The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 July 2012

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West Blast Obama's Hollow Outreach Effort


Obamists Losing African-American Support?

While it's no secret Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have long been less-than-enthusiastic about Barack Obama's performance, their latest presidential slam-fest is unusually blunt.

The bottom line: why is the administration still trying to convince African-Americans it deserves their support? Doesn't that reveal some disturbing Oval Office insecurity?

During the most recent edition of the syndicated Smiley & West radio program, the lefty pundits blasted Obama for sending Valerie Jarrett to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans to recite meaningless talking points.

Did the president really believe this would fly?

From the program:

TAVIS SMILEY (SUNDAY 01 JULY 2012) (9:27): Valerie Jarrett you know of course the President’s top African-American staffer inside the White House was one of the keynote speakers at the NABJ Convention. This is the annual gathering of the nations National Association of Black Journalists, all the black journalists who belong to this organization were in New Orleans for their annual convention. This is an election year and so the president didn’t make it but he sent Valerie Jarrett and she was there.

And she did in fact say to a room packed full of African-American journalists that the president has genuine love for black people. What’s fascinating about that to me, a few things: number one, that I’ve never heard the president say that. So, to send a surrogate out to tell people that he really loves you is fascinating for me if the president himself doesn’t tell you that I love you. You know that’s like me sending you to tell my momma that I love her.


TAVIS SMILEY (11:05): Some folks in the audience really wanted to hear her [Valerie Jarrett] just talk about issues and talk about the campaign and talk about things that really matter. But she got up and just read down this laundry list of accomplishments and there were folk in the audience who like okay, we got it.

But the presentation didn’t work because it was just a resuscitation of talking points as if she felt she needed to convince this audience with these talking points that he really had done something that she had to convince them and so here comes the phrase of genuine love. It just struck some in the audience I’m told that she was really really you know working hard to try to sell this story to an audience of black journalists? What do you make of that?

CORNEL WEST: You know I think anytime you have genuine love though, brother, you usually you don’t even have to say it because your record already shows it. I tell my mother I love her, but she already knows it because I take a bullet for her. She knows that if the bullet coming I’m jumping in the way. So the love is the kind of thing already manifests so strongly that to even talk about it is to just put icing on the cake.

And I think she has to say it cause she knows that there’s deep questions in the minds of so many people including black people are to where his commitments really are.

It remains hard to believe any substantial percentage of the African-American vote could be up for grabs this November. But if Obama is even the slightest bit worried, then his campaign has bigger problems than anyone could imagine.


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