Monthly Archives: August, 2011

Like Cornbread Soaked in Olive Oil: When the Black Journalists Met the Greek Oprah.

Queen Arianna invites Black journalists to join her empire.

It occurred to me though I wrote about going to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia I never said anything about actually attending the convention.  Setting all the Al Sharpton drama aside, it’s worth getting into.

As much as it will distress the convention officials we didn’t stay at the official convention hotel, the Philadelphia Marriott as it was priced a bit out of our budget and since nobody pays my way to these gatherings of the tribe but me, what’s out of our budget is always a major consideration.

We stayed at The Independent, a smaller boutique hotel minus all the trappings of a major chain (no valet service, no on site gym, no parking garage and no hotel bar), but without the jacked-up prices you get for those luxuries.  The Independent was clean, comfortable and austere.  I wanted something close to the convention site because in its sprawling Center City area Philadelphia is a walking city.

The first full day of the convention kicked off with an opening ceremony and this year’s featured an address from Attorney General Eric Holder followed by a plenary session dubbed “A Conversation with Arianna Huffington,” a title that proved misleading.  It was more of a monologue than a dialogue.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows I have issues with the president and editor of The Huffington Post.  Mostly because she’s a cheap exploiter of writers and journalists who reeks of hypocrisy even while she pumps out a pseudo progressive political slant uncomfortably juxtaposed with a heavy dose of brainless celebrity worship.

Waiting for me at the hotel was a box of flyers from the The Newspaper Guild and the National Writers Union I was going to distribute at the convention asking Huffington to create a business model that promotes paying the HuffPo’s unpaid writers, photographers, cartoonists and other contributors.   Queen Arianna has shown no interest in channeling any of the $315 million AOL coughed up to buy the HuffPo into the pockets of those whose labor made the news aggregator valuable in the first place.

That morning I arrived at the cavernous Philadelphia Convention Center and left the flyers in key spots where others could find them including outside of the main ballroom where Huffington was scheduled to appear.  Representatives of the Newspaper Guild showed up to hand out more information to the attendees as well.  Many NABJ members have no idea of how sketchy Queen Arianna’s journalism practices are.

My anticipation was instead of facing questions from an audience of experienced journalists, Huffington would duck the inquiries about her wretched labor questions.   That anticipation was  confirmed.  Huffington only submitted to a few Twitter questions asked by moderator Lester Holt.  No live questioning from the floor.  That limited the scope of questions to what could be fitted into 140 characters and there was no chance to ask follow-up questions.  Queen Arianna had made sure she had a built-in escape hatch and NABJ apparently agreed to the kid gloves treatment.

Huffington fielded one question about her no pay for play practices and she blandly deflected the criticism by boasting the HuffPo has 1,300 paid staffers and nobody forces anyone to write for them.  She stuck to her standard line how contributing to the HuffPo provides a “platform” for aspiring writers, journalists and bloggers.

“People can choose to participate in the platform, if they have something they want to write that requires wider distribution, or not to participate in the platform,” Huffington said. “We are not dependent on them.”

I call bull.  Huffington built her business on the backs of the  unpaid writers she now claims she isn’t dependent upon.  Her background is one of a status-seeking socialite, not a crusading publisher.

Huffington asked her Black staffers in the audience to stand up. One of her newest hires is Christina Norman, the former CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network, who was ousted from her position by Oprah.  Norman, who will lead the HuffPo Black Voices division is considered a major “get” by Huffington whose aspiration of creating a similar media empire lays bare her ambitions of becoming the Greek Oprah.

The two most powerful women in the media battle for global supremacy.

Huffington’s pretense as a progressive crusader is undercut by her overbearing superiority complex, barely concealed disdain for working people and phony aristocratic bearing which is never too far from swaggering into view.  Huffington is one of the most powerful women in the world and a media mogul.   She has a way to go before she becomes the universal brand that Oprah is, but don’t doubt her desire to hold the crown of Queen of All Media exclusively for herself.  She has the ambition and has already demonstrated the ruthlessness.

It was a mistake in the first place to invite a poseur and exploiter like Huffington to speak at NABJ’s convention.  What she does is the antithesis of serious journalism.  To allow her to do nothing more but announce the HuffPo was seeking contributors (unpaid,  of course) to the newly revamped AOL Black Voices site was an insult.

Attorney General Holder was left with the thankless task of being the warm-up act for Queen Arianna and brought with him a videotaped greeting to NABJ from President Obama.  Otherwise, the news value of the opening ceremony was pretty much nil except for former NBC Universal chief diversity officer Paula Madison pledging $100,000 to support the 2012 NABJ convention in New Orleans.

Madison, whose family holdings include the Africa Channel and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks, was motivated by her wish to support NABJ which will be competing with the UNITY 2012 convention in Las Vegas for sponsors and attendees.   NABJ split from the UNITY coalition of minority journalism organizations over differences in finances, accountability and respect.    The fallout from this messy divorce hung over the entire convention and had prompted the New York Times to announce they would be attending the UNITY gathering instead of NABJ next  year.

Madison told the audience, “To every NABJ member who is wavering whether to make a choice between UNITY and NABJ, let me just say to you: If you are three blocks down the street, and folks can’t see your gender, they can see your skin color.”

The message was clear.  UNITY is nice, but you’re first, foremost and always Black and that precludes fanciful notions of reaching across the table to other groups of color.

“No matter how you define yourself, you are defined by the rest of the world as black,” Madison said.

The only decision I’ve made about NABJ in N’awlins or UNITY in Vegas is I don’t see myself in either place next summer.  Attending these conventions are expensive propositions when you’re footing the bills to be there.   The story of why NABJ split from UNITY is a long and winding road that probably needs its own post, but it comes down to the usual reasons.  Money, power and respect and the NABJ board felt it was getting enough of any of the three from UNITY.

More about that in Part 2 and how that messy separation turned what should have been a routine one-hour board meeting into a three-hour soul-searching of what NABJ stands for and where its priorities should be.

NABJ officials join Arianna in cheesin' for the camera

Even Michele Bachmann Deserves A Break

Even right-wingers deserve a fair shake.

The two hardest words in the English language to say are “I’m sorry.”  The second hardest are, “I was wrong.”

I’m sorry.  I was wrong.

This week I published a blog post entitled “Who Likes White People?”  Michelle Bachmann Does!   This was prompted by a video that circulated around the web of Bachmann speaking at a rally where she greeted the crowd with a question:  “Who likes White people?” 

At least she would have if she had actually said it.  She didn’t.   It seems there was a thunderstorm that came down upon the crowd before Bachmann took the stage.   What she actually said was, “Who likes WET people?”

No, that doesn’t make much sense to me either, but then I don’t expend much energy trying to figure out why Bachmann says the things she does..  However,  that is what she actually said before some joker got ahold of the video and manipulated the audio from “wet” to “white.”

Both the post and the video have both been removed from The Domino Theory never to be seen or heard from again.  Sometimes if a story sounds too good to be true it means it probably isn’t.

An edited video that makes it appear as if Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann asked an Iowa crowd, “Who likes white people?” is quickly spreading around the Web. However, if you watch the full, unedited version of the video, it’s clear the Minnesota congresswoman said something very different.

Bachmann made a campaign stop at the Midwest Spirit Christian Music Festival on Aug. 5 in West Des Moines to give a speech about her Christian faith. It was raining during her the appearance, so when Bachmann took the stage, she asked, “Who likes wet people?” referring to the still-damp masses who stuck around for her talk.

“Yeah, that’s right. Because we have the God of the winds and the rain don’t we?” she said immediately after–a key phrasing that was edited out of the shorter clip. “We serve a mighty God.”

Am I a bit embarrassed to have been taken in by an Internet prankster?  Yes I am.  Is there a part of me that wishes Bachmann had said something so ridiculous?   Yes there is.  Yet despite the fact that nothing I write on this blog will in any way, shape or form, impact upon Bachmann’s run for the Republican presidential nomination, I can’t consider myself any sort of ethical journalist if I publish something that is proven to be false.

I know of some bloggers who call themselves “citizen journalists” which is simply a way of claiming they should be taken seriously the same as any trained and professional journalist even if they have no training or experience as journalists. 

That is an escape hatch I don’t choose to use myself.

I’m not any kind of “citizen  journalist.”   I’m a journalist who writes a blog.   The occasional usage of four-letter words should be a tip-off I’m not playing by the Associated Press Stylebook.   This is an outlet for my opinions and some are better formulated than others.  

I can’t make this work if I’m willfully misleading or carelessly sloppy.   There’s no way I can rip someone  like Andrew Breitbart for deliberately maligning Shirley Sherrod if I’m equally willing to play fast and loose with the facts.

It’s not as if there aren’t enough odd things said by Bachmann on a regular basis. After Hurricane Irene blew through Bachmann quipped,  “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet, and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

"See! I made those liberal bloggers back down. Say you're sorry! SAY IT!"

It’s not like there’s any need to make up stuff about Bachmann.  Soooner or later she’ll say something that justifies holding her up for ridicule.  This time though basic fairness demands I set the record straight.

I apologize to anyone whom I misled with the doctored Michelle Bachmann video.   I know she’ll never see this and it’s even less likely she would accept it, but I apologize to Michelle Bachmann as well.

In my 19 years as a journalist this is the first retraction I’ve ever had to make .  Trying to maintain some sort of ethical standard isn’t always as easy as it looks.   What do I regret most?  I really regret all those extra hits to the blog made over a mistake.   

“The Help” Black Conservatives Provide to the Right

Allen West: Rising high on the "I Hate Barack Obama" Hit List.

If I wanted to waste the time, I could fill up my blog with posts of nothing but updates of the Stupid Stuff Black Conservatives Say.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla): You have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there, where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted. And you have established certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset, because they have been disregarded, disrespected, and their concerns are not cared about.”

“So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”

Star Parker:  Our black president is a traitor to his race. Our struggles put him in power and now he’s not taking care of his folks.

Herman Cain:  “I am an American Black Conservative, an ABC and proud of it!  I won’t stay on the Democratic plantation like I’m supposed to.”


Jesse Lee Peterson:
  The NAACP is no different than the KKK in that the KKK harmed black Americans by their physical bodies, but the NAACP steals their hearts and minds and souls. And they kill black Americans by making black Americans or causing black Americans to hate their country, to hate what’s right, to depend on the government rather than depending on themselves.

I would be amused by a sellout like Allen West comparing himself to Harriet Tubman if I wasn’t so sickened by his fawning smooching of any White conservative ass in reach.   West is the kind of happy house Negro whom if Harriet Tubman tried to show him the way to freedom he would go running in the other direction back to Massa’s loving arms and stinging whip.

But this is what ABC’s as Cain described his pathetic little clique of Negroes Behaving Foolishly specialize in.  They make White conservatives feel good about themselves.  They blame Black people for their sorry lot in lives and they love to talk about plantations and slavery.  If any of them had been slaves they would have been up in the Big House hoping for Mister Charlie or Miss Ann to brush off some table scraps they could fight the dogs for.

Star Parker gets all the hot dudes

Have you ever heard of “a beard” used as a slang term? It’s typically used by someone concealing their same-sex orientation by dating or even marrying someone of the opposite gender. Rock Hudson, Elton John and other gay men who were pretending they weren’t used women as their “beard.”

There are Black sellouts like Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain who proclaims, “To all of those people who say that the Tea Party is a racist organization, eat your words” who serve as “beards” to the White Far Right.  The predominantly White and conservative types who make up the Tea Party eagerly seize upon the presence of the paltry few Blacks who agree with them to proclaim, “See, we can’t be racists. Herman Cain says we aren’t!”

This is essentially defending yourself from accusations of race-based bigotry by grasping for the thinnest of straws. You’re okay because a member of the minority your offending says you are. Opportunistic hustlers like Cain are happy to be bussed in, given a prominent speaking spot and paraded about as conspicuously as possible. Black folks at Tea Party protests are like the lone brother hangin’ out with his three or four White buddies in beer commercials.

American Black Conservatives love to thump their chests and boast how they are freed from “the Democratic planation.”  Seems to me though all they’ve done is trade one Massa for another.  They never question or challenge conservative orthodoxy.   They simply parrot the same rhetoric as any other right-winger.  Issues of race, poverty, unemployment or any other issue of concern to many African-Americans, never concerns them.  So when someome like Star Parker calls President Obama a “traitor to his race” how can anyone take her seriously.  All she does is sell-out and betray Black people as she panders to White conservatives.

Cain, West,  Parker, Peterson and the rest of the Negro right-wingers rushing to give cover to the contemporary conservatives of the Tea Party are as important to them as the Black maids were to the White women of the segregated South. They are modern versions of “The Help.”

West felt strangely relaxed and at home.

The Musical Love Affair of Ashford & Simpson

A relationship "solid as a rock."

NO!!! Will and Jada Separating?! screamed the headlines on the entertainment website..

Maybe they are (Trey Smith, Will’s son from a previous relationship took to Twitter to deny the bust-up rumor) and maybe they aren’t.  It’s not as if that’s news that should shake the nation.  Wait…hold on…

Will and Jada split and the same day there’s an 5.8 earthquake on the East coast. Coincidence?

Couples get married, separated and divorced every day.  Because Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are celebrities, we’re supposed to wring our hands and clutch ourselves in despair?

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were married for 38 years, wrote and performed hit songs, raised kids and kept their thing together.  Will and Jada Smith may be ending theirs after 13. Who should I be crying for?   Ashford passed away after a bout with throat cancer.   That’s a tragedy.   Smith and Pinkett-Smith possibly going their separate ways is fodder for entertainment sites, but it’s not a national emergency.

Consistency and stability are considered good things in an age when marriages are shredded and discarded like wet Kleenex..  Relationships like Ashford and Simpson look solid as a rock compared to couples whose lives come under scrutiny for rumors of open marriage and closeted homosexuality or whisper campaigns-they–might–or–might–not–be into Scientology and pushing their kids into stardom too fast, too soon.

Look, I got nothing against Will and Jada Smith or their obnoxiously talented kids.   I wish them well and hope they can work out their problems.  If not, I sure hope Big Willie had Little Jada sign an iron clad, air-tight prenuptial in blood or he’s going to be making Men in Black movies until he’s older than Tommy Lee Jones.

Instead of dwelling possibly failed relationships, I’m going to give a shout-out to one that seemed to succeed quite nicely.

Once you get past, “Solid” if you didn’t follow soul music you might know Ashford and Simpson as the dynamic duos they were, but as the songwriters of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Your Precious Love,” “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” their collaboration ensured their status as among the Best of Motown’s Best.

The pairing of the lanky Ashford and the diminutive Simpson was in every sense of the word a musical marriage and their partnership endured until Ashford lost his struggle with throat cancer.

Ashford passed away the same day as Jerry Leiber, one-half of the duo of  Lieber and (Mike) Stoller,  Leiber and Stoller’s hits include “Hound Dog,” “Love Potion #9,” “Jailhouse Rock” “Is That All There Is” and “Stand By Me.”  Between Ashford and Simpson and Lieber and Stoller, there’s enough gold records between them to pay off the national debt.

I always thought of Ashford as the weaker half of the duo because Valerie could sing his lanky ass off the stage and I saw her do it, but not every collaboration is a perfect match of equals.   Simon had a little more going for him than Garfunkel, Loggins outdid Messina and Sam kept going long after Dave checked out.

It’s not entirely fair to compare Will and Jada with Nickolas and Valerie because sometimes things just don’t work out and it’s sad when it doesn’t.   As a brother who’s a week away from his 30th anniversary and whose younger brother is days away from his 25th, I know it seems easier to bail than to stick with it.

Learning how to work with someone is one thing.  Going home with them after the end of the day and sleeping with them is quite another.  Hashing out and thrashing out the natural differences between two people has to be exacerbated when you’re argued the night before over whose turn it was to wash the dishes and now you’ve got to finish writing a song or shooting a scene together.

You know you’re doing something right when you’ve been performers for decades and there’s not even a whiff of scandal. sleaze or sensationalism.  From all appearances Ashford and Simpson were precisely what they appeared to be, a happy couple who performed in public, but kept their private lives out of the public’s eye.

Some celebrity couples learn how to make it work.  Some don’t.  It’s really not anymore complicated than that.  As far as examples to follow, Will and Jada could find worse ones to emulate than Ashford & Simpson.

As far as musical marriages go, this one worked as well as any.

Last of the Compassionate Conservatives

Jack Kemp was a leader of men on the field and off it.

Republicans many times can’t get the words ‘equality of opportunity’ out of their mouths. Their lips do not form that way.

~ Jack Kemp

Whenever someone comes at me talking smack about how Obama ain’t this and Obama ain’t that and how there’s no way they would vote for him again, I listen and then ask them one question, “Who are you going to vote for instead?”

Shuts them right up.

The Republican field is made up of several flavors of the fruit from the Crazy Tree.  There’s no options there for anyone even hoping for a protest vote.   Between Perry, Romney, Bachmann, Gingrich, Cain and the rest of the munchkins there’s nothing for a disgruntled Obama voter to hang their hat on.   The G.O.P. has been assimilated by the radical nuttiness of a handful of loud extremists and reborn as the G.O.Tea Party.

It wasn’t always this way.  Once upon a time there were still such a thing as moderate Republicans who actually gave a damn about something other than making sure the wealthy and corporations didn’t pay too much in taxes.   Some of even could speak honestly about race without their tongues swelling in their mouths.

The last Republican whom I really admired was Jack Kemp. He honestly seemed to care about inequality and spoke about issues of poverty, racial discrimination and through programs such as the creation of inner city “enterprise zones” really put some muscle behind addressing these issues.

Kemp would show up on C-SPAN talking about how playing quarterback for the Buffalo Bills had opened his mind about race and what he wanted to do to make Dr. King’s dream a reality, I would listen and think, “Man, I wish THIS guy would run for president.”  In 1988 Kemp ended up as Bob Dole’s running mate against Bill Clinton but his heart didn’t seem to be in it and after Clinton crushed the Republican ticket Kemp faded into elder statesman/failed candidate status until his death in 2009.

Make no mistake:  Kemp was not a secret latte-slurping liberal.  He firmly believed in supply side economics and was as loyal a Republican as possible.  But speaking about race didn’t frighten him and Kemp offered solutions and uplift, not charity or dependency to African-Americans.

Sadly, I don’t see any Jack Kemps in the current crop of Republicans running for President. Jon Huntsman has the kind of quiet, non-scary, moderation that appeals to me, but he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning the nomination. George Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative” but that was just a campaign phrase to him.  Kemp genuinely meant it and lived it, but that spirit seems to have been buried with him as today’s Republicans regard compassion as weakness.

I see Jon Huntsman as the same sort of  basically decent, moderate, mainstream Republican as Kemp was and one that has been largely hounded out of his own party. Huntsman is as silent as the rest of the field on race matters, but at least he doesn’t come off as an extremist.  I have no idea why Huntsman got in this race in the first place. He has no natural base in the Republican Party and is running in the single-digits along with the other bottom-feeders.

Huntsman’s campaign is being headed up by John Weaver, a veteran of John McCain’s campaigns, but I don’t see where this candidate scores a key early win. Not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina.  Huntsman is hoping a victory in Florida vaults him into the top-tier, but so did Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and it turned into his Waterloo.  Presidential campaigns are fueled by money and enthusiasm and I don’t see how Huntsman can generate enough of either to survive, let alone thrive.

Huntsman has Kemp's moderation, but not his vision.

The funny thing is Huntsman would probably fare better running as a moderate Democrat challenging Obama than as a Republican trying to win the nomination of a party that has no use for his kind anymore.

Which comes first? The chicken or the egg? If Black folks want Republicans to care about their issues I’m supposing more Black folks should be voting for Republicans.

So does that mean Blacks have to align their interests closer to those already prevalent in the Republican Party or does the Republican Party have to be more accommodating to the interests of Blacks?

“There really has not been a strong Republican message to either the poor or the African American community at large,” Kemp said.

What have Romney, Bachmann, Perry, Huntsman, Gingrich or Cain proposed or suggested to get African-American unemployment down and back to work? Something? Anything?

Because if they haven’t how do Blacks engage in discussions and strategy sessions with the GOP to make our priorities THEIR priorities as well? I don’t see leading Black Republicans such as Cain, or Congressmen Allen “I’m Harriet Tubman” West, or Tim Scott making this a priority of theirs. When Michael Steele tried to reach out to Black communities he got a chilly reception from them and a shrugged shoulders and a “why bother?” from his GOP peeps.

It makes no sense politically to be putting all of our clout in one basket. I’m not clear about how to convince the skeptics on both sides that its mutually beneficial for African-Americans to diversify their political portfolio.

Kemp was a self-described “bleeding heart conservative” whom had the GOP paid attention to would have been exactly the kind of Republican who not only only invited African-Americans to the party, he went looking for them.   With his death the Republicans have turned cold, indifferent and hostile to the interests of African-Americans and it’s a missed opportunity for both sides.

There’s a void waiting for someone to fill it, but while Huntsman possess Kemp’s moderation, he lacks his vision and his guts.

Maybe if there were at least one Jack Kemp in the Republican clown car Blacks might have a reason to give the GOP a second look.  Huntsman isn’t close to being in Kemp’s league, but he’s the closest thing the GOP has to a moderate.   Too bad they’re about to stomp him into a greasy spot.

"So Jack, they got anymore of you left in the GOP?"

John Kasich’s Horrible, Bad, Not So Much Fun Week.

Governing is hard. It's harder when you're stupid.

It’s no fun to watch a grown man publicly humble himself and go begging to the very people he sneered at to now save him from the embarrassment of seeing his sole accomplishment for nearly an entire year go up in smoke.

Okay, I’m lying.  Actually it’s a lot of fun to see Governor John Kasich begging “please baby, baby, PLEASE” to the unions and the We Are Ohio activist group that hustled, organized and campaigned to successfully put on the fall ballot before voters Senate Bill 5, the law that would strip state unions of much of their collective bargaining rights.

Kasich and his fellow Rethuglicans rammed SB5 through the legislature and thumbed their noses at the people of Ohio who elected them.  It was always jobs, not busting unions, that voters wanted action on.

It was a classic case of arrogance, amateurishness and overreach by Kasich.  Now that it seems he FINALLY got the message and stands to lose and lose big on the only thing he’s accomplished as governor so far, he wants to “compromise.”

Kasich and the GOP sniffed disdainfully when opponents vowed to put SB5 before voters.  Then the labor unions, Democrats and other activists went around the state to get the signatures necessary to place the bill on the fall ballot.  They needed 231,000 signatures.  They delivered over 1.3 million signatures in a tractor-trailer to the Secretary of State’s office for certification.

You could hear the sphincters in the Statehouse puckering.  “Oh hell,” the Rethuglicans thought.  “We gotta cut a deal.”

The governor held a negotiation session with representatives of the unions hoping to water down and compromise on SB5.  That is, he tried to hold a negotiation session.  None of the representatives showed up.

As is typical for Kasich, whose big mouth disengages from his tiny brain on a regular basis he went off on the labor unions in an embittered little tirade.

When this truck rolled up, Kasich knew his union busting bill was toast.

“I think in a lot of ways, we’ve seen this happen before, I think they’re selling their membership down the river,” Kasich said. “I don’t even know who they are. Probably some of them aren’t even Ohioans. They’re people who have an agenda that’s far different than supporting the rights of their workers.”

“And somebody says, you know, they invested, they collected these signatures, they’ve done all these things, it’s too late,” Kasich continued. “I think they can send the money back, the dues back, that they have taken from their workers. That’d be a nice bonus check for the worker, actually, they’d be able to take their kids to dinner this weekend.”

Spoken like a man who’s afraid he’s going to lose.   Hey, John-Boy?  Ever stop to think instead of a nice bonus check to take the family out to Subway,  maybe those workers would rather have their health care, job protections and other benefits they bargained for that you and your right-wing buddies Chris Christie, Rick Scott and Scott Walker are taking away from them?

Nah.  Introspection isn’t your thing.  As far as “probably some of them aren’t even Ohioans” crack goes you’re probably right.   Just like the Koch Brothers and  Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group and the U.S. Chamber of Congress and all the other union busters aren’t Ohioans either (but you’ll appreciate the money they raise to support SB5, won’t you?)

This is the attitude of a guy who wants to negotiate?   The governor’s idea of compromise is to ignore the will of the people when crafting bad legislation and dictate the terms of a deal when it looks like he’s going to lose.

Kasich isn’t very smart but he’s smart enough to know how to count and right now SB5 is going down faster than a stripper in the champagne room.

Losing SB5 in the election wouldn’t be just a repudiation of Kasich and the Rethuglicans.  It would be a bitch slap with a steel glove.   Watching this arrogant little prick cry, crawfish and curse his luck puts the biggest smile on my face I’ve had all week.

Remember when Rush Limbaugh declared he wanted President Obama to fail?  I want Governor Kasich to fail, and not just fail, but fail spectacularly and on an epic level.  So far, he’s right on course to be the worst governor I’ve lived through in my 55 years as a Ohioan.

The face of a man being publicly humiliated.

Keep stumbling, bumbling and fumbling John-Boy.   It does my heart good to see you do so bad.

“This is not an effort that is being put forward because we fear we’re going to lose,” Kasich said.

Really?  Then why do it John-Boy?  Because you’re worried you’re about to get punk’d?

I wouldn’t give this loser the sweat off my balls if he were dying of thirst in the desert.

W.W.H.H.D. (What Would Hillary Have Done?)

"Miss me yet?"

Put-off progressives and dismayed Democrats are saying “I told you so” about Hillary vs. Barack as POTUS, but they are simply projecting their own fantasies and discouragement on someone who would have likely charted a similar course as Obama has.

In 2006, I was covering a meeting of the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council.   Some of the potential presidential candidates were in attendance, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Governors Mark Warner of Virginia and Tom Vilsack of Iowa and the hands-down, prohibitive favorite, New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

You could tell Clinton was the rock star in the room.  She was the only one the mayor showed up to see and as the former First Lady, the only one with Secret Service protection.

It’s worth remembering that the DLC was a centrist, corporatist, non-progressive group of Democrats.  Barack Obama shared a lot of their beliefs, but he wasn’t a member of the DLC, Hillary Clinton was.

Speculating whether Clinton would have fared better as president than Obama is a parlor game that keeps thumb-sucking liberals suffering from buyer’s remorse and hardcore Clintonistas sleeping soundly at night.  “If only,” they wonder wistfully, secure and comforted if John Boehner and the Fox News crew were pulling this sort of crap on Hillary, she’d man up like Obama won’t and kick ‘em where it counts.

That’s the beautiful thing about a fantasy. Things always play out exactly the way you want and there’s always a happy ending.

Truth be told, nobody knows if Clinton would have been able to finagle a better debt ceiling deal than the one Obama settled for.   Regardless of which genitalia the 44th President possessed their best-laid plans for post-Bush America would have immediately been sidetracked by the economic mess their predecessor left for them to clean up.   Obama’s presidency was largely sabotaged from the jump by Bush’s incompetence..   The “What If Hillary Had Won” crowd tends to overlook details like that.

A President Hillary Clinton would still be hated, just for different reasons.

Something the revisionists forget is just how deep hatred for the Clintons runs.  The far right learned to loathe Obama.  They already knew how much they despised Hillary.  If Hillary had won it’s unlikely she wouldn’t have been targeted for the same sort of pummeling Obama has received from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News and the Republicans.  Obama reaped the scorn that had been sown against the Clintons.  The difference would be the anger, disrespect and vitriol directed at a President Clinton would be driven by sexism, not racism.

What’s a tougher nut to crack?  Bigotry based upon race or gender?   Whatever advantages Hillary being White might afford her, they are mitigated by being a woman.  Obama catches hell based upon his skin color, but it’s difficult to claim that is a lower hurdle to clear than the misogyny women in positions of power meet.

Clinton would have been spared the pointless distraction of the Birthers nonsense, but all the drama leftover from Bill Clinton’s time in Washington would have been directed at her.

I still don’t believe a job swap between Clinton and Joe Biden is beyond the realm of possibility.   In a tight race where it looks disappointed Democrats aren’t motivated to turn out, an Obama/Clinton ticket would be jet fuel to the president’s reelection hopes.

Hillary denies any interest in serving as Obama’s vice-president.  She says even if he wins in 2012, she’s done as Secretary of State.  Obama says he loves Biden and he’s not dropping him from the ticket.   Blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, and that’s raindrops falling’ on my head, right?

Whenever an ambitious politician says, “No,” they really mean, “Maybe”  and when they say “there’s no chance” that only means nobody’s made an offer they can’t refuse.  If Obama comes to Clinton and shows her a path to the Oval Office, do you really think she will tell him to get lost?

Methinks the lady doth protest too much, Hillary Clinton still wants to be president.  Compared to morons like Michelle Bachmann, there’s no questioning her qualifications for the job.  Looking down the road at 2016 and whom the Democrats have on their bench and the first name starts with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and drops off sharply after that.  If she’s willing and able, Hillary would be a stone-cold lock to lead the party against the Republicans.

Hillary’s biggest problem last time was people were just plain tired of the Clintons.  The prospect of going in consecutive presidencies from Bush to Clinton to Bush back to Clinton again was not an appealing one for Democrats looking for someone new and fresh to come along.  Someone like Barack Obama.

Well, now that we’ve tried new and fresh and hope and change, could it be time to go back something seasoned and familiar?   It’s been speculated Karl Rove is down on Rick Perry because he’s willing to let Obama have his second term if it means Jeb Bush has a clear run at the White House in 2016.

Why not set up a Clinton vs. Bush grudge match where the favored son takes on the wife of the guy who made his daddy a one-term president?

It isn’t likely Clinton and Obama form a Dream Ticket (and a Republican nightmare), but it isn’t like it couldn’t happen either.  Differences can be smoothed over when a good deal presents itself.   Marriages for the sake of political convenience and expediency are always possible, even if implausible.

The Dream Team?

“Dear Brother Cornel and Tavis…”

Brothers workin' it out--for themselves.

I admire the way you two have worked that “Obama ain’t done nuthin'” riff you’ve been pounding for three years now.  You do a real fine job of laying out the case that voting for Barry was the worst move Black folk could have made in 2008.

What you haven’t done is make a case how things would have been so much better if John McCain and his dumb as a bag of rusty nails running mate had won instead.   Guess they would have jumped right on that Black unemployment thang, right?   Right?

But I got a question for you my dear brother Cornel and my less dear brother Tavis.

Why haven’t you two come up with a practical, workable, politically doable PLAN.  Like say–oh, I don’t know–how to go about electing a few more Blacks as state governors?  Or maybe putting at least ONE-non Illinois Black man or woman in the U.S. Senate.   How about demanding the Democrats in the House push aside confirmed losers like Nancy Pelosi for a savvy winner like James Clyburn?   Maybe even pick a few more genuine Progressives to Congress and a lot fewer Reagan Democrats?

I know two smart Black men can do more than gripe about what Obama ain’t done.  Couldn’t you come up with some feasible plans, some savvy strategies, and long-term goals that can be implemented even if Obama isn’t reelected next year?   Something?  Anything?

Smiley is on a holy mission against Obama.

Nah.  Not going to happen.  What we will get from Prof. West and Mr. Smiley is another year and a half of “Obama ain’t done nuthin'” whining, moaning and griping because that’s so much easier than coming up with genuine strategies to expand and maximize Black political power.  Empty rhetoric is a lot easier than rolled-up sleeves, knocking on doors, registering voters, supporting candidates of our own choosing and building rather than bitching.

So now you two are about to embark on a tour of 15 towns to highlight the issue of poverty in the U.S.    You guys say the poor have been forgotten.  I agree.  I would add that the jobless millions of Americans have been forgotten by both parties in Washington too.

This seems like a worthy mission for you two.  But why do I have the sneaking suspicion you guy are just opening up the newest front in your ongoing war to tear Obama a new hole?

Wait, wait…don’t tell me.  I bet you’re going to tell me what the move for 2012 should be.  Does it have something to do with telling Obama to come correct to your “don’t have one yet but that Black Agenda will be ready any minute now”  demands or you’re going to tell Black folks to stay home next November and let the Republicans waltz back into the White House?

In an interview in the NY Times Sunday magazine West gave no sign his Cold War against the president is ending anytime soon.

So let me ask you: in 2007, you introduced Barack Obama as your “brother, companion and comrade.” But in May, you referred to him as “the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and the “head of the American killing machine.” What in the world happened?

It was a cry from the heart. What happened was that greed at the top has squeezed so much of the juices of the body politic. Poor people and working people have not been a fundamental focus of the Obama administration. That for me is not just a disappointment but a kind of betrayal.

But you have also acknowledged that this is more than just political — you’ve said that after campaigning for him at 65 events, you were miffed that he didn’t return your phone calls or say thank you.

I think he had to keep me at a distance. There’s no doubt that he didn’t want to be identified with a black leftist. But we’re talking about one phone call, man. That’s all. One private phone call.

My Root colleague Jack White described the West interview as “deep.”

What’s so “deep” Jack about West continuing to blubber like a lonely 16-year old schoolgirl on a Saturday night that Barack never calls anymore?

“But we’re talking about one phone call, man. That’s all. One private phone call.”

West seems to be pretty damn needy for an acclaimed public intellectual. Why’s he so insecure? Will everything be sweetness and light if Dear Brother Barack just breaks off a call to Dear Brother Cornel and say, “Hey man, I’ve been reeeaaal busy, but you know you my boy, right?

West and Smiley claim they bash Obama because they want to help him become a better president.  Some doubt that’s all they’re trying to do.

Not many believe that Smiley’s criticism comes from a place of love, though, and I don’t blame them, since he also complains about not being invited to the White House. West looks equally shady when he damns the president because he couldn’t get a hookup on extra tickets for the inauguration.

Let’s not forget to separate the personalities and their petty little beefs from disagreements with the policies. The latter is worthwhile and legitimate, the former is petty and illegitimate.

Nobody ever said President Obama was above criticism. It’s simply wise to understand what is really motivating the critics.   Motives ALWAYS matter. Yours, mine and certainly Mr. West and Mr. Smiley’s motives.

If your criticism is coming from a sincere philosophical, practical or political place it deserves to be taken seriously. But if your criticism is based upon ego, envy, anger or irrationality, it deserves to be dismissed.

Tavis and Cornel are two egomaniacs whose criticism of the president is based upon their own private blind spots and not some wish to help Obama be a better president.

By the way, isn’t Dr. West also Professor West? I just saw him in Philadelphia a few weeks ago at the NABJ convention and he’s always on television somewhere.  Doesn’t he have a class he should be teaching?

You will never see a repeat of this.

Just don’t tell me you’re doing a thing to preserve, protect, defend and advance the interests of African-Americans.  You are not.

Seriously, you aren’t.

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