For those people checking in after their Christmastime weekend festivities, this post will come as a stunner. It’s written by the former personal attorney and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence B. Jones. A man who has a book coming out in January heralding Dr. King’s transforming impact, which seems like the jumping off point of comparison used to level a devastating critique of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Mr. Jones is a Scholar in Residence, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. According to his bio at Huffington Post, His personal, insider’s account of the 1963 March On Washington, Behind The Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation, will be released January 2011 from Palgrave Macmillan.
A snippet of his post is below, which really should be read in full:
[...] And, so it is with Obama’s continued squandering of the extraordinary support he developed for his election as President.
It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.
It is time for those persons who constituted the “Movement” that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to “break their silence”; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and “hope” for the best.
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012. …
One can only imagine the incredible thought and intense contemplation that went in to making such a profound challenge to Pres. Obama, something that is a long time coming. Only a man of considerable weight and an African American could do it and hope to be taken seriously, let alone gain any traction at all.
The speculation about who could possibly make such a challenge matter began a long time ago, but it is shoved aside before any conclusion is drawn, because of understandable trepidation and fear of the reaction of the African American community. No one has named anyone who would dare come forward to do it yet.
The media would not make what Mr. Jones is suggesting easy.
The positing of the possibility may even rally people closer to Mr. Obama, though this hardly matters, because without someone of weight coming forward to write of the possibility of challenging him the current depressing situation has no hope of shifting.
It seems impossible it was just two years ago when people thought Obama’s election had squelched conservatism, but now it’s enjoying a revival not seen since Jimmy Carter faltered in 1979, which led to the Reagan era that conservatives hail to this day. Democrats still have nightmares over what they believe a presidential challenge cost them in 1980, even if it was Carter’s weak presidency that is really to blame, so the naysayers will be sure to bring that up saying a Republican win in ’12 can’t be let to happen. A primary challenge to Obama seen as a gimme to the Right by many.
However, Mr. Obama’s electoral map is stunningly abysmal after the Democratic midterm collapse, so regardless of his personal likability, his political incompetence even if he could win in ’12 is so total that progressives should be asking themselves just what is gained even if he wins?
Things are dire for Democrats and it’s Pres. Barack Obama who set it all in motion.
After the midterm catastrophe and after witnessing the appalling political incompetence of the Democrats under Obama’s lack of leadership and feckless messaging, followed by absolutely no plan for the lame duck session or a gaming of how to fight the Republicans using basic Democratic principles to stand firm, it’s clear that Mr. Obama is not only not going to change, but there’s no hope he’ll do anything other than join Republicans in their disastrous policy prescriptions, making America’s troubles worse.
Democrats, liberals and progressives, Blue Dogs too, will have to decide if Barack Obama is more important than the relevance of the Democratic Party and the principles to which people pledged their lives to make manifest for the good of this nation.
Political soul searching is certainly called for, it’s just a question of whether Democrats today have the courage and strength of character to do it.