Thursday, July 14, 2011

President Obama's Left Wing Haters

TransGriot Note: This one's not mine.  It was posted to a Democratic Facebook group I'm on and I did a little cleanup editing to it.  
The author is unknown, but it calls out the so-called progressives that absolutely hate President Obama.
It’s not news that there are people on the “progressive” side who cannot stand President Barack Obama.  Now the angries have got themselves a plan, and maybe even a poster child. But do they have a candidate?
In recent weeks, the increasing vitriol between progressive/liberal/libertaria​n opponents and supporters of President Barack Obama have been lighting up the Twittersphere.

There’s the growing rift over racial insensitivity in some of the anti-Obama critique – centering on who is Obama’s “base”. It has pitted black and white Twitterzens led by Balloon Juice blogger AngryBlackLady and her supporters against Salon editor Joan Walsh and her supporters, including most recently, a ThinkProgress blogger named Zaid Jilani.

There’s Glenn Greenwald’s rather Nixonian enemies list, which he says consists of 30 Twitterzens who spend all their time attacking him (for spending so much of his time attacking the president while sliming anyone who doesn’t attack the president as mindless Obama cultists) though he refuses to name names.

And there’s the ongoing Obama-slam by big-time Tweeters like filmmaker Michael Moore (@MMflint) and liberal radio talk host David Sirota (@davidsirota), with Moore even launching his own conspiracy theory that the Pakistanis gave the U.S. Osama bin Laden to be “executed”, because he had outlived his usefulness to the “war on terror.”

The most aggressive anti-Obama action is to be found in three places: among a group of highly influential blogs connected to Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake and its associated FDL Action PAC and knit together via Hamsher’s advertising network; from Greenwald, Moore and other libertarian-leaning activists who oppose Obama’s war and national security policies (which they say are too close to George W. Bush’s); and from Adam Green’s Progressive Campaign Change Committee PAC, which has spent as much time attacking the president as it has advertising against Republicans.
Jane Hamsher, also has a new group called "Dump Obama", and she calls herself a progressive?
To pro-Obama liberals, Hamsher and company are the “firebaggers” — as vehemently and reflexively anti-Obama as any tea partier, and when confronted, often just as nasty. It’s thought that some of them, like Hamsher, are into Obama-bashing for the link bait and the cash, while others appear to be true believers in the third party cause, including Greenwald and former Ralph Nader supporters like Michael Moore.

Up to now, one of the things the anti-Obama progressive movement has lacked is diversity, giving them the appearance of an all-white jihad against the first black president. (Hamsher’s history, punctuated by her now infamous “blackface” post attacking Joe Lieberman, doesn’t help.) 
In a way, that’s a function of the fact that for decades, the leading voices on the left, from its magazines to its radio shows to to its top bloggers, have been conspicuously monochrome. 
A recent Forbes list of the 25 most influential liberals in the U.S. contained only four people of color: Oprah Winfrey, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (who is Salvadoran and Greek), Matthew Yglesias (who is of Hispanic and Jewish background) and Fareed Zakaria (who on the list has the distinction of being both Indian, and not really a liberal)
The liberal talk network Air America, from which MSNBC drew part of its on-air liberal lineup, had no solo black or Hispanic hosts until it signed daytime talk host Montel Williams just before the network folded in 2010.  The only black nationally syndicated liberal talk radio host: is Joe Madison, AKA  The Black Eagle' (who is syndicated by African-American owned Radio One)
For the “FDLers,” the perception of theirs being an “all white” attack on the first black president presents a particular problem, since Democratic candidates, including Obama, are typically propelled into office on the strength of the unanimous support of black voters, and the two-thirds backing of Hispanics.
Last week, the anti-Obama progressives saw an opening to change that white-only dynamic when the ongoing verbal war that African-Americans:pundits Tavis Smiley and his mentor, Princeton professor Cornel West have been waging against President Barack Obama since 2007 boiled over.

A long-time coming
Smiley and West have disliked Obama since he announced his run for the presidency in Springfield, Illinois on the same day Smiley hosted his annual “State of Black America” conference.

Skipping the State Of the Black Union conference earned then Senator Obama Smiley’s enduring disdain.  He and West became even more vehemently anti-Obama after he rebuked Rev. Jeremiah Wright over the inflammatory sermons which surfaced in the midst of the Democratic primary (and were wielded by the Clinton campaign as they hunted for superdelegates.)  
I (the writer) attended a talk Smiley gave in the wake of Obama’s historic 2008 Philadelphia speech on race, in which an embarrased Smiley silenced the room at the Broward Convention Center with a broadside aimed at then Sen. Obama that was so angry and personal, it left people gasping.   
Smiley’s rage at Obama became so pronounced he eventually resigned from his twice weekly commentary spot on the Tom Joyner Morning Show after drawing criticism from TJMS listeners.   He later seemed to burn down the bridge to Joyner entirely when he was invited back on the TJMS in 2010 and went on a tirade that prompted the first of many flare-ups with Rev. Al Sharpton. 
Undeterred, Smiley, who had been a Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, has continued to slam the president, including during his weekly show for Public Radio International, and in a podcast series he and Dr. West put out periodically, called “Smiley and West.”

West’s critiques of Obama as ignoring not just black Americans, but also poor people, have ebbed and flowed over the years. According to the book “The Bridge” by David Remnick, after an intervention by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree in 2007, West softened his opposition, and even held a series of discussions with Obama and other black intellectuals, including Michael Eric Dyson, in which the then-candidate tried to create detente.

It didn’t hold. West reportedly fumed at a lack of access to the newly elected president (and to his inability to get inaugural tickets.) He was upset about Obama naming his former Harvard nemesis Larry Summers as the president’s top economic adviser over West’s strong objections. 
By late 2010, he began denouncing Obama in increasingly vitriolic terms; calling his policies racist against blacks, and calling the president a black “mascot” of Wall Street and a “black puppet” of the oligarchs, leading to further condemnation of West by fellow African-Americans, and culminating in this eye-opening slight against something Obama cannot control; his parentage:  
"I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West said. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white…When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.”
West unleashed an equally undignified slur that President Obama feels most comfortable around “upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want.”

West's most recent attacks have led to blistering counter-attacks by the Rev. Al Sharpton in the wake of a heated debate on MSNBC in which West also tossed the "mascot" smear at Sharpton.   Rev. Sharpton struck back with a Huffington Post piece in which he called out those who are tossing spitballs at the president from their ivory tower while real activists work in the trenches. 
Former fellow Princeton professor Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry's penned a blistering takedown of Dr. West, to which Dr. Boyce Watkins responded with an innuendo-laced personal attack on Professor Harris-Perry.   
Ironically, West's broadsides have made him the perfect -- er -- mascot, for the "progressive" anti-Obamaites, one of whom, an FDL diarist who goes by the handle "Metamars" -- even saw an opportunity to put West on the front lines, to "educate" ... the "Afro-Americans" to understand that Obama is "not their friend.".

Primary the president!
West’s ongoing vitriol included a call last November for someone to step forward and primary Obama from within the Democratic Party.  The call roughly coincided with an “election” held by a group of activists whose goal was to do just that: field a potential “progressive” primary candidate against Obama.
Indeed, the idea of primarying the president has been a hot diary topic on FDL since 2010. In February of that year, in response to the signing of the healthcare reform bill, a 527 called the New Progressive Alliance was formed:

In February 2010, even before President Obama formally approved his party’s gift of 40 million more customers to Big Insurance, blogger “Masoninblue” posted this invitation to readers of The Seminal, a site at FireDogLake (FDL), to join him in forming a new Progressive party. In late March, he and five other Seminal bloggers and readers formed an online group to incubate the process. They supported strict adherence to the basic tenets of Progressivism, and even chose a name – New Progressive Alliance.

This means as Liberals-True Democrats, we have to work much harder, and while it may seem impossible at the moment, let's try to bridge our differences with the angry left and work for the nation's good as a whole.
In the meantime maybe you want to make others aware of these movements so we can unite and work against them.  

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