A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Melissa Harris-Perry, the political scientist and columnist for The Nation, blames “white liberals” that hold Barack Obama to a “higher standard” for the president’s dwindling white support. Yet all the evidence indicates that Obama’s white support is evaporating most rapidly among ‘independents’ – the white ‘swing voters’ he caters to so slavishly – not reliably ‘liberal’ white Democrats. For some Black Obamites, preserving the icon in the White House is paramount, no matter what his crimes.
Obama Apologist Harris-Perry Says Support Prez Because He’s a “Competent” Black Man
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Clinton’s crew freed Wall Street predators from regulation, while Barack Obama rescued George Bush’s bank bailout and then put at least $14 trillion dollars into the accounts of finance capitalists around the world.”
Melissa Harris-Perry is one of the saddest examples of how the advent of a Black president has distorted the thinking of some of the most promising African American minds. She is a political scientist who has abandoned all the science of politics in order to build a higher Black Wall around Barack Obama, a war criminal with six simultaneous aggressions now running at full tilt, and the prime facilitator of the most massive transfer of wealth in human history. Writing from her roost at The Nation magazine, Prof. Harris-Perry flails about in search of a progressive position from which to defend the First Black President. There being none, she has to settle for saying that Obama is as competent as any white president – Damn it! – and it is white “liberals” that are bringing Obama down by “holding him to a to a higher standard” than his white predecessors – specifically, Bill Clinton.
Essentially, she contends that Clinton did do bad things to Black and poor Americans and to the cause of peace in the world. Obama’s record is, she maintains, “at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton, who was enthusiastically re-elected.”
We could stop right there and agree with Prof. Harris-Perry that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are political peas in a pod, both center-right corporate Democrats at the service of the rich, who are eager to ravage welfare as we used to know it, or Social Security as we still have it. Both presidents specialize in opening the doors to the Republicans that they pretend to be opposing. And yes, Obama is every bit as competent at playing the corporate game as Bill Clinton ever was – much better, in fact. Clinton’s crew freed Wall Street predators from regulation, while Barack Obama rescued George Bush’s bank bailout and then put at least $14 trillion dollars into the accounts of finance capitalists around the world. You can’t top that for competence in the service of finance capital.
“Both presidents specialize in opening the doors to the Republicans that they pretend to be opposing.”
Obama has increased the military budget with utmost competence, surpassing George Bush and putting Bill Clinton to shame in his service to the Pentagon. And, when it comes to mounting a frontal assault on the New Deal and the Great Society, nobody can touch Obama, who came into office with a promise on his lips to put all entitlements on the chopping block, and has succeeded in doing so. He is, without question, not just competent, but a most excellent destroyer of social safety nets.
Prof. Harris-Perry’s beef is that “liberals” do not recognize Obama’s competence. She says these liberals are to blame for Obama’s dramatic fall in white approval ratings. It is true that whites, who gave Obama more of their votes in 2008 than they did Democrat John Kerry in 2004, are threatening to abandon him in 2012. But all the evidence indicates that Obama’s white support is evaporating most rapidly among “independents” – the white “swing voters” he caters to so slavishly – not reliably “liberal” white Democrats. That’s why Obama and his crew dismiss liberals – including Harris-Perry’s left liberal colleagues at The Nation – as having no place else to go, and instead spend all their time wooing the political middle of white America. And that’s the same reason Black people get nothing but ostentatious contempt from the White House. The problem is not white liberal racism, but that too many white liberals and African Americans will stick with Obama no matter what he says or does, and will make themselves look ridiculous – and incompetent – in the process. Prof. Harris-Perry, for example.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].