me here and that means I make all the decisions for you, meaning you gave me blanket immunity and threfore I shall use it, Democrats understand, that as I must continue to reach out to my voting constituents and filter all the voices and then represent them at the table, but first I must try to accomodate all the varying degrees of voices for which I have heard. President Obama is the latter and that doesn’t sit well with many progressives. I was a little less teary eyed about the first Black President mumbo jumbo, than most and I truly don’t think that President Barack Obama really cares about that part of history either, I believe he came to Washington with a vision and goals, I don’t think he ever thought that he would ever have to deal with the overt and blatant bigotry he has had to deal with especailly from within his own party. In true Leo form he will re-tool, recalculate, and re-invent himself, and come out on top. I hope he stays cool calm and collected in the face of hatred. He has been an inspiration to me not because he is Black, but because he shows great restraint and overwhelming self control.

  3. Don Thomas says

    This forum and those like it across the country are critical. Believe me, the election is being worked out right here. We will work it out as lovers of justice but we must not turn from the truth. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod, Skip Gates, Jean Betrand Aristede, all lovers of and workers for justice, THROWN UNDER THE BUS by a Black President. Those were in-your-face-tests of character. He failed. I am insensed to the point my vote teeters but leans towards that true progressive who’s yet to step up. And then there are the Palestinians.

  4. Tired of Obamas Lack of Action 4 UrbanMinorities says

    BLACK PEOPLE WAKE UP! YOU DON’T OWE OBAMA A DAMN THING! HE OWES YOU BECAUSE YOU VOTED FOR AND TRUSTED HIM TO REPRESENT YOU, YOUR COMMUNITY AND YOUR INTERESTS. AND I BELIEVE SOME OF YOUR (AND MY) INTERESTS INCLUDE: POVERTY, HOMELESSNESS, JOBLESSNESS, ADEQUATE PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR ALL, RAPIDLY-GROWING ILLEGAL COINTELPRO DOMESTIC TERRORIST ACTS THAT TRAGICALLY AFFECT MINORITIES IN LARGE NUMBERS AMONG OTHER INNOCENT US CITIZENS (YET OBAMA VOTED TO EXTEND PATRIOT ACT WHICH ALLOWS THE CONTINUATION OF THIS HATEFUL & INHUMANE LAW THAT PERMITS GOVMT INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES TO FREELY TORTURE, TERRORIZE, DISCREDIT & AND MUCH WORSE IS DONE TO THESE INNOCENT TARGETED VICTIMS FOR NO REASON AT ALL AND WITHOUT ANY GOVERNMENTAL OR LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT….CAN YOU IMAGINE THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. ACTUALLY SIGNED TO EXTEND THE PATRIOT ACT 4 MORE YEARS!?!? SO THAT FBI, CIA AND OTHERS CAN CONTINUE TO HARM INNOCENT MINORITIES IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES….SPREADING LIES, TRICKING THEIR OWN NEIGHBORS INTO SPYING ON & SURVELLIANCING THESE TARGETED PEOPLE…PROVIDING MILITARY ENERGY WEAPONS TO “PAID” HATE GROUPS DISGUISED AS “NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING” TO DO HARM….SAME TACTICS ILLEGALLY USED AGAINST AA ACTIVISTS SUCH AS BLACK PANTHERS BACK IN THE 60’S & 70’S….ALL OF THIS W/O ANY INTERVENTION FROM JUSTICE DEPT, SENATE, HOUSE, ACLU, CIVIL RIGHTS ORG, HUMAN RIGHTS ORG, MEDIA, LOCAL POLICE ETC ) AGAIN, WAKE UP BLACK PEOPLE!

    CAN’T WAIT TO READ OBAMA’S 3-YR DELAYED JOBS PLAN THAT HE ANNOUNCED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN AND BUS TOUR OF MIDWEST RURAL COMMUNITY VISIT…..WONDER WHY HE WON’T DO BUS TOUR OF URBAN COMMUNITIES…..HMM I SHARE REP MAXINE WATERS & BLACK CONGRESSIONAL CAUCUS’ RECENT VOICED CONCERNS OF PRESIDENT”S LACK OF FOCUSED ATTENTION TO AMERICA’S POOR & UNEMPLOYED IN URBAN CITIES SUCH AS THE ONE HE ONCE CLAIMED AS HOME….CHICAGO AS WELL AS ALL OTHERS (DETROIT, LA, NY, PHILADELPHIA, ETC). SEEMS OBAMA CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING CREDIBLE TO SAY TO THOSE STRUGGLING IN URBAN CITIES. HE NEEDS TO BE REMINDED OF THE SAME HORSE THAT LED HIM TO WHITEHOUSE ALSO HAS POWER TO RUN HIM OUT IF HE DOESN’T QUICKLY ADDRESS NEEDS OF POOR, WORKING & MIDDLE CLASS….THAT’S RIGHT….THESE IGNORED GROUPS GET TO VOTE TOO!

  5. -Nate says

    As a Blue Collar schmoe , I feel repeatedly betrayed by President Obama’s rolling over on us in favor of the gop .

    Yes , he has done much but , he’s also not stood firm as he promised to do when we elected him .

  6. Pam says

    I have listened to West and Smiley on theAnti-Poverty tour and their words are so beautiful, they make me cry. Not one time did I hear them say anything that was even remotely Anti-Obama. To me they are the perfect people to advocate for the poor and to bring to the president’s attention their plight. We are proud of our first black president but West and Smiley are reminding us of reality.

  7. says

    Mr. Samad,
    With all due respect, I think you miss the point of what Tavis Smiley’s feelings are about Barack Obama. While I share the miraculous milestone that the election of a Black president means to people of color and progressive people throughout this country, in times as dangerous as these, nobody deserves a free pass just because of their ethnicity.

    My father’s generation of Jews, who had suffered antisemitism all their lives gave money to Israel without questioning what this state was doing to the Palestinians. In a present reality where Gaza looks more and more like the Warsaw Ghetto, I cannot support the Ariel Sharons or Benjamin Netanyahus who have forgotten the core values of what it means to be a Jew, under the all encompassing rationale of never against. At what point do I hold Obama responsible for nonfeasance?

    While Barack Obama gave me hope, because, unlike Bush, he could actually speak English in a coherent manner, his taking $150 million from Wall Street was a harbinger of an administration that has not deviated from core American corportocracy principles that have blurred the lines between Democrats and Republicans.

    What makes a person the exemplary incarnation of Black, Latino, Jewish, White, or Finnish values is not superficial racial characteristics, but rather the ability to walk the walk when times are rough. Several weeks ago, President Obama said about the Republican opposition, “Can’t they say yes to anything? The answer should be clear to this intelligent man that no they cannot. If that is the case, why is he still compromising with people who at their core deny his humanity.

    While Obama can continue to audition for human being, Tavis Smiley and others like myself, who walked precincts for him in the last election, have had enough. In the Warren Beatty film Bullworth, Beatty stands before a Black congregation in what used to be called South Central- the reality is the same, only the name has changed. He says, “The only time you see a White faced politician in this community is every 2 years when they come asking for your vote. What are you going to do about it, vote Republican? While I don’t think they will vote Republican, they just might stay home as they did in 2010.

    The ever resilient capitalism does not seek a 1000 year reich, but just four more years. Give us a Black man who had to learn what it is like to be Black in American for the last 400 years, since the toney school he went to in Honolulu and Jakarta in no way prepared him for the reality I have had to teach in for the last 15 years, and they have been able to carry on 2 wars and a little NATO police action in North Africa with a promise to support the forces of darkness in Columbia.

    Being a smart Black man is no longer enough for any of us.

    I spent my last summer in Panama where the thoroughly integrated Black, Latino, and White 3% that runs the country, continues to oppress the 97% Black, Latino, and White population that makes about $500 a month if they are luck.

    • says

      Leonard, As a fellow Jew, I agree with your Israeli example. There is no way I can conscientiously support the current leaders there. Begin used to say of Arafat that he never missed and opportunity to miss an opportunity. Unfortunately, the same can be said of Netanyahu.

      Your analogy breaks down though when you apply that to Obama. In Israel there are better alternatives to the current leadership. This is not the case in this Country. The President is going to be our candidate in 2012. To not campaign and support his reelection because he isn’t exactly your ideal president which would result in the ultra-right being elected, is unconscionable. This is the same warped thinking that got Progressives to backing Nader instead of Gore and the Green Party instead of Kerry. Their reasoning was that that would “teach” the Democratic Party to be more Progressive. The only result was to allow W to win and push the Country to the disaster that Obama inherited. The most terrible part of that disaster, which for some unfathomable reason, Progressives don’t seem to have as the #1 priority, is that W got to pack the Supreme Court with Conservatives. If he does nothing else in a second term, other than to keep the Court from getting another right wing Justice (remember Ginsberg is getting old and frail) and hopefully a second liberal appointment to swing it 5-4 to the left, that will be enough for me. If you read the Conservative propaganda, the balance of the Court has always been first priority on their agenda.

    • says

      excellent. The tragedy lies not in Obama’s arch conservationism and the treacherous implications of it for the nation, but that the Black community and it’s political intellectuals simply refuse to hear the truth.

  8. Rick Brown says

    You spent the first two paragraphs of this article qualifying your friendship with Tavis, but after reading your writeup, I have to question whose friend you really are. I’m just someone who happened to be in the audience in Houston in May of 2006 when he held a state of the black union event. I clearly remember him announcing a trilogy of books starting with the Covenent With Black America and ending with a book called Accountability. This was long before Obama threw in his hat for president. So you’re dead wrong when you claim he concocked the idea for Accountability on the night Obama took the nomination. You should check your facts or talk to your “friend” before you start typing.

    Frankly, I don’t think you’re a friend. I think you’re just another journalist who wants to get some points with black America by bashing what they hope to achieve with this tour. Having a tour or some type of protest to highlight an issue is criticism all presidents go through. It does no more to undermine their presidency than wearing a blue tie would. I don’t buy this crap that it’s all a personal grudge. When he went in on Bush everybody black was with him. When he said (before Obama became a candidate) that he was going in on whoever was elected to make sure issues on our communities are addressed, black folks were with him. When that person became Barack Obama, now he’s a hater for doing what he said he’d do. I know there’s a huge chunk of black America who are so blinded by the sybolism of President Obama that anyone who even questions him will automatically be tarred and feathered. But most of us with some level of intelligence appreciate Tavis and Dr. West for their work and hope they don’t back down. All presidents need pressure from outside before they can begin to respond on an issue.

    Your writing is no different from all the others who were commissioned by the WH to pin the tail on Tavis. All of you bring up the same dumb question about the timing. Hell, I wish I could’ve divorced my wife during the Bush Administration, but does that make me wrong to do it in 2011?

    Next time please be a little more genuine about whose friend you are (or aren’t) and just admit up front that you want to write yet another article bashing Smiley and West. Readers deserve that level of honesty.

  9. says

    West is a public intellectual I stress public, and he may have his beef, but he is tilting at windmills. The President, contrary to popular belief, cannot do as he pleases. West may have a beef, but Smiley? I agtree with the writer. As I recall, Obama was in the middle of running for the presidency and he offered to send Michelle who I would say has the then Senator’s ear. Smiley never got over it and he hads been pouting ever since. Tavis is OK, but he’s not that Okay. He needs to find a new windmill because he’s out of his class with West and the entire idea. Any blatant move at this time and the opportunity to do anything is over. Lydon Johnson new it when he signed the legendary Civil Rights legislation but he wasn’t going to run. So, they couldn’t punish him, but in this case Obama has more to do and it looks like it will take a second term when he ju8st has to finish the job and not worry about reelection, or, he goes out the door now playing racial favorites when the entire country is hurting.

    • dusty says

      I don’t see where our President is playing racial favorites — he is favoring the rich and pushing down on the working people and the poorer in our society. When I am thinking here of working people I include the so called “middle class”, folks who in many cases don’t like to think of themselves as workers though work they do. If we let ourselves be divided instead of united then we all lose in this battle for preserving our nation as a democracy and not a plutocracy or an oligarchy of the rich and their corporations.

  10. says

    A while ago I wrote a piece that was published here on how Progressives ought to let Obama be Obama. It pointed out what to me is the obvious, that the President was having to navigate through an obstructionist Republican minority (then majority ) in Congress and was doing a remarkable job, considering. I am so happy to see Dr. Samad’s article which carries on this theme.

    It is beyond me how my fellow Progressives become so fixed on the absolute goals that they become blind to the reality that getting to those goals when you are the President can take longer than the first 100 days. It might not even start to occur until the second term when there is no reelection pressures and considerations.

    You would think we would have learned this lesson from what happened when Pres. Clinton was elected that eventually lead to the DADT (Don’t ask, Don’t tell) compromise. For those who don’t remember: The Gay community worked very hard to get Clinton elected. Once he was in the White House, his close Gay advisers and politicos started pressuring him to allow Gays in the military. Clinton, a co -dependent whose first instinct was to please, tried to change the military long before he learned the workings of political Washington. He had just made Sam Nunn, a very conservative, blue-dog Dem, Sec of Defense and hadn’t anticipated Nunn’s opposition. DADT was the very imperfect result of his not waiting until he was in a politically strong position to be successful. President Obama, to his credit, finally rectified that tragic political miscalculation.

    Please, my dear Progressives, take a lesson from the ultra-conservative right. They mapped out a long term strategy to take over this Country at every level, from school boards to the presidency, and they have almost succeeded because they stuck with their leaders, regardless of the set-backs. We finally have a person in the White House who has the chance of reversing or at least halting, that conservative take-over. Anything that publicly will assist the other side to cut his Presidency short needs to stop right now. Back-channel pressure on the White House for your favorite cause is fine, but it is sheer lunacy to do anything but to work ferociously to reelect Obama when the alternative on the other side will continue the work of dismantling everything we have worked so hard and for so long to build.

  11. Lawrence R Toledo says

    It is one thing to differ with the President and work towards a common solution
    It is not OK to work to dethrone BO unless there is an alternative that presents a legitimate better hope of moving forth not because you have a personal grudge or an undelivered invitation
    Lets hope that Tavis Smiley steps up to doing what he does best for our country on the air. That Dr. West continues to be our conscience and the voice which exposes all the indoctrination designed towards making our African and Latino populace mindless.

  12. dusty says

    I would like to agree with the author but unfortunately the reality is that President Obama, whom I supported with both volunteer work and the dollars I could afford, has made his deepest commitment to the rich and powerful, not the great numbers of working people and poor people of all colors who elected him. It seems he listened to Raul Emanuel who spoke to the issue by stating that “progressives and liberals” have no where else to go. This line of reasoning forgets that people don’t have to go anywhere: they can stay home, they can vote for all the offices except president, they can vote for third party candidates, or they can still vote for the president but not do any work or donate money.

    The author also compares our President to GW Bush, the Bill Clinton’s record and whomever/whatever. I don’t care about what GW or Bill, they aren’t the president now and Barack Obama is and he has the obligation to work for the people of the nation, not the special interests. I have been traveling lately and where ever I have gone I have listened to the political discourse and people are talking. A large proportion of voters who voted for Obama have stated they won’t vote for him again and it only takes a few percent of changes in voting for the president to be out of office. What are they angry about: he has bailed out the rich and the corporations while working folk are still waiting for help, he hasn’t gotten us out of two very expensive wars and now seems hell bent on staying longer in Iraq and Afghanistan both, he hasn’t carried out any sort of jobs creation program leaving it to private business to do it and private business is not going to do it. Many of the business people, big and small, are GOP and they aren’t going to help out a floundering Dem.

    If nothing else people in politics have to be willing to deal with reality and not wishful thinking. It would be nice to believe that the rich care about the poor but they don’t — in fact the rich exploit poor and working people to increase the percentage of the wealth that they, the rich, control. The power of the rich is their wealth and the wealth of the working people and the poor is their votes. BY ORGANIZING AND BLOCK VOTING, PUNISHING THOSE WHO GIVE US HOPE AND THEN DASH OUR FUTURES, AND REWARDING THOSE WHO PUT SUPPER ON THE TABLE we build our own future using the one power we have, the power of numbers of citizens and the votes that we can muster. Of course the right has attacked the union movement, our most organized constituency of the working and poor, in their hope to break our will and force us to accept their dictates. My president has to make a decision: for folks like me and the policies that will achieve a better nation or for the greedy who only care about themselves and their amassed wealth and the nation be damned. This is not a battle of color or ethnicity and if we are blinded by issues that divide instead of unify then we will fail. We are all homo sapien, you, me the president and everyone else around. And as a people we must act for the nation.

  13. says

    If you try revering principles, instead of people, you will see that Obama has betrayed us, and will applaud Smiley for standing up for principles

    Your loyalty should be not to Barack Obama, but to the defenseless people he has spat on

    • Marta says

      I completely agree with you, Ray. smiley and West are dead on– Obama has served only Wall street–and himself of course. Does he really think that the left will vote for him no matter how he as treated us? Just because we’ll think he’s the lesser of two evils. I am SO done with that!. Watch me vote for the Green Party. If we get the Bachman Perry Overdrive, so be it.

      I was so enthusiastic when Obama won, I actually cried. But within weeks he appointed Geithner and it only went downhill after that.

      Bush at least had the excuse of being somewhat of a dim bulb, a drunk. and a rich spoiled brat to boot. Obama is exceptionally bright and grew up with a working mom. He should have know better.

      I don’t vote for people for the color of their skin. It’s what’s inside. Underneath the charming mask, Obama is nothing but a Smooth Operator. And as right-wing as Herbert Hoover–warlike and beholden to Wall Street. He fooled million of us–perhaps we were too desperate after 8 years of King Idiot, and saw what we wanted to see.
      But no more.

      • says

        With you all the way, Ray and Marta. When one is blinded by the color of skin (“I have a reverence for President Barack Obama​ simply because of what he represents in this nation’s history, the unlikelihood of his accomplishment. . . .”) to the point of ignoring all blatant facts and cumulative truth, that person’s criticism of others who are bringing to light those facts rings hollow and completely hypocritical.

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