Click here to go to the Home Page Cover Story: What Will It Take to Bring Obama Home? - The Visual Obama and the Actual Obama Disconnect - Moving Left – Part 17 By , Guest Commentator

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�Bring Obama �Home� �?� Last I heard, President Obama and his family were quite comfortably ensconced in public housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.�� �Bring Obama �Home�� certainly cannot refer to some experience that it is imagined President Obama shares with the majority of black Americans.�� Few black Americans grow up in Indonesia; fewer still have white relatives who can run interference for them in an America where race is too often determinative of what opportunities will be available to you.� To be generous, Pres. Obama is part of the black community by choice; to be realistic President Obama is part of the black community because white America gives him no choice (he is as much white as he is black; does anyone think he could mark �White� on his passport?).� So I�m not sure what �Home� the question refers to.� It�s like when I go into a deli, and see a sign that says �Homemade�, I always wonder whose home?� How do I know that I would like that person, or their culinary habits?�

BC Question: What will it take to bring Obama home?Politically, if we didn�t know before, we certainly know now, Pres. Obama�s� �Home� is neither Right nor Left, but somewhere in the Center.�� As Bill Fletcher pointed out, �Obama was knowable in 2008� but people heard what they wanted to hear, and saw what they wanted to see.� Maybe part of the discontent is a disconnect between the visual Obama, and the actual Obama.� Stereotype says that black men are street brawlers, angry fighters, not master strategists, champion chess players (apology to Maurice Ashley).� Invariably, Obama criticism contains the word �fight�, as in, why didn�t he fight for this, or fight for that?� My question is what do we want?� A President who wages symbolic, futile fights against an intransigent foe, using resources better conserved for another day, wasting his credibility on defeat after defeat, until he begins to look ineffectual?� Or a President who uses his brain to figure out which battles are winnable, which battles can be sacrificed on the way to winning the war, and who outsmarts,�outmaneuvers his opponents while incurring as few political casualties as possible for the home team?� Dismayingly, the Left seems to be as captured by the stereotype as the Right, seething because Obama doesn�t bare his teeth, pound his chest, flash his fists, and spit fire in battles that actually would be better left for another day when he�s holding a stronger hand.� Apparently, unable to envision an intellectual president, a nuanced president, a sophisticated political savant in a black body, perhaps the Left wishes to return to the grand ole days when a cowboy president was at home on the range in the White House.

Yeah, I am frustrated by what the Obama administration has failed to do:� Stop the war in Afghanistan, close Guantanamo, no public option, pass the DREAM Act, Card Check, and basically re-distribute the wealth in this nation.� But let�s be fair, and give the man props for the things that he has done that have/will improve our lives in substantial, but not flashy, ways� :� Justice Sotomayor , Lily Ledbetter Act, Cash for Clunkers, First Time Homebuyer�s Credit, Credit Card Accountability Act, payroll tax cut, extending� the Bush tax cuts in exchange for an extension of unemployment benefits for the 99ers (I didn�t hear Barbara Lee, or Bernie Sanders offer the 99ers a place to stay when their unemployment checks run out), the Affordable Care Act, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.� And, most recently, masterfully exposing Republican unwillingness to contribute �one red cent� (Pelosi) to the shared sacrifice necessary to get our nation�s fiscal home in order.����

There�s something malodorous about some of the Obama criticism.�� Tincture of disbelief (if I�d known it was possible for a black man to become president, I�d have done it) mixed with a jealousy (how come I�m not in his inner circle?) that stinks up cyberspace.�� Some of the over-the-top, visceral Obama condemnation seems to serve as a shield, a variation of the relationship dance where one partner thinks �I�m going to hurt him/her before he/she hurts me (because I know she/he will)�.� Anticipating betrayal, some Obama critics appear to be more interested in being able to say, �I told you so.� I�m not surprised or hurt.� He didn�t fool me.�� than they are in providing a useful distillation of Obama�s policies, positive, and negative.�

In moments of frustration, when I have failed to remember, as Jamala Rogers pointed out, that President Obama is not a leftist, and never claimed to be, I have railed against Obama too, even though I voted for Ralph Nader.� However, because of Obama, I scrutinize the political machinations in D.C. as never before, and it now seems to me, that for all the Left�s huffing and puffing, a reality check says that a lone wolf like Nader or Cynthia Mckinney would have been stalemated at best, crushed at worse, had either won the presidency.� Principle alone is not enough to stand on when facing a Republican juggernaut determined to enslave or imprison everyone except the filthy rich.� This cabal desires nothing less than a disposable proletariat that will work hard, and die quickly and unobtrusively (skip the hospital, go straight to the cemetery) when our �productivity� wanes.� Only someone with his own political apparatus, someone who can out-think, out-strategize Republicans, someone who is Harvard-polished on the outside, ghetto-fearless on the inside, has any hope of saving himself, and possibly this nation.�

Idealist that I am, I want BlackCommentator to be fair and balanced in its critique of this President, and not expect him to be something he never was, and never will be.� Some of the criticism on BlackCommentator leads me to believe that Barack Obama is home alone, lacking support, or constructive criticism, from the people who need him most.

Click here to read any commentary in this BC series.

Click here to send a comment to all the participants in this BC series. Guest Commentator Barbara Maddox is a BC reader and subscriber who resides in New York City. Click here to contact Ms. Maddox.

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July 21, 2011 - Issue 436
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