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Wednesday
Aug102011

Tavis Smiley Is Still Waiting On His White House Invite

You know? Sometimes, usually upon the urging of people who like author and TV host Tavis Smiley, I try really, really hard to listen to what he has to say and give him the benefit of the doubt. And I'll wonder, "Maybe I am too hard on the guy? I do want people to care about poor people. Maybe he means well?" And I try to be nice. But then he opens up his mouth and says something like, "This is the first president in my professional career that hasn’t invited me to the White House," and I'm right back on the "WHAT THE HELL, TAVIS?" train. What the hell, man? Who ARE you? (Psst. The kind of douche whose lack of self-examination allows himself to openly bemoan not getting a White House invite as if he's the King of Zamunda.) It's nice to know that in your tireless effort to bring attention to the needs of the neglected it is still, and will always be, all about you.

(H/T to my friend-in-snark, Hamilton Nolan at Gawker.)

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  • Response
    I commend West, Smiley, and Farrakhan for trying to remind the President that “It’s the (tangible) Economy, Stupid” I commend Sharpton for doing the same thing when he’s out of the anchor chair at MSNBC. What I don’t commend is the bickering back and forth between these leaders who make themselves ...

Reader Comments (26)

Tavis Smiley is an ass. Wow.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJem

It is really f'ing hard for me to take these haters seriously. They hate on Obama like he put their heads in the toilet in high school. I'm not saying that they have to like the president, but their loud, public but most importantly stupid criticism is doing nothing for their case. And the politically ignorant Black folks and white folks who like to start isht eat this up.

Tavis, Obama did NOT steal your bike!

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSerenity

Snob, have you heard Steve Harvery's radio show and what he said about Tavis and Cornel?

Steve Harvey kinda went all in!!!!

http://www.v103.com/pages/sh.html?article=8939870

Favorite line "Who in the hell got 2-3 damn days to sit with you azz"!!!!

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlamh34

@ lamh34

Yeah! I saw that. Although, in a Harvey vs. Smiley situation it mirrors an "Alien Vs. Predator" situation ... No matter who wins, we lose!

August 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

Tavis and West both feel they are at the top rung of the black success ladder therefore they should be called upon to provide advise to the President. Nothing could be further from the fact. I wish they both would find a hole and cralw into ir as far a possible. They are currently on a poverty tour and I doubt either one of them knows what it ia like to be in poverty in 2011. Neithr of them have examined the alternative to President Obama and appear not to realise that their comments could help to put a tea party favorite in the White House as well as in control of both houses of congress. Ask they if they think President Bachmann is going to have them over for tea.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpoblackman

"Yeah! I saw that. Although, in a Harvey vs. Smiley situation it mirrors an "Alien Vs. Predator" situation ... No matter who wins, we lose!"

Zing! I never had much respect for Tavis Smiley or many male self appointed "leaders" of the Black Community. I'm not sure what his beef with Obama is really about - what, did he think West was gonna be the first black POTUS - and don't really much care. I know this, I'm not sure those two clowns riding around the country in a bus is doing our community any favors either. Y'all wanna help? how about kicking some funds down to support our overtaxed social service agencies and non profits. How about mentoring some folks who could use the connections so they can get some damn jobs. Enough talking, Tavis, Cornel. enough talking.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSnarky's Machine

What a douche. I've been done with this cat since '98 when he spoke at my Sorority's conference. When he wasn't hawking his shitty books and pontificating in a faux MLK cadence, he was talking down to us like we were folks who take the short bus. The worst part was that a lot of the older members were eating it up. Blech! If I was the POTUS I wouldn't invite his opportunistic ass to the White House either. What exactly does he even DO anyway?

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMax

This shyt has gone into the realm of the patently absurd.


if he wants to visit the WH, he better apply for a WH Tour like the rest of us.


here's a hint Travis:


Your Black Ass disrespected MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA.


YOU AIN'T NEVER GETTING AN INVITE FROM THIS PRESIDENT.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrikyrah

I was so afraid you were going to say something sympathetic about him. I can't stand this smarmy jerk and I don't even watch his show enough to have a good reason.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReader

This fool.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersteven g fullwood

I'll tell you what, poverty pimps though they may be, they do indeed have a point about "our beloved" Obama not doing enough for the poor in this country. Just effin' look at what the repubs are doing to this country: holding it hostage with the debt ceiling nonsense, trying to kill medicare, privatize social security, rabid about reversing roe v wade, syseimatically stripping unions of their bargaining rights, trying to take away our right to vote, all the while there are no jobs being created and we're getting speech after effin' speech! This is where i am now, look, he knew the job was tough when he took it, he knew he was dealing with some thugs on the right who want to take this country ass backwards. When the dems had the house, senate, and executive power, they massively squandered the opportunity to effect meaningful change because of their stupid divisiveness. Now we have the tea party holding the repubs hostage and everything's even more fucked up. I love him too, but sometimes presidents have to be pushed into greatness cause he doesn't seem to want or know how to lead!.So that's right, hold his ass accountable to all of us and for god's sake enough with the speeches, lead us out of this mess, respectfully.speaking of coarse.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertara22

I'm convinced they want the repubs in power. Then they can be the honorary black intellectual leaders again. GTFOOHWTBS.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJem

At first, when I read that quote I thought, "Brother, please. It'll be a cold day in hell before you have an audience with the Obamas". Then I checked myself. It's interesting that Obama will go out of his way to negotiate, compromise, appease Republican leaders who only wish him failure. It's also interesting that after the brutal campaign against Hillary, he invited her to join his cabinet.

Obama doesn't feel that Tavis and Cornell are important. Nor doesn't he feel that it is politically expedient to address the issues they have raised regarding poverty and the increasing wealth gap. If those were concerns of the President, he may have reconsidered the $35K/plate fundraiser/birthday celebration. I truly believe that if polls revealed that these were issues gaining traction, Obama would at the very least humor Tavis. Presently, there is no reason to do that as Obama doesn't value the black or progressive vote enough to entertain the thought that these groups would vote for someone else. Even in an environment where black wealth is dropping precipitously, Obama has no reason superficially accommodate Tavis. He has no reason to accommodate any black person who criticizes him. (Although, I bet John Conyers isn't losing sleep over his lack of invitations).

This is a problem because meeting with agitators or addressing their concerns would be the very least he would do with any other group. Also, if Obama considers working people and minorities primary constituencies, why isn't he giving them the time and concern he's offering the titans of Wall Street?

Just something to think about.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Obama doesn't know how to lead? How about black people don't know how to support? I can't be the only person who remembers Obama ran on a non-partisanship platform - giving equal deference to both sides, trying to get Dems and Repubs to work together. Like it or not, that's what he's been doing. I think people just chalked his campaign position to saying whatever needs to be said to get elected but then once elected that Obama would become a hawk Democrat - kicking Republican ass whenever possible. He could have but that wasn't what he ran for. Little to late to get pissed off now. If that's the type of president you wanted, you should've voted for Hillary.

As to blacks lack of support, what they hell were you doing when midterms rolled around and Congress tipped back to the Republican side? Obama went all infeet first in the beginning: executive orders were flying out the door (loved the one removing the ban on stem cell research), threw together the first stimulus package, and immediately tackled health care. None of you should have had any complaints then but you were MIA during the midterms. Why? Did you think just having a black man as president would solve everything? From the lackluster black turnout, the answer must be yes. Your fault.

Tavis and Cornell may not have been to the White House but please don't sit there pretending NO black leaders have been up there and given him CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Hell, even Reverend Al should have his own parking space. In the history of this country, there have never been more black people from all walks of life invited or honored by the prez. T and C are just being temperamental little bitches. Everybody else has gone to Cinderella's ball - even some broke old hotel employee - but no, not Tavis and Cornell. How dare that president pick run of the mill people for such an honor? Must have killed them when he invited and acknowledged that little black girl who wrote him about the poor condition of her school building on national television. She even got to sit next to Michelle. Oh, the horror!

And $35K is not out of line for a PRESIDENTIAL FUNDRAISER. If you didn't catch Obama at McDonald's, Ben's Chili Bowl, Harold's Chicken or jogging down Pennsylvania Avenue, that's your problem.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeepitreal

@keepitreal


1. What's the purpose of signing executive orders if there is no intention of honoring them? For example, Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo and followed it two years later with another executive order which created "a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay". Thus, Obama cemented Bush's policy of violating the Constitution in the war on terror.

2. Obama's "health care plan" wasn't a health care plan. It was an health insurance reform plan that provided additional customers for the insurance industry.

3. By stroking Rev. Al's luxurious mane Obama has rendered him impotent and by granting him access, he has given him legitimacy. I find it hard to believe that Al would not fiercely criticized any president other than Obama for a number questionable acts including president Obama putting social security on the table in budget talks.

4. In the middle of a financial crisis, where middle class and poor people are being screwed out of existence and in an environment where you appointed individuals responsible for that financial crisis to cabinet level position, it was not a good look to have an extravagant fundraiser (which only the very rich could attend) with the prospect of a downgrading of the US credit rating hovering around the corner.

5. How can Obama call such rich people "fat cats" out of one side of his mouth and ask for substantial donations out the other?

Aside from the BS, I admit, Tavis and Dr. West are spitting, someone needs to call Obama on things like this. We are beyond the point where we can assume that his actions are efforts to remain in office. We are beyond racking questionable actions up to his commitment to pragmatism. This isn't even about Republicans. Someone must question Obama's commitment to the groups responsible for his election. If he doesn't at least begin to humor those concerns and those individuals, he's going to be in for the shock of his life in 2012.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Typical punk-ass Kappa!!! Those candy-cane foo-foo boys always have been "just oh-so sensitive."

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmerican Rogue

@monica

You make a lot of sound points but please know the prez was just playing politics with the repubs when he put social security on the table. Everyone knows it's political suicide to touch the big 3 (social security, medicare and medicaid) in any radical way. In fact you can count on the dems and prez beating them over the head with Paul Ryan's plan in 2012. He set up that proposal understanding full well that the repubs would never give an inch on their "sacred cow"-raising revenue on the wealthiest in our country.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertara22

Black on black crime. *sigh* Tavis is being ridiculous and I've had enough of him and Cornel on this topic.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCoretta

@keepitreal

"I can't be the only person who remembers Obama ran on a non-partisanship platform - giving equal deference to both sides, trying to get Dems and Repubs to work together."

I thought he also ran on "hope" and "change"?

And as voters do we not have the right to criticize our president's policy execution?

As I told a friend the other day I think there are 2 constituencies that Obama has sewn up; Black single mothers of sons and single Black women. For them he can do nothing wrong.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEL Boogie

@Monica

1. What's the purpose of signing executive orders if there is no intention of honoring them? For example, Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo and followed it two years later with another executive order which created "a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay".

2 years later... Yes and what happened two years later?

2. Obama's "health care plan" wasn't a health care plan. It was an health insurance reform plan that provided additional customers for the insurance industry.

And 80% of the population favored a Public Option but we didn't get it. Why? Stubborn republicans and weak democrats. Obama can encourage, suggest, intimidate congressmen all he wants, if they don't act according to his preferences then what? If he said "Forget this BS I'm not going to sign anything w/o a public option", you'd probably criticize him for not trying to meet the opposition half way. The man can't win.


3. By stroking Rev. Al's luxurious mane Obama has rendered him impotent and by granting him access, he has given him legitimacy.

And the suggestion is to let Tavis and Cornell go up there and be "rendered impotent" and "given legitimacy" too? If Obama gave those two the Al Sharpton treatment in the beginning, would they have criticized him as much and as openly as they do now? Methinks not.

4. In the middle of a financial crisis, where middle class and poor people are being screwed out of existence and in an environment where you appointed individuals responsible for that financial crisis to cabinet level position, it was not a good look to have an extravagant fundraiser (which only the very rich could attend) with the prospect of a downgrading of the US credit rating hovering around the corner.

Yes and Michelle shouldn't go around wearing J. Crew and taking trips to Europe even though she can afford them with her own money that she made being a top attorney. Not their fault other people are broke. They did what they were supposed to do - studied hard, got accepted to Ivy League schools, entered the workforce with the best qualifications possible, and produced outstanding work. If someone's going to be mad at people who make more money (or lots more money) through their own efforts, all he/she can do is blame themselves. No point being jealous.

If Obama had the psychic ability to know that the repubs were ready, willing, and able to let this country fail financially just to make him look bad and that the credit rating was going to drop, I doubt he would have run for president.

And show me any fundraiser where people with no money are invited. Definition of insanity.

5. How can Obama call such rich people "fat cats" out of one side of his mouth and ask for substantial donations out the other?

You mean like every single politician in the world? He's a fat cat himself with the millions of dollars his books have made. Does that disqualify him from wanting shift more tax liability to the rich? Or is it possible that some rich people don't mind the tax and changing the status quo to improve America's financial future while others don't? Must be nice to group all people in such tidy little packages. Oprah shouldn't donate millions for causes she believes in . She's rich and rich people only care about themselves.


@American Rogue. Them's fighting words! Not all Kappas are like that. Johnny Cochran was a Kappa.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeepitreal

With all due respect, please enlighten me on this one:

"If Obama had the psychic ability to know that the repubs were ready, willing, and able to let this country fail financially just to make him look bad and that the credit rating was going to drop, I doubt he would have run for president."

I don't know that there has ever been a historically "good" time to run for president. Accepting the position means you have to navigate through whatever waters HISTORY unfolds for you. With this line of thinking would Bush W. have run for president if he knew Al Queda was going to blow up the WTC? Would Roosevelt have run for president if he knew the Japanese were planning to bomb Pearl Harbor? Perhaps not?

I am EXTREMELY proud of B. Obama. He is smart, successful, has great integrity and has a beautiful wife and family. The optics are wonderful. However, I was also proud of Mike Singletary for becoming head coach of the 49ers, until they consistently started losing. I think Mike Brown is a wonderful man, husband and father but if the Lakers don't win next year I'm going to be among the first to help him clean out his office.

Why? It's the JOB. And inherent in the job is the criticism that comes with it.

The original premise if the post was that Tavis is being critical because he hasn't been inviited to the White House to have a sit down with Obama. And while I'm sure there is a level of self promotion in his efforts and criticism we shouldn't dismiss the fact that attention to the GROWING number of people in our country that also went to school, worked hard, played by the rules and did the right thing yet are still suffering GREATLY should happen. This is the discourse of a Democracy. And even a fine brotha like Obama is not immune to the criticism that comes along with it.

SInce Bill Clinton was in office, the Repub party has demonstrated that their tactic is to consistently oppose, discredit, rebuke and destroy any and EVERY policy that doesn't fit their agenda AT ALL COSTS. I think people are just a bit frustrated that it doesn't appear that anyone is fighting as hard to push back against their efforts.

We might not like the two messengers, but the message is valid.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEL Boogie

ppssshhhh. the only reason he gets any criticism is because he's black. it has absolutely nothing to do with the ridiculous amount of spending. nothing.

money says that obama breaks the cut and invites tavis before the year is out. LMAO.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLOL

Please let's get real. Tavis Smiley crossed Obama when he disrespected his wife and said she was qualified to speak at his black get together conferences that never produce anything of substance but provide for many colorful speeches. I don't blame Obama - dish my wife and I would not ask you to cut my grass. West got upset when he couldn't get extra tickets to the swearing in oath of office. Tavis summed it all up for me when he commented that this President is the only setting President that never invited him to the white house - GIVE ME A BREAK SO IN TO YOURSELF TAVIS THE PIMP SMILEY. Tavis and cornell can you challenge the President without calling him spineless leader and other adjectives and please stop saying it's about LOVE and you all Love the brother, becasue you don't you love yourself. If Obama doesn't get a second term you all can go back to being the self appointed black leadership that we dont' need. Tavis and Cornell please take your pimp proverty show to some poor white neighborhoods too.

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermel gordon

@El Boogie

The word I used is Constructive Criticism. How is calling someone names - scratch that - calling the President names and throwing self important hissy fits equal criticism? I don't care if Obama gets criticized as long as it is done right by these so called highly educated people. Do it like a man. Not a snot-nosed child. And don't use terms like "tar baby."

I thought Cornell was being constructive in the beginning but if the past few months have shown anything it's that his problems with Obama are personal. I knew Tavis wasn't giving constructive criticism during the campaign because he "criticized" Obama more than Hillary. He's a Clinton kiss ass like some of the CBC and "Old Guard" were. Now they all have to eat crow after saying things like I bet Clinton (Bill) has had more black women than Obama - side eye to Andrew Young or I want to cut his nuts off - side eye to Jesse Jackson. Say that shit about me and I wouldn't feel like giving them the time of day either. I sure as hell couldn't do Obama's job - not without giving someone a beat down.

As far as the comment that only single black women with or without children are his base, I guess Tom Joyner, the men who call into nutjob Warren Ballentine's show, and the men I know who've got Obama's back must be preoperative transsexuals . Again - must be nice to group people in tidy little boxes. You don't have to think as much. If you're concerned about the plight of poor black men, go to the hood and help those preops on a daily basis. Make sure you tell them Tavis sent ya.

From what I hear, I don't think blacks main beef against the prez is his spending too much money. The problem is him not spending butt loads of cash on them for jobs (for blacks), educational systems (in black neighborhoods or for HBCUs), and health care (for black families).

I've got my problems with him but it ain't "me me me" issues and I don't need Heckle and Jeckle representing my interest with "I support anyone who gives me god-like respect and millions of moolah" Farrakhan. Talk about giving somebody legitimacy. No, I do things like contact my state and local elected officials and express my concerns (because they affect your everyday existence more than a fed congressmen who spends the majority of his/her time campaigning on going on vacation than doing his/her damn job). Much more effective than airing grievances on a message board or acting a fool on national tv.

Someone suggested if Cornel/Tavis were sooo concerned about poor people and the state of the country - run for office. That'll happen the day Cornel decides to be a tenured professor at an HBCU and when Sarah Palin decides to go back into public service rather than shoot her mouth off in a way she never could if she was responsible to a constituency. Of course, people would start using that Accountability book against them and they won't measure up - at all.

P.S. Going back to that dig on black chicks - If it weren't for them most black men wouldn't even exist, or have reliable sources of bail money (or child support money for their babies' mamas), or homes to come to after they serve time, or well... just about everything. You might want to reevaluate your condescending attitude toward them. At least they're trying to keep the boat from sinking all the way to the bottom.

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeepitreal

Tavis-West are both Haterologist. How could two supposedly intelligent grown ass black men end up on the wrong side of African-American history at it's zenith in this country. These smalled minded ego maniacs never cease to amaze.
Tavis said he is not a Obama critic?? WHAT!!?? Either he had been taking drugs or needed to take some for saying that.
And has anybody ever notice that no one has their facts straight when it come to pointing out things he is guilty of??
Article after article about him has him pointing out things that are either not true or the person writing the article did not do their research throughly. I would not allow him in D.C. let alone my house if I was President.
Haters, plain and simple. Angry, disgruntled fools who will be judged by history. We should make them both honor their positions by celebrating them both as glorious fools who did not have the brains to reconize a brillant Man of true intelligents and political skill. The idiots! Perhaps Tavis can go back to kissing HRC ass and try to convince her to run against Obama like his boy cheny suggested last week. Afterall, he was a male "Hillary's Girl".

September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeingHuman

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