Monday, May 05, 2008

Obama: (I Hope) I'll Get By With A Little From My Friends

With his twin messages of hope and change, Obama has energized ordinary citizens, and garnered big name support from the political, corporate, and social worlds. People like Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Reich, Jesse Jackson, George Clooney, Ted Kennedy, Robert DeNiro, Bill Richardson, John Kerry, Sam Nunn, Al Sharpton and many, many others. Yet during what was arguably the most trying week of his campaign for the presidency thus far, the only friend he seemingly had was his wife Michelle.

Where were all of those big time supporters? I don't recall seeing any step up to the plate to help their candidate. No breakdown from a religious perspective from the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton. No statements of support or understanding from politicians like Kennedy or John Kerry who've been smeared themselves for equally specious reasons. No warm fuzzy moment from Oprah Winfrey, during which she could have maybe talked about her experience at Trinity UCC.

Nothing, from nobody.

Do any of y'all watch The Boondocks? I know its kind of hard because you never know when it'll be on, but for those of you do, you know the show is pretty hard hitting from a political and social perspective. Anyway, there's an episode in which Jasmine is being exploited by Mr. Wuncler to sell lemonade at her front yard stand. Huey Freeman rallies to her defense, and arrives with a group of protesters to force an end to the situation. He screams "let's get 'em" and charges the stand, only to turn around and discover that no one is charging with him. Instead the protesters have all joined hands and are singing songs. Their rationale: "We're going to shut this stand down, no matter how long it takes." And thus ended the direct action.

I can't help thinking that last week Barack Obama might have felt a little like Huey Freeman. I'll bet he's wondering if he's charging that lemonade stand by himself while his big name supporters are standing back and watching this thing play out. Slowly.

Before it's all over, he's going to need folks from outside the campaign to step in as surrogates at crucial moments to say what he can't. David Gergen said on CNN that some of Obama's Black supporters should be prepared to step in and handle any further fallout from the Rev. Wright situation, thereby insulating the candidate from tit-for-tat responses that do nothing more than keep the story in the news. I think he's right. I also think that Obama's supporters of all ethnicities should be doing the same thing by calling b.s. on this so-called controversy, and demanding that discussion of the real issues facing this country return to the forefront of the campaign. Highlighting those issues at every opportunity wouldn't exactly hurt either.

In actuality, it may be a good thing that these "tests" are taking place now. As I've said before, the Democrats are amateurs when it comes to full contact politics. Wait until the Republicans get into the game. It'll be interesting to see how his friends act then.


Texas Liberal said...

Yes..This is often the bottom line of things. Where are the people you trust most when you most need them? This is kindred in some respects to points I have made on my blog.

DP said...

Thanks for your comment. The one's you're counting on often aren't there when you need them most. That was definitely the case with Obama's supporters the past two weeks.

Wait till he gets the nomination though. He won't be able to beat them off with a stick then.