White Liberals Scold Obama… But Come Off Cynical & Hypocritical

I think that I have the capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other. I think that I have the ability to make people get beyond some of the divisions that plague our society… [D]uring my younger days when I was tempted by, you know, sort of more radical or left wing politics, there was a part of me that always was a little bit conservative in that sense; that believes… [in] recognizing everybody’s concerns, seeing other people’s points of views and then making decisions.

— Barack Obama on ABC’s This Week

In the wake of President-Elect Obama’s recent cabinet-appointments, many white liberals have taken it upon themselves to release pent-up aggression at a man they thought was the “progressive” candidate he had earlier claimed to be.. As they saw it, Obama had “betrayed” the loyalty that earned him victory. As a sort of catharsis, railing Obama’s reputation over the coals of indignation could make them feel better about their decision to elect a man who promised virtually nothing (of substance) in his bid for the presidency. White liberals, especially, have had to learn so much, in the last 1 month, about the man whose political dirty-laundry was never hidden from the public to begin with.

In a highly predictable move, they have sought to bash everything Obama, or Obama-like, and couch their frustration in the ‘eloquence,’ and ‘con-artistry’ of Obama. Spare me the misplaced aggravation. One of such liberals is writer and activist, James Petras who went as far as suggesting that no progressive organization or publication held Obama’s feet to the fire during the presidential campaign. Petras believes that, to guarantee John McCain a loss, every progressive and leftist news site accommodated and encouraged Obama’s sophistry, as he clinched victory into becoming the “greatest con-man in recent history.” As Petras tells it, “The entire political spectrum ranging from the ‘libertarian’ left, through the progressive editors of the Nation to the entire far right neo-con/Zionist war party and free market Berkeley/Chicago/Harvard academics, with a single voice, hailed the election of Barack Obama as a ‘historic moment’, a ‘turning point in American history and other such histrionics.” This is stunning because “self-opiated ‘progressives,’ who” once operated as the conscience of the Democratic Party, saw no wrongdoing in concocting “arguments in his [Obama] favor,” – long as it ultimately garnered Obama victory.

It is unclear whether Mr. Petras is engaging in grand-delusion. In the course of the ’08 presidential race, countless “progressive” publications never let a second slip-by without heaping fact-based criticism on the Obama campaign staff, and the candidate it worked for. Perusing the pages of Black Agenda Report and Black Commentator solves the puzzle. Black Agenda Report, notoriously known for its constructive criticism – characterized by some as, “attacks” – of Obama, must have mysteriously slipped Petras’ memory, as he proclaimed the progressive community to have cheerled Obama into victory. Another Black progressive publication, which I write for, BlackCommentator.com was unrelenting in its undressing of President-Elect Obama, as the tiresome 22-month long campaign drained the blood of reasoning from, otherwise, radically-inclined liberals, leftists, and progressives – most especially Black ones. At Black Commentator, readers were left to juggle between the biting commentaries of Cynthia McKinney-supporters, such as Larry Pinkney, Dr. Lenore Daniels, Tolu Olorunda (myself), etc., and the discontent Obama-supporters, such as Bill Fletcher Jr., Reverend Irene Monroe, David A. Love, etc., expressed on a weekly basis. How Black progressive voices became muted in Petras’ reproof of the progressive bloc is not a surprise to this writer..

Black progressives have always maintained an impeccable legacy of critical opposition to empire – in whatever form it comes in. Whether it was Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, or Clarence Thomas, Black progressives have remained unbridled in their remonstrations against White power in Black face. Yet, the liberal wing of the American political system has never appreciated, nor accepted, their moral leadership. This reality is validated in the leadership of most unions, non-profits, and left-inclined political organizations. The membership might be disproportionately Black and Brown, but the management, mostly, retains a White identity.

Whilst Black progressives sought to rip the mask off of Barack Obama, in an attempt to unveil his true identity, we were deemed ‘Obama-haters,’ whose egos sought to stifle the chances of a Black man making history. The same white liberals, who now find no progressive solace in Obama’s unfolding cabinet, told Black progressives to be quiet, and “wait till he gets in first.” This logic of reprimanding Black souls to be silent, and reserved, dates back to the era of slavery, with pretentious white liberals, presented as abolitionists, urging Black slaves to fight for more substantial accumulations, other than freedom. “Higher wages,” “better treatment,” and other silly calculations were exalted above the pedestal of liberation. As it was then, so it is now. At a time when the inconvenient truth stares White liberals in the face, they seek to put the blame, instead, on a Black man who bathed them in his eloquent and rhetorical oceans. With this outburst of disillusionment, what most disturbs Black progressives, such as myself, is the reality that every disappointing appointment, by the President-Elect, was foreseeable a million miles away.

From the selection of pro-war Zionist, Rahm Emmanuel; to the hawkish center-right triangulator, Hillary Rodham Clinton; to the grossly incompetent hoop-star, Arne Duncan; to Monsanto-shill Tom Vilsack; to religious-right ideologue Rick Warren, the inevitability stands out.

Since clinching the Democratic Party nomination – but really dating back to his Senate career – President-Elect Obama had dropped countless hints about the administration he planned to oversee. As a strong believer in bipartisanship, Obama had pledged to welcome voices, opinions and characters he ‘disagreed with.’ Most white liberals, instead of questioning this logic, played along with his divine call for “unity.” As one who could “bring together” all factions of society, and heal the “racial wounds” that “divide” us, it was only a matter of time before Obama was perceived as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Though voting repeatedly for an extension of the Iraq war, whilst a Senator, white liberals convinced themselves that he was more than willing to end the war in 2 years, as he had promised – or not.

While most White liberals were foaming at the mouth, many Black and Brown progressives sought to expose Obama as the unraveling of a hip, cool, and sexy imperialist-to-be. An example is L.A.-based writer and editor Juan Santos, whose phenomenal piece, titled “Barack Obama and the ‘End’ of Racism” (Feb. ’08), put to bed all claims to a war-ending-peacenik-post-racial-uniter – in the personage of Barack Obama. Santos captures the Obama personality with exceptionality: “Obama plays the role of a Black Cinderella. He does for Black folks what Cinderella does for girls. He shows that oppression and silence can be good for you – at least if you are the one the prince chooses, or if you are the one who gets to be the prince. It’s total fantasy… Obama, with his extraordinary intelligence and presence (by any standard), is, in the eyes of white Amerikkka, (and, according to the standards of the so-called “Enlightenment,” which still rule the thinking of Euro-Americans) the half-white, and thus, half-redeemed “Black savage” – “redeemed” by his “white blood”, “civilized” by it – redeemed by his relative whiteness- ultimately redeemed and refined by the white nation itself… Obama knows the rules of the game, after all – he is the rules of the new race game- his candidacy itself is a manifestation of the new system of racism.”

The problem with white-liberalism, and its inability to render deserved criticism, while it mattered, lies in the inherent non-identity of its political philosophy. White-liberalism is structured around celebrity, popularity and majority – Democracy? It blows with the cultural and political tide. Whilst it was convenient, and even expedient, to embrace Obama’s candidacy as the “dawn” of a new political paradigm, white liberals flocked with endorsement of this “charismatic,” and “new” Black politician, who doesn’t see Race or color. He was, in their imagination, the manifestation of Dr. King’s dream. Not the Dr. King who grew into consciousness from 1965-1968, but the “I Have a Dream” Dr. King, but the Dr. King who wouldn’t dare say that, many in “the white community” feel the Civil Rights movement “should slow up and just be nice and patient and continue to pray, and in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out because only time can solve the problem;” not the Dr. King who incinerated the petty belief that “integration” is “merely a romantic or aesthetic something where you merely add color to a still predominantly white power structure.” This belief that Obama is the birth child of ‘the other’ Dr. King’s dream, led White liberals into missing the point on Obama. Having been taking for a ride by the Obama campaign, they now feel the need to justify their gullibility with the infantile defense that Obama had misled them into thinking differently about his potential as a progressive president.

While some see latent value in the recent outrage surrounding Obama’s cabinet-picks, I’m not as convinced that disorganized screams are the keys to steering the wheels of the Obama administration in a progressive direction. With self-proclaimed “progressives,” such as cable-news host Keith Olbermann, ascribing unconditional praise to the grave of Mark Felt, otherwise known as “Deep throat,” without mentioning his supreme role in the formulation of COINTELPRO, it’s clear that White liberals still have a lot to learn.

Tolu Olorunda is a writer and cultural critic currently living in Detroit. He is also author of The Substance of Truth (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2011), a collection of essays on education, culture, and society. His writing has appeared widely online and in print. He can be reached at: tolu.olorunda@gmail.com. Read other articles by Tolu.

40 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Martha said on December 23rd, 2008 at 10:01am #

    James Petras was correct. He chose to call out what I see as White independent media. Petras being right on his criticism does not change the fact that I otherwise agree with Tolu Olorudna. I also believe James Petras was calling out Barack Obama throughout and his commentaries today go to the fact that The Nation, The Progressive, Democracy Now!, et al went into propaganda model.

  2. Jason Wallis said on December 23rd, 2008 at 10:46am #

    Excellent article!!!

    I found it so odd and uncomfortable to hear Obama praise Reagan, pronounce the USA as a superior nation, advocate more war, and yet people still looked up to him as some sort of fresh new progressive moment in US history. It was creepy. Obama said and did things for which Bush would have been held in contempt, yet why weren’t people holding Obama in contempt?

    People have no one to blame but themselves for framing Obama as the left-wing progressive hope they imagined. They had their chance to hold him to a serious commitment to progressive policies, and they didn’t. Instead, they chose to bask in their Obama moment.

    I stumbled across a great line by a blogger named Osama Husseini:

    “If you’re not jubilant
    you are simply not among the humans.
    Since racism has ended
    diversity now means including Republicans.”

  3. bozh said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:10am #

    yes, why wldn’t uncle (cagy uncle) proffer amers yet another savior?
    what is so suprising? and what is surprising ab for so many people evaluating a perspiring. walking, defecating, thinking person as a savior?
    i said many times that (s)election of O, new chief of the house of horrors, heralds a choice of greater evil.
    and not because of O, B, C, but because of the uncle.
    uncle, that produces ever more efficient armaments, killing sitting ducks in iraq and afgh’n.
    but the uncle, the funni uncle, never changes. only weaponry. thnx

  4. Eric Patton said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:14am #

    “Obama said and did things for which Bush would have been held in contempt, yet why weren’t people holding Obama in contempt?”

    Because Obama is a Democrat.

  5. Jason Wallis said on December 23rd, 2008 at 12:28pm #


    Nah, Hillary Clinton was also held in contempt.

  6. rg the lg said on December 23rd, 2008 at 1:25pm #

    O’Bummer got (s)elected … McSame didn’t.
    The difference?
    It isn’t the party that matters, it is the attendees. All of the same ilk.
    But, here is what does matter … and for most of life, though not humans … the demise of humanity is long needed solution to the earth’s ills. May we all die in pain … and suffering.
    The best part is … I’m not talking Armageddon here … there is no gawd. Damn, eh? Yes, and deserved.

    RG the LG

  7. John Hatch said on December 23rd, 2008 at 2:29pm #

    For me the Hilary obama thing was like kids running for the Presidency of Grade 11. It was embarrassingly substance-less.

    Then there was Obama’s ridiculous threats against Iran. His stunningly stupid vow to maintain sanctions against Cuba.

    His astonishingly dumb accusations against Russia after Georgia’s aggression.

    His slavish obeisance to the horrible Israel.

    And Progressives said ‘But, but, but, but…’

    But nothing. Welcome to Grade 11.

  8. Max Shields said on December 23rd, 2008 at 3:28pm #

    Tolu Olorunda

    First, I have found solace in the work at Black Agenda. Without a doubt Glen Ford and others there have provided the most piercing progressive views of Obama and empire.

    That said, I find your diatribe excessive generalizations. I won’t deny your perceptions and I don’t disagree with the premise that some progressives swung this way and that, etc. etc. etc.

    I don’t think your leap to “not appreciating black progressives moral ground” makes a whole lot of sense given we both experienced the last 22 months on the same planet.

    The Obama story is both simple and complicated. There is no monolithic progressive thinking in America. There are magazines like The Nation who ultimately supported Obama, and some writers there who still cling to some pathological “hope” while others are quick to see reality for what it is. We discovered how deep convictions go regarding the empire. Writers of a variety of colors were willing to take all their intelligent analysis about imperial empire and bury it for the last lap of the election.

    This was not purely a white liberal thing. There are white liberals, but there are also the many black liberals who jumped on the Obama is really a “progressive” bus. This is not a black and white thing.

    The progressives who “see” Obama knew what he was months before, but in the closing days, they took the leap, and when they landed they saw what they had always known – Obama is an agent of the plutocracy and its empire.

    But let’s not confuse that with the white and black Dem liberals who are perfectly happy, so far, with Obama’s picks. These are the ones that have yet to see the empire for what it is (and may never). These are the liberal establishment in one form or another. They are simply the flip side of the Republican version of plutocracy.

    Nothing new here. Perhaps, a moment whereby white guilt crept in on some progressives and they pulled the switch in a moment of weakness for O. It demonstrates just how shallow these folks can be when it counts.

    But some of us, white and black have known and stuck to our guns and are now ready to move on…beyond Obama shit and do the work that needs doing…right in front of us.

  9. David said on December 23rd, 2008 at 8:55pm #

    The first thing that Obama understood (unlike Eugene McCarthy) is that if you don’t get elected, you can’t fix anything.

    The second thing that Obama understood (unlike Jimmy Carter) is that you need political insiders to grease the wheels of policy and legislation.

    The third thing that Obama understands (unlike many Progressives and lefties) is that you can’t stop a train wreck with a can of whipped cream.

    Cut the guy some slack for Christ’s sake.

  10. Petronius said on December 23rd, 2008 at 9:25pm #

    Tolu, it would take only some study of Obama’s career and a good read of his two books to know that the man never dissimulated his right centrist policies. In fact Obama never veered away from them aside from his empty slogans of hope and change (what he meant by these is still unclear). One has to give Obama credit for being so straightforward.
    You omitted to mention the excellent book on Obama by Paul Street, which explains his role in American politics.

  11. Max Shields said on December 23rd, 2008 at 9:35pm #


    Cut him “slack”? Gee, poor Obama needs a little slack….sighhhhhhhhh

    Go back to your tv or pick up your daily newspaper if you want to see slack.

    When your ready for a dose of honesty, come on back.

  12. Deadbeat said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:03pm #

    Tolu perspective about Obama misses that the Obama campaign was not strictly about Obama. This is what Glen Ford and several African American progressives missed in their critique about the 2008 election. Recall that Glen Ford was very supportive over Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign and lacked consistency in his support of a Democrat in 2004 and not of one in 2008.

    Race played a huge role in the 2008 campaign and Ford used his platform not to just critique Obama — which was OK but he also CONDEMN the Black voters (the masses) who supported the Obama campaign. Ford consistently suspended a nuanced approach to his critique and IMO he was extremely ineffective convincing the Black electorate not to vote for Obama. Ford it appeared only positioned himself to be the voice of the “I told you so” which only leads to further alienation from the Black electorate rather than being in a position of persuasion.

  13. Ramsefall said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:04pm #


    I appreciate your effort to assess Petras’ article, but I’m left with one pressing question in response to, “Black progressives have always maintained an impeccable legacy of critical opposition to empire – in whatever form it comes in. Whether it was Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, or Clarence Thomas, Black progressives have remained unbridled in their remonstrations against White power in Black face.

    Are you seriously stating Rice and Powell, not to mention Thomas, as black progressives who oppose white empire? What planet have you been living on? A very weak base of examples. I suppose Obama’s cabinet picks are progressive as well?

    Best to you.

  14. Jeremy Wells said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:10pm #

    “One of such liberals is writer and activist, James Petras…”

    1. False. Petras is a Marxist and socialist, not a “liberal” (i.e. a defender of U.S. capitalism and imperialism). James Petras, in a bitter but factual denunciation of Obama, called Obama a “con artist”. Here is the link to James Petras article.
    “A Historic Moment: The Election of the Greatest Con-Man in Recent History”

    2. I would further refer readers concerned about the nature of the coming Obama regime to reflect upon this WSWS article.

    Obama, the military and the threat of dictatorship
    23 December 2008
    Bill Van Auken
    “With his choice of Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, President-elect Barack Obama has now named three recently retired four-star military officers to serve in his cabinet. This unprecedented representation of the senior officer corps within the incoming Democratic administration is indicative of a growth in the political power of the US military that poses a serious threat to basic democratic rights.”

  15. Deadbeat said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:15pm #

    Ramsefall writes…

    Are you seriously stating Rice and Powell, not to mention Thomas, as black progressives who oppose white empire?

    That is not what Tolu wrote. I think you should read it again. He says that Black progressives were critical of Rice, Powell and Thomas. He didn’t describe Rice, Powell and Thomas as progressives.

  16. The Angry Peasant said on December 23rd, 2008 at 11:36pm #

    You know what I find interesting? Every black person in the federal government who is black is also an evil, right-wing bitch/bastard. It seems to me that you don’t get in this club being black if you’re actually pro-black. If you’re willing to betray everything your ancestors and past leaders and revolutionaries stood for, then you’re welcomed with open arms. And Obama shot to the top. That tells us much about him, I guess.

  17. JasGeo said on December 24th, 2008 at 12:39am #

    Call me thick but I cannot understand the purpose of this debate apart from exactly the same ‘I told you so’ stuff which alienates the masses needed to be got onside before a successful destruction of the empire.

    No one with a scrap of political nous could believe that it would be possible for any human, be they black or white, male or female, rich or poor to be elected to the prezdency of the US who wasn’t an avowed supporter of the amerikan empire, israel corporate capitalism and all the attendant baggage.

    That belief is held across the political spectrum because it is a reality, a simple truth independent of any of the common or shared myths dished out to peeps by various facets of the media.

    Whaling on about this stuff is an exercise in self pity, there is nothing to be gained in restating the obvious from every angle.

    The issue needs to be looked at from a practical perspective, IE given that the political institutions throughout the world have evolved into a plaything of the powers that be, in whichever society they operate within, what is the most practical and least harmful to ordinary humans, way of securing a more just distribution of power in societies?

    Worrying about who/what/where/why from whichever half of the amerikan empire party wins power is a destructive waste of resources.

  18. Hue Longer said on December 24th, 2008 at 2:09am #

    I believe Max already already touched it, but just who are these “black progressives” who unlike “white progressives”, had it right all along? Certainly not Oprah Winfrey or Jesse Jackson? We can’t have it both ways…definitions don’t do the truth justice.

  19. kahar said on December 24th, 2008 at 4:59am #

    “Obama, with his extraordinary intelligence and presence..”
    really? what kind of intelligence? obama is an immensely stupid, ignorant, dangerous, fascist puppet.

    Jason: “Obama said and did things for which Bush would have been held in contempt, yet why weren’t people holding Obama in contempt?”
    Put it this way, they regard Bush as an adult and so hold him responsible and accountable for what he says, whereas they see Obama as a little black kid and so he can say any old crap and they will cheer because they have never confronted their own racist and patronising and attitudes.

  20. JNicolson said on December 24th, 2008 at 7:55am #

    The problem is not just white liberals, but liberals generally. A liberal in the the context of America today is, in reality, a conservative rather than a “progressive.” They want cosmetic change that allows them to feel good about themselves & their country, & gives them an opportunity to demonstate their supposed moral & intellectual superiority. What they do not want is fundamental change that would challenge their privleges, including those related to race & gender, but above all their class & national privileges.

    Thus, Obama was the perfect liberal candidate:
    Black enough to be “historic” but never “angry.” Anti-war, but not really. Promising some undefined “change” & “hope” but on any given issue delivering business as usual. A new figurehead for the same old interests & policies. All of which was blatantly obvious long before the election.

    & the election was the perfect demonstration of liberal ‘Democracy:’
    A meaningless PR exercise to disguise & periodically relegitimate capitalist dictatorship & empire; a distraction from the task of building REAL alternatives to acheive REAL change.

  21. Michael Hureaux said on December 24th, 2008 at 9:07am #

    I’m not sure if BAR, Glen Ford and other Black radicals “condemned” the Obama campaign, as Deadbeat suggests here, but yes, we blasted Obama consistently, and we were ruthless with the idea that the “democratic” party is going to take any direction from any mass movement whose whole identity is wrapped up in the personality of a single leader. The Obamaists and Deadbeat may expect “nuance” in our critique of their Man, and maybe we alienated sections of the Black electorate with our critique. Time and the experience of new age capitalist wretchedness in these days of using the public sector to bail out the thieves of the private sector will tell.

    Speaking only for myself, however, given the kind of standard “democratic” party bullying and hackery I’ve seen from the local Obama organizers, I suspect the Black electorate is due for an alienation far more profound than anything they may or may not have experienced while reading Glen Ford or BAR.

    I’m not going to try to adress Glen Ford’s attraction to the Dean candidacy of 04, if that’s true, well, Glen got played and that’s that. It happens. In my own case, I voted for Obama myself, even though I had tremendous misgivings in doing so, and anyone who’s ever read anything I’ve posted knows how much contempt I have for his politics. But you see, Deadbeat, I did give the Obama “campaign” the benefit of the doubt in casting my ballot, and once again, in “democratic” party form, they’re true to style. Not a peep as the Corporate Leader loads up his cabinet with a bunch of shysters and gangsters.

    Am I disappointed? Nope, because I never believed in Obummer to begin with. But I did have a little faith in the Obama campaign, and it’s looking like I and many others got “played just as we did by Clinton in 1992 and the “democrats” in 1988. A genuine “campaign” would be campaigning over items much larger than who’s delivering the benediction at the fucking inaugural, and they’d be making their presence felt now. But the truth is that “campaign” doesn’t exist, and never existed.

    LIke those of us with a lack of “nuance’ at BAR and the Black Commentator, “practical” Obama supporters are on the outside looking in. It’s unfortunate they’ve put all their energies into the bottomless pit of the “democrats” once again, but maybe they’ll learn something in the near future.

  22. Max Shields said on December 24th, 2008 at 9:43am #

    Michael Hureaux you’ve just made my point. The fear of McCain got even those “progressives” who saw through Obama to vote for him.

    How many times do you need to get slapped long side the head? How many times has the Dem party done this? And it gets worse with each election as desparation becomes ever more apparent. The system is on its last legs and it will do whatever it takes to get you to the polls and have you play THEIR game!

    Amazing. Don’t complain, you’ve got what you got – Obama. The Obamaites are crazed but you’re a bloody hypocrite. To say what you said and go in and vote (you got “played” that’s a f%kning jock, jack!) for this guy demonstrates the weakness of the so-called “progressives”. I find this more repugnant than the ignorant or young yahoos who voted for Obama. You should KNOW BETTER!

  23. Democrats are a joke... said on December 24th, 2008 at 10:40am #

    and now, thanks to 56% of the country..we spiral towards a Constitutional crisis of EPIC proportions



  24. Michael Hureaux said on December 24th, 2008 at 3:21pm #

    I am properly censured, Max, you are quite right, I did get the slap upside the head after holding ground for many a year and I do deserve it. I think you’ll notice, though, that I’m not defending the vote, I do regard it as a serious mistake as bad as voting for Clinton in 1992 and Dukakis in 1988. I got confused and threw away my ballot. But I never encouraged anyone else do do something so stupid, so that much at least I got right. I never campaigned for him, and what time, energy or money I had I have to donate went to the McKinney campaign, and I think in the long run that counts for a lot more then a stupid moment with an absentee ballot. But I certainly don’t blame you for roasting me, nosir.

  25. Michael Hureaux said on December 24th, 2008 at 3:30pm #

    And just quickly, once more- I guess all I’m trying to say was that I was considering the possibility that my personal analysis of the Obama “campaign” was skewed when I cast the ballot. And I see now that it wasn’t. Some of us have to be stupid sometimes in order to really learn, that’s me, I’m afraid, and like I said, I made a similar mistake with Dukakis and Clinton in 1988 and 1992, which were the only other times I’ve voted for a “democrat”. But again, I understand your pique. I must say those things to myself several times a day.

  26. Hue Longer said on December 24th, 2008 at 3:47pm #

    Despite any lapses, that took balls to say in here Michael. Most people get entrenched after something like this (hell, what excuses do we use daily for our actions?).

  27. Michael Hureaux said on December 24th, 2008 at 5:12pm #

    It’s a small thing, really. The problem is the struggle with ego, the fear of being wrong, and that’s what led to the vote for Obama. And as it turns out, the moment of fear is what does us in. Na? So, people are going to say what they say, and they’re right. We have to have the courage to act on our beliefs, as lots of other folks did, as I usually try to do,but I lost my nerve when the ballot came my way this time. So being called out is entirely appropriate. I like to think I won’t make this mistake again, but I thought so in 1992, and here I came, with the same old shit when the moment came. So Max is right, I’m wrong, and now I’ll pay the dues for it. And I guess that’s all there is to say about this. Cheers.

  28. Max Shields said on December 24th, 2008 at 5:30pm #

    Michael Hureaux my intent was not to censure (not even the remotest intent).

    I was with you entirely until you said you voted for the guy.

    It’s been said we don ‘t have the stuff to make the changes we need before it’s too late. The day of reakoning is coming swiftly, and Michael, with all due respect, your intellect and you convictions make me think our worst options are in front of us. If we can’t count on those who know better, then we’re lost.

    I’m convinced that this is the end of the empire. Oil is now at $37 / barrel and this thing is going to coming crashing in ways you and I can only imagine. The industrial state – one that feeds us and much more – days are numbered. And our only hope is we start NOW to take real action. If we can’t even vote for real change what the hell is going to happen when we have to start using human muscle to eke out an existence?

  29. Max Shields said on December 24th, 2008 at 5:32pm #

    Michael – for clarity, I meant to stress you have the intellect – it’s the conviction that seems troublesome.

  30. HR said on December 24th, 2008 at 6:43pm #

    Ho hum. More buyer’s remorse in these comments. There were other choices, real choices, like Nader and McKinney, and before that, Kucinich. But USans, as usual, told them to take a hike. People get the government they deserve. Articles like these are a total waste of time at this stage of the game.

  31. Brian Koontz said on December 24th, 2008 at 7:06pm #

    Many many people saw Obama for what he was and we made rational arguments as such – Obama’s fans simply ignored them and spouted nonsense. The real problem is not support of Obama, but support of irrationality and untruth. Until these Obama supporters start supporting truth they will be lost time and again.

  32. Beverly said on December 24th, 2008 at 7:22pm #

    A thousand kudos and then some to Black Agenda Report and Black Commentator for practicing journalism – research and reporting the facts and critical analysis based on said facts. Sadly, 80% of the public is unaware of these independent media so the truth about Fauxbama (and everything else that goes on out here) does not reach more people.

    The unreached include people like James Petras who are either unaware of sites such as BAR or are aware and refuse to acknowledge them because they tell it as it is, leaving no sacred cow unturned. BAR’s Glen Ford was on Democracy Now in 2007 for a too-brief debate with blowhard Obamabot Michael Dyson. P.C. Pollyanna Amy Goodman hasn’t had him on since even though Ford is in spitting distance of Democracy Now’s studios and would be a welcome addition to her show’s pundit rolodex.

    As for those lefties shocked and dismayed at Obama’s cabinet hires, tough shit. Lefty pundits and advocates are involved in politics enough to have known the backstory on Obama from the get go. Their Anyone But Bush obsession, slave to the Democratic party mentality, and holier than thou politically correct snobitude guaranteed a master huckster like Obama could get over on them big time.

    Olorunda is on point describing white liberalism centering on celebrity, popularity, and majority. Politics is a hobby or trendy for far too many of them as they’ll do fine regardless of who is in power and are clueless as to the daily grind of the black, white, and brown working stiffs.

    I’m seeing more articles filled with hand wringing and caterwauling from the left these days. It’s a real hoot watching these fools feign ignorance about Obama’s wicked ways. Bernie Madoff and Barack – goes to show there’s a sucker born in the rich and smart sets every minute too.

  33. Deadbeat said on December 24th, 2008 at 7:46pm #

    Michael Hureaux says …

    The Obamaists and Deadbeat may expect “nuance” in our critique of their Man,

    Hureaux makes a false argument. First Obama was not “my Man”. Second apparently Hureaux really doesn’t care if he alienates the Black electorate. So be it but when Obama disappoints rather than embracing African American looking for an alternative they will only dig in their heals behind Obama. This is the problem with analysis without nuance.

    Such harsh criticism that was directed toward the Black electorate (notice I an not saying harsh criticism directed toward Obama but specifically toward the Black electorate) negates the racism that was directed by Hillary Clinton and McCain towards the Obama campaign which endured such rhetoric for the past 30 years.

    In addition Hureaux ignores the failure of the Left over the past eight years to attract the most loyal voting bloc (African Americans) away from the Democrats.

    My position is not to “support” Obama. My position is to work on attracting African American away from the Democrats. And to suggest that the best way to attract African Americans is to that employ empathy rather than “I told you so” and “holier than thou” rhetoric.

  34. Deadbeat said on December 24th, 2008 at 7:52pm #

    Let me be clearify my prior remarks. Criticism toward Obama is not at issue. Criticism toward the Black electorate is what is at issue and IMO counterproductive to the professed goals of the Left to weaken the Democrats. Such tirades directed toward the Black electorate lack complete analysis of the past 30 years of Reaganesque scapegoating endured by Black Electorate.

  35. Max Shields said on December 24th, 2008 at 8:06pm #

    I think, Deadbeat, your point has little basis in reality. It is, thus far, a fiction you seem to push every chance you get.

    Who are these African Americans who are put off by say, Glen Ford or BAR in general? On what do you base your “analysis”?

    If, as it appears, empire is at its end this “nuance” this “hurt feelings” stuff is going to seem more than childish. The dynamics at play will be overwhelming from what I can see given the deep economic unraveling in front of us. This is just the tip of the ice berg from all indications.

    I don’t thing the force of things to come will add up to clinging to Barack Obama. We’ll see…

  36. Michael Hureaux said on December 25th, 2008 at 9:20am #

    Max, I’m not concerned about how you view my intellect or my convictions, I know who I am and what my life has been living under these bastards and I also know I’m down for the long haul. Elections don’t really matter that much to me, workplace and community organization comes first, for if empire is, as you believe, on the verge of collapse, there are some nasty bloody fights ahead and we need to have ourselves prepared for defense of what remains of workplace and community organization. We won’t have an effective offense if we don’t strengthen what remains, and this goes way beyond electoral politics into the realm of class struggle. Believe you me when I say my sillyass vote for Obama does nothing to change my focus in that regard.

    Deadbeat, maybe you aren’t defending Obama, but you are attacking a straw man. BAR’s voice is one that has long been existant in Black politics, electorally or otherwise. Black people know that our critical style has long been part of black political witness, and I could cite you names, chapter and verse but what would be the point? If you think some of us at BAR have no business outing the internalized racist bullshit the Obama camp actually stirs up among those sections of the black electorate that bought into the Reaganite scapegoating which Obama now directs against black people, you’re wrong, simple and plain. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with that, but you see, there’s nothing so politically pristine or fragile about what you call the black electorate that it needs to be held with kid gloves.

    As for any lack we at BAR may have of a “complete analysis ” of the black electoral experience over the last thirty years, everyone lacks complete analysis, so don’t give me any shit.

  37. Max Shields said on December 25th, 2008 at 9:48am #

    Happy holidays, Michael.

  38. Martin said on December 25th, 2008 at 10:38am #

    Great discussion, all, I appreciate the thought everyone is contributing.

  39. kathy said on December 25th, 2008 at 11:03am #

    I find it very strange indeed that in criticizing Petras, the author would brandish–as defense– the single Leftist web-site/journal –BAR–that actually took a critical, radical stance. The Black Commentator was rife with rationalizations of support for Obama, the very few moments of critique not withstanding. The rest of the “independent” media (as named by other commentators on this piece)–The Nation, The Progressive, and mostly, although not entirely, Democracy Now– has shown little to no independence, no “alternative’ among the alternatives, to unthinking support –yes opiated and delusional-for a candidate who never explained himself as progressive, as “the progressive” candidate (of course aspects of his campaign including speeches did manipulate/tweak liberal-progressive lines and themes depending on audience). I’m not sure if it’s a black-white issue- i can think of plenty of instances where black-centered media such as certain Pacifica radio stations were overwhelmingly on the Obama bandwagon. but the “progressive’ press does remain white-controlled…

  40. Michael Hureaux said on December 26th, 2008 at 2:11pm #

    And the same to you, Max, all warmth and strength of this beautiful season to you. The light always returns, na? abrazos.