And here’s the pathetic reality: Obama didn’t attend Smiley’s “State of the Black Union” conference in 2008 because he was campaigning for the White House and five years later, Smiley still can’t let it go.
On Sunday, during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Smiley said Obama’s remarks about race last week were too little, too late and “as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.”
“I appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up,” Smiley said. “But this town has been spinning a story that’s not altogether true. He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation. He was pushed to that podium. A week of protests outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House, pushed him to that podium.”
Smiley, a frequent critic of Obama, said the president didn’t address the broader issue of moving forward as a nation.
“But when he left the podium, he still had not answered the most important question, that Kingian question, where do we go from here? That question this morning remains unanswered, at least from the perspective of the president. And the bottom line is, this is not Libya. This is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind. What’s lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it. They’re craving it.”
Smiley has become consumed by what seems to be hatred towards the president – or at the very least, disgust – that his disdain for Obama has resulted in his inability to think logically when it comes to the nation’s first black president.
Obama’s remarks last week weren’t meant as a definitive speech on race or to facilitate a national discussion. It was specific: Obama, for the first time in his presidency, used his White House bully pulpit to stand with black men all across America and share their collective pain of racism.