Where Is West/Smiley “Poverty Tour” Going?

Well, straight to Tavis Smiley challenging President Obama in next year’s primaries, if I get my way.

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are speaking _our_ language, so why aren’t more myFDL folks excited about and supportive of their ‘Poverty Tour‘? Here’s Cornel West, for example:

We need massive job creation programs and massive investment in public housing, education, transportation and health. The health care bill was an attempt to move in that direction, it’s weak, but it’s better than nothing. It’s a billion-dollar giveaway to private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that mandate people to buy their products. It extends the number of people who can become part of the health care system, but the reason the why we needed transformation in the health care system is because you’ve got 30 percent profits at the top. If you had Medicare for everybody, you’d only have three percent Medicare profits at the top and private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies would no longer be in the driver’s seat.

?And West has the why exactly right too: A recent Pew Research Center report highlighted the widening wealth gap between whites, African-Americans and other minorities. To what do you attribute the growing disparity?

West: I think it’s tied primarily to greed and power among our oligarchs and plutocrats. I’m sure that the shattering of so much of the American middle class, but especially the Black and brown middle class, had to do with the Wall Street greed that led to the financial catastrophe in 2008—predatory lending, fraudulent behavior, insider trader—just criminal activity that has yet to be investigated or prosecuted.

Cornel and West have a much louder megaphone than do most of us on the left, and they plan to use it: ?”When the tour ends Aug. 12, the men will continue to use their national public radio program, “Smiley & West,” as a platform to keep the conversation going through the November elections, they said.” (Ooh, don’t like that ’till November 2012′ part, but minds can be changed, the downward spiral of events and persuasion can change them.) Does any other possible challenger to President Obama have a national PBS radio show? Just sayin’.

Nonetheless, the hurdle that an African-American-led left challenge to Obama faces is that “?Blacks still celebrate Obama, if not his policies.” About that, Carolyn C commented (and I replied) yesterday:

CarolynC August 4th, 2011 at 8:07 pm «
Another thing I meant to add. I work in the inner city, in areas where unemployment is ridiculously high. Black and minority teenagers and adults always ask me if I know of actual jobs, any jobs at all. It’s the saddest thing you can imagine. People are desperate for jobs that will give them a foothold in the working or middle class. That upward mobility has become even more of a pipe dream under Obama. Make another progressive black male a credible candidate and watch black voters jump the Obama ship.

Reply fairleft August 5th, 2011 at 9:45 am «
Once black voters jump ship everyone else will join in.

It may feel strange, it may not be ‘right’ somehow, but the rest of left out America is waiting for our black brothers and sisters to lead us . . .

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