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30 Issues: Arianna Huffington & Cornel West on Obama and His Base

True/False: Obama Betrayed His Base

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

President Obama speaking at the White House on Friday, September 10, 2010 President Obama speaking at the White House on Friday, September 10, 2010 (New York Times/Screenshot)

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post.com and the author of Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, discusses whether or not President Obama has betrayed his base.   Then, later in the show, Dr. Cornel West, University Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University; co-host of Smiley & West; and author of Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir, weighs in on the topic.  Jami Floyd, broadcast journalist, legal analyst for cable and network news, and blogger at It's A Free Country, chimes in with her post on whether Obama abandoned his base.

Guests:

Jami Floyd, Arianna Huffington and Dr. Cornel West

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Comments [38]

anna from new york

'Anna' from NY' perfectly makes Huffington's point. Anna claims she didn't vote for Obama (and thus was never part of Obama's base) and yet she is not disappointed with his center-right leadership. Well... Of course not? Never mind the fact that Obama's efforts at 'bipartisanship' are always in favor of corporate interests"
Eva, either you didn't read my comment or you didn't understand what I was saying. Your comment isn't logical. Obama represents exactly what I predicted, so how can I be disappointed. Yes, I am against "bipartisanship" and yes, I am against a "one-pretending to be two party" system. I didn't listened what Huffington was saying, but I doubt it had anything to do with me.
dr anna.

Oct. 28 2010 12:09 PM
Renfreu Neff from Manhattan

Cornel West is a preposterous windbag.

Oct. 27 2010 08:59 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I can't go to the rally on Saturday, but here's my Moderate Manifesto:

1. Talking louder does not make you right.
2. Repeating your point does not make you right.
3. Interrupting the person on the other side does not make you right.
4. Scoffing at the person on the other side does not make you right.
5. Making fun of the person on the other side does not make you right.
6. Keeping the person on the other side from making their point does not make you right.

Oct. 27 2010 02:17 AM

Jami Floyd's reverse question is great. Yes, I think even those on the left are as lazy and amnesic as those who don't vote. Obama was presented with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Create jobs?? Where?? In a failing market? In which sector?

Change takes time and NOWHERE along the line did he say it would be easy. Was anyone else listening to his inaugural speech? Think about how much time and effort it takes 1 person to make a difference in their own lives. We live in a huge country.

The boat's been shaken, and people are uneasy, but his foresight is right on track. The seeds are going to take some time to grow.

Oct. 26 2010 11:14 PM
eva from Fedupistan

'Anna' from NY' perfectly makes Huffington's point. Anna claims she didn't vote for Obama (and thus was never part of Obama's base) and yet she is not disappointed with his center-right leadership. Well... Of course not? Never mind the fact that Obama's efforts at 'bipartisanship' are always in favor of corporate interests, and would never involve reaching out to conservatives like the FT's Wm. Buiter who advocated for a temporary nationalization of malefactor banks.

Oct. 26 2010 10:03 PM
Dw Dunphy from Red Bank, NJ

I don't think Obama betrayed his base. I do think he betrayed his tactics. From the get-go, he should have harnessed his internet community, changed it into a "report card" organization so that at the end of every week, the White House could have reported to the base what got accomplished.

Even more salient, they could have reported on what didn't get accomplished, name the names that stonewalled legislation and hold them accountable in a direct forum. This administration built a mechanism in the elections to make it possible. In thinking that they could put the true believers on the back burner until the next election cycle is an error they will be paying dearly for in the next two years.

Oct. 26 2010 05:28 PM
Leslie from New Jersey

The form of the question is like the lawyer joke about asking a defendant the last time he beat his wife. The problems he faced coming into the presidency were, and continue to be, very complex. Should he have "abondoned" the TARP upon entering office? Should he have fought harder for a larger stimulus package? Either way, answers just spin opinion instead of bringing issues to the public for discussion. I listen to NPR alot. I hope that radio time can be used to bring solid info to the public instead of more vacuous opinion that helps bundits but does nothing for our better understanding of what's going on. I would like to hear about his policies for sustainable energy and to what extent they are working (or not).

Oct. 26 2010 11:38 AM
Alex from Brooklyn NY

I live in Brooklyn and I am the only one on my block that voted for Obama. I did it, to stop government secrets, to stop illegal wire tapping, to repeal the patriot-act, to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp, to close Abu Ghraib, to tax the rich and health care for all… Nothing happened!
NO, I am not Muslim. I am an orthodox Jew!

Oct. 26 2010 11:26 AM
Jay F.

That was tedious...

Oct. 26 2010 11:20 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Regardless of one's politics and policies, Dr. West's ongoing respect towards all people and opposing sides, must be admired.

Also, too true; the ENORMOUS processes that Pres. Obama and Congress initiated cannot be determined in a short period of time, but it will take years, and maybe decades, for all of the many changes and evolutions that some of this legislation (e.g., health care, finance reform) to take hold.

Oct. 26 2010 11:19 AM
The Truth from Becky

It is too soon to even pose this question and yes Dr. West, please stop rhyming you are undermining your intelligence and sounding like Jesse Jackson!

Brian did you say..."Brother West"??? really Brian, really?

Oct. 26 2010 11:18 AM
paulb from brooklyn

Brother West: Speaking out both sides of his mouth at once. Right on!!

Oct. 26 2010 11:17 AM
CoronaJack from Corona, Queens NY

WHEN OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT JOBS WAS HEALTH CARE REFORM! I have on file a number of articles ranging from 2005 to 2008 how health care costs were putting the America auto industry in particular, US industry in general, at a price disadvantage with non- US industries. This primary cause of the layoff workers, and not being able to hire. During those years fixing health care was the way to get people back to work. So, Obama was on the right track to start fixing health care, while carrying through on the TARP, etc. From the summer before the election to a few months after Obama's inauguration the scene change was a chaotic Richter 8 quake.

Oct. 26 2010 11:17 AM
GS

Well, we could safely assume that George W. Bush was a catastrophe after 12 months, so I'm not sure that's true that you can't judge a president so soon.

Oct. 26 2010 11:15 AM
Sally from LES

Are you serious? During Obama's election he drew a crowd of 35,000 people in Ohio recently. His rally in Wisconsin was up 10,000 people from the 20,000 in 2008.

Wait till the rally this weekend. We will be there!

Oct. 26 2010 11:14 AM
GS

He didn't prosecute W. and Cheney, or even look into their crimes. He didn't prosecute all the banks and finance people, that robbed the country of all their money.

That's really all he needed to do. When you think about it, it has nothing to do with politics or policies. It's all about enforcing laws that already existed.

Oct. 26 2010 11:10 AM
Jim from Stamford

I went door-to-door for Obama in 4 states.

But, now I am deeply disappointed.

Obama turned his back on his base within days of his election, when he chose Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. (Name one progressive in his entire economic team !)

That "cave-in" to corporatists doomed his presidency.

How could a Democrat get out-flanked for the populist vote ? If Obama had positioned himself against the bank bail-outs, there would be no Tea Party.

Oct. 26 2010 11:09 AM
John C from Brooklyn, NY

In France 60 is the EARLY RETIREMENT age. The full retirement is at 65 as here. The proposal is to raise EARLY retirement (which is partial) to 62 and FULL retirement to 67. The pensions are the equivalent to Social Security.

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/in-france-age-60-is-an-early-retirement-age

In France, Age 60 Is an EARLY Retirement Age

Saturday, 23 October 2010 08:42

How can reporters have been covering the debate in France for weeks and still not know (http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/2010-10-22-france-strike_N.htm) that age 60 is an early retirement age, not the normal retirement age? It is comparable to the early retirement age of 62 for Social Security benefits. The normal retirement age in France is currently 65. In France, as in the United States, most workers start collecting benefits shortly after reaching the early retirement age. It would have been useful to make this distinction so that readers would understand what is at issue

Oct. 26 2010 10:46 AM
anna from new york

"I sure ain't in John Boehner's base. I'm voting democratic to give the Democrats an even firmer hold on future policy.

I am in it for the long run"
Well, I doubt we'll have the long run.
Never thought about that, friend? Yeah, this is the range - Republicans - Democrats. Sorry, guys, the third world tends to have more options and better grasp of problems.

Oct. 26 2010 10:43 AM
DevWorldIssues from NYC

I am appalled and disgusted. I can't believe Brian brings Ms. Huffington, to debate the state of our Nation!!! Bring REAL Journalist or Economist, Not to mention her idea of a THIRD WORLD AMERICA CONCEPT WAS STOLEN was from Chilean Economist.

Oct. 26 2010 10:31 AM
lsigalov from new york city

arianna has done more to create voter apathy than anyone i can think of. every post is an obama bash and her argument that both parties are equally failing the middle class is ridiculously simplistic. there are clear choices to be made. the tea party and the democrats are vastly different. if the tea partiers win, it will be because of this dangerous watering down of the debate in order to serve her book needs. one gets the feeling she's preparing to run again and positioning herself at the expense of our country. the stakes are too high to sit this election out because whaaaa whine whine--obama hasnt solved all our problems. he inherited a disaster and it will be a while before we get to the light.

Oct. 26 2010 10:30 AM
Edward from NJ

President Obama has done most of what he *said* he would do. He just hasn't done a lot of what many of his supporters *thought* he would do.

For example, during the campaign Obama consistently indicated that he would pull out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan. Now Arrianna Huffington and others are acting like his escalation in Afghanistan is a broken promise. It's actually a promise he kept that they were hoping he'd break.

Oct. 26 2010 10:24 AM
anna from new york

Kevin, good comment - you said it all.
The actual problem is somewhere else, but prostitutional American so called "left" doesn't go where the problem is: unfettered capitalism. The problem is systemic and should be dealt as such. They are diverting attention in an ugly, collaborating way.

Oct. 26 2010 10:23 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I sure ain't in John Boehner's base. I'm voting democratic to give the Democrats an even firmer hold on future policy.

I am in it for the long run, my goal being to see the middle class recover the 40 years of income that we've lost since Nixon has been in office.

Oct. 26 2010 10:20 AM
anna from new york

" he is the first President to mention homosexuals as normal citizens"
Travis, there are millions of homeless, sick, unemployed, etc. Why isn't this fact of any concern to you.

Oct. 26 2010 10:19 AM
Ron

I frequently think that Ms Huffington is one of the smartest commentators around, but today I agree with almost nothing she is saying. She sounds today more like the entertainer most of them are.

Oct. 26 2010 10:18 AM
Matt from Bronx

With titles like "Betraying the American Dream," I think Ariana Huffington is falling to the same sensationalism and irrationality that she is supposedly against through the Rally for Sanity

Oct. 26 2010 10:18 AM
Aaron from Brooklyn

Can't remember who said it but this quote is very true -
"The United States is a first world country with a third world heart"

Oct. 26 2010 10:18 AM

Arianna
ever watch nancy grace? we are a third world nation!

Oct. 26 2010 10:18 AM
anna from new york

Bernie,
This why I despise American, including Jewish, "liberals" so much. Ignorance, stupidity, slogans, lack of compassion, prostitution, etc. Despicable.
"what you don't understand is that kind of thinking is the crux of all problems in the middle east." No, it isn't. Only the illiterate and brainwashed think (pretend) so.
" about time a US president didn't bend down to the jewish lobby."
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jewish (eternal echos of the Protocols) lobby is a problem. Sure. Other lobbies, including powerful Arab lobbies, are just wonderful.
dr anna

Oct. 26 2010 10:16 AM
keith from nyc

Arianna is right on about the upcoming rally. Please forward to her this link: www.artaid.org for a cool sign design that will be used at the rally.

Oct. 26 2010 10:14 AM
Kevin from Manhattan

Ms. Huffington just said that in times of economic hardship, the temptation is to find scapegoats when we should be embracing rationality and not demonizing people. Should the same not apply to people working in the banking industry who are being demonized for political gain by the left?

Oct. 26 2010 10:13 AM
Travis from Brooklyn, NY

President Obama ran on a centrist platform that we attached liberalism to. He wanted to create deals and bridge gaps. He failed because the GOP didn't want to create deals or bridge gaps.

We also forget that he is the first President to mention homosexuals as normal citizens. He said the word 'gay' in his inaugural address. That actually means a lot. We might just be expecting too much too fast.

Oct. 26 2010 10:06 AM
bernie from bklyn

it's all just a case of idealism and wishful thinking....i'm sure obama didn't expect full cooperation from the right in congress but i'm also pretty sure that he didn't expect a complete and total rejection of every single idea he proposed.
and to address this commenter-
"Israelis didn't fight and die by the thousands for 60 years in order to put the fate of the Jewish state in the hands of this slick, enigmatic,self-absorbed community activist."
what you don't understand is that kind of thinking is the crux of all problems in the middle east and east/west relations as a whole. maybe israel should never have been created? ever think of that? maybe forcing the existence of the israeli state was a big mistake and zealots like you are the product of this horrible decision.
i don't agree w/ our "community activist" (why is that fact portrayed negatively?) on everything but it's about time a US president didn't bend down to the jewish lobby in this country at the expense of all the rest of the world.
don't forget that israel was falsely created and forced upon the world- you didn't "fight and die" for it's existence.

Oct. 26 2010 09:32 AM
anna from New York

"78% of us (surpassed only by African Americans) stupidly supported this political chameleon who has been downright hostile to Israel's leaders"
Ah, this idiotic base. I am Jewish (non-American born, and mostly educated abroad), just well educated (and decent) and as I mentioned above I didn't vote for Obama.
Martin, read the new book by Howard Jacobson. He talks about British retards, but I guess (haven't read yet) there is universal truth there.

Oct. 26 2010 08:28 AM
anna from new york

Several things.
I couldn't care less what Huffington says about anything. Yes, I had a TV set in the 1980s and I remember her promoting the "trickle down." I never heard an apology. I really don't care what prostitutes say.
Obama's base ... People who say he's betrayed them are dishonest. He was actually surprisingly honest - he praised Reagan right at the beginning, he was always for Republican transformation of education, he was pushing BIPARTISANSHIP, he never promissed universal health care, etc. Idiotic and hypocritical American "my body, my bank account and ... the Palestinians" "liberals" saw something which wasn't there.
I didn't vote for him and I am not disappointed. He might be actually better than this repulsive crowd deserves.

Oct. 26 2010 08:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Gee, are you referring to his often ignored Jewish base??

78% of us (surpassed only by African Americans) stupidly supported this political chameleon who has been downright hostile to Israel's leaders, dismissive of Israel's role as the one reliable Amercian ally in the Mideast, and indifferent, at best, to the critical Jewish financial and media support that launched the improbable candidacy of this inexperienced first-timer.

Israelis didn't fight and die by the thousands for 60 years in order to put the fate of the Jewish state in the hands of this slick, enigmatic,self-absorbed community activist.

Oct. 26 2010 07:56 AM
eva

I'm afraid you don't understand. The President did not betray his base. We were never his base; we merely made the mistake of assuming, after hearing, well, all the things he said, that we were his base.

But we are not his base; Lloyd Blankfein is his base. We are merely the rude people who presumed that we were his base because we do not understand our lowly place next to Gods like Summers and Emanuel and the execs at BP. You see, someone as cute as Obama is under no obligation to 'dance with them's that brought you.'

Oct. 26 2010 03:09 AM

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