First, Fox News chastises the man for enjoying his own birthday and now two of the nation’s renowned Black leaders are criticizing his presidency.
PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have made their feelings about Mr. Obama very clear, particularly when it comes to how he deals with Republicans.
“I think too often [Obama] compromises, too often he capitulates. I think the Republicans know that. I think they laugh when he’s not around,” Smiley told ABC News’ “[The underclass] want him to fight for them and I think they’re tired of seeing the Republicans clean his clock.”
The two men — who feel the President’s recent debt-ceiling legislation declared “war on the poor” — just embarked on their “Poverty Tour: a Call to Conscience,” a 16-city nationwide tour to spread a message about poverty issues. West and Smiley reportedly said the mission of the tour is to “help the president” by highlighting concerns like the fading middle class and unemployment.
“We believe President Obama can wake up,” West said. “To Travis and I, this is a moral issue, this is a spiritual issue. I don’t care what color the president is.”
Comedian and longtime Essence contributor Steve Harvey disagrees. While many politicians and celebs (even Jay-z) say some criticism of the President is fair, Harvey says Smiley and West’s “poverty tour” marks a personal vendetta.
“I was a huge fan of Cornel West,” he said. “[But] Tavis, I seen him coming a mile away. His anger started when he had a town hall meeting, President Obama couldn’t come because of the campaign trail and he sent Mrs. Obama. He has held that grudge every since.”
Harvey also mocked West and Smiley by saying they’re affiliated with UTLO.org (which stands out for “Uncle Tom Look Out”).