Juan Williams Thinks Barack Obama Is Kissin’ Way Too Much of Your Black Ass

All this week, and all the next, The Black Snob is taking a look at the views of black conservatives on Barack Obama. We’re examining who likes him, who doesn’t. Who will vote for him and who won’t. So far we’ve looked at the views of Amy Holmes, Condoleezza Rice, Alan Keyes, Colin Powell, Armstrong Williams, La Shawn Barber, Herman Cain and more.

Before I go into this piece on Juan Williams and his statements on Barack Obama I have to offer a brief disclaimer. This series is primarily about black conservatives, right-leaning centrists and Republicans. I don’t consider Juan Williams any of those things. Williams has never explicitly said what his political affiliation is as he still considers himself primarily a journalist and author. To speculate what his party affiliation or political beliefs may be would be purely that, speculation.

There are other things Williams could be considered to be. I sometimes find him a tad elitist, a little annoying and kind of boring but a lot of people apply to those labels. As an acquired taste, I don’t have much of one for Williams’ freckle-faced prose, but he does challenge the intellect, for better or worse.

Williams holds different views on the black protest movement as it remains today, he does not appear to hold any other “traditional” conservative positions (i.e. anti-abortion, pro-free market economy, anti-gun control, etc.) He merely appears to be a critic of current black identity politics and public assistance programs. But since I had so many people who wanted to hear about his views on Obama and my take on them I decided to write a special entry on him anyway. Freckle-faces and all.

That said. Let’s learn a bit about Williams the man first before we get to Williams on Obama.

How you feel about Juan Williams often depends on how you were introduced to him and his work. If it was through his early books and documentaries there tends to be a degree of admiration for the philosophy major who became a leading political journalist.

If you discovered him after he joined the FOX News Network as a regular analyst and expressed what could be perceived as conservative views on the state of black families, you may see him as some sort of Racially-charged Judas, playing the Liberal pantomime on FOX News Sunday.

Almost any black person who shows up on FOX with any frequency is labeled a turncoat or tool, kissing up to a network seen as neglectful of black interests, a network seen as insensitive, indifferent or even racist.

Before he became a favorite FOX News whipping boy, Williams was that accomplished journalist mentioned above. He regularly appears on National Public Radio as a correspondent and writes for The Washington Post.

He’s won an Emmy for his television documentary writing and he won critical acclaim for documentaries Politics—The New Black Power, and A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom. He is also the author of the non-fiction bestseller Eyes on The Prize: America‘s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 and Thurgood Marshall—American Revolutionary.

Despite these accolades, Williams’ official break with much of the African American intelligentsia came in 2006 after the release of Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do about It. In the book he criticizes current black leaders and politicians, arguing that black Americans should take more responsibility for their present situation and reinvest in their communities using economic and political policies that are most conducive to advancement in the black community.

Like other critics of policies born out of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, Williams pushes the need for a reinvestment in education, monogamy, marriage and self-sufficiency. He’s an advocate of family planning, birth control, oral contraception, condoms and the morning after pill to combat unwanted and teenage pregnancies.

The common complaint regarding Williams’ book is that it seems to discount the effects of institutionalized racism and demonizes lower-class blacks.

When it comes to Obama, his views are more opaque but his criticism is sharp and unrelenting. What starts out as an admiration for Obama breaking from the 1960s mold turns to a seething disappointment built on what Williams’ sees as pandering for the black vote that Obama once had a difficult time captivating.

In The New York Times, November 2007:

Barack Obama is running an astonishing campaign. Not only is he doing far better in the polls than any black presidential candidate in American history, but he has also raised more money than any of the candidates in either party except Hillary Clinton.

Most amazing, Mr. Obama has built his political base among white voters. He relies on unprecedented support among whites for a black candidate. Among black voters nationwide, he actually trails Hillary Clinton by nine percentage points, according to one recent poll.

But the good times die here. After video surfaced of Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s, and his more incendiary sermons Williams questioned the plausibility of Obama never hearing the words of one of his closest mentors.

Williams repeatedly questioned Obama’s honestly on this issue and calls him on trying to have it both ways, appealing both blacks and whites while apparently laying claim to nothing.

A recent Op-ed by Williams for the Wall Street Journal:

So far, Mr. Obama has been content to let black people have their vision of him while white people hold to a separate, segregated reality. He is a politician and … his goal is winning votes, not changing hearts. …

Here is where the racial tension at the heart of Mr. Obama’s campaign flared into view. He either shared these beliefs or, lacking good judgment, decided it politically expedient for an ambitious young black politician trying to prove his solidarity with all things black, to be associated with these rants. His judgment and leadership on the critical issue of race is in question.

Williams charges that Obama’s message to black people has changed incredibly in the course of a year, comparing his statements on personal responsibility during the March on Selma remembrance in 2007 to now where Williams believes Obama has purposely muted his criticisms of problems in the black community to pander for their votes.

Therefore Williams has never let up on Obama in regards to the Wright controversy.

(W)hen Barack Obama, arguably the best of this generation of black or white leaders, finds it easy to sit in Rev. Wright’s pews and nod along with wacky and bitterly divisive racial rhetoric, it does call his judgment into question. And it reveals a continuing crisis in racial leadership.

What would Jesus do? There is no question he would have left that church.


Analysis:
It’s hard to tell how Williams actually feels about Obama. I know this may surprise some who can’t get past Williams obsession with the Wright controversy, but his criticism could come more from disappointment than Williams’ sprinkling the haterade on an Obama presidency.

Williams is still a journalist, he offers both praise and criticism, but no real clear views. Still, I can see how his harping on the Wright issue could be seen as a severe case of the “Gas Face.”

Now, what is apparent is Williams really, really, really didn’t like Obama’s race in America speech. He has been explicit in his belief that Obama’s most recent moves are all about ass-coverage and protecting his lead among black voters.

But a huge weakness in that argument is that while Obama has made purposely convenient remarks in light of the scandal, he has also done things that irked members of the black community.

As William notes in some his Wall Street Journal column there were numerous black people in Obama’s church clapping in agreement with Wright’s words. Many of these same black Americans did not understand why Obama was apologizing and making excuses for Wright when in their opinion he said nothing wrong. Obama has also avoided the State of Black America event hosted by journalist Tavis Smiley for two years in a row. And there were plenty of individuals miffed that Obama did not appear in Memphis like candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain did for the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death this past week.

To me, there’s a better argument that Obama is playing it safe, walking a perilous racial tight rope where he can’t afford to make one false move, rather than claim he’s pandering to an African American base.

That said, here are my two usual questions and their answers based solely on hunches.

Chances of endorsing Obama: Not likely. Williams will probably want to keep his journalist credentials.

Chances of voting for Obama: Sure. Why not? Williams may have hated that speech, but you never know what a person will do in a voting booth alone.

One more to go on The Black Snob, check back tomorrow for my final analysis!

Sunday: Amy Holmes
Monday: Condoleezza Rice
Tuesday: Ward Connerly
Wednesday: Shelby Steele
Thursday: Alan Keyes
Friday: JC Watts
Saturday: Colin Powell
Sunday: Armstrong Williams
Monday: Michael Steele
Tuesday: John McWhorter
Wednesday: LaShawn Barber and Herman Cain
Thursday: Star Parker and Eric Wallace
Friday: Larry Elder and Thomas Sowell
Saturday: Juan Williams
Sunday: A final analysis, “Who Would Clarence Thomas Vote For?”

16 thoughts on “Juan Williams Thinks Barack Obama Is Kissin’ Way Too Much of Your Black Ass

  1. Juan Williams is NOT a conservative. He is on FOX, but far from a conservative. He is at best a Lib with a desire to hold our people to a standard of behavior and accountability for our actions. This alone does not make him a conservative, it just makes him a person with common sense.

  2. vonn: I think people are quick to label anyone who criticizes black identity politics as a Republican or Conservative. It’s a little silly. In some cases Juan isn’t saying anything different than what my 80-year-old Granny says and she’s not a Republican. People are just too jumpy. Plus, I think a lot of the hate is because he’s on FOX. I don’t think he’d get slapped around as much if he were on MSNBC or anything-but-FOX. The network is such a lightning rod that even I forget at times that it’s primarily their talk show hosts and pundits who are offensive, not necessarily the other programming. When it comes to actual news gathering their no worse than CNN and CNN is crap. And CNN also has a few HIGHLY questionable hosts in Lou Dobbs and Glen Beck. Why is it that you have to be a complete jack ass to get on cable news? Would it kill them to hire sane people capable of logic and critical thinking. And that regardless of political affiliation. I don’t agree with my favorite bigot Pat Buchanan or 45 percent of the McLaughlin Group but at least they all sound like they once read a damn book.It’s all the McLaughlin Group’s fault anyway. They started all this “shouting as a form of debate as a form of news” garbage. Damn Jim McLaughlin.

  3. He has actually stated on several occasions, the most recent I can recall was after his son ran for local office as a Republican in DC, that he and his wife are Democrat.

  4. BlackSnob,This is my first time seeing your blog and I’m very impressed. Keep up the good work and I’ll definitely spread the word re: your blog down here in the ATL.

  5. I agree with Juan Williams and I am a progressive (Independent). Obama is not kissing ass. He is playing Blacks but they can’t see it. It’s very complicated but most Blacks think there is a healthy reciprocated relationship with Barack when it is simply an illusion. You made valid points of Juan Williams’ being out-of-touch and I think that impairs his formative understanding because he emigrated as a child to New York. No matter that he arrived at such a young age, he has immigrant values and outlooks that has never been disenfranchised like native Blacks who see things differently and know life differently.A woman at my job last week told me that because she is Tanzanian, she will never be able to feel the rage that Blacks feel because she choose to come to this country and that is the difference in Blacks and Africans. With that said, she was explaining how Obama is capable of compartmentalizing just what Juan explained in the pandering. She sees what American Blacks can’t see in that Obama does not understand the nativeness in his soul eventhough he was born American. He is of a native African man and American White woman. Juan Williams is an analysis and his personal feelings prejudice his assessments but everyone does that. He is rather fair to Obama. Blacks have an inability to be fair to Obama and hold him accountable as if they would if he was non-Black. When we look for our own to speak on issues of Obama we are overly-sensitive not recognizing that sometimes they are doing their job. They are not there to please us. Now media outlets hire to either balance the tone of programming or to frame a purposeful tone they may want to send. We understand that. Well, we say that we get it but I don’t think we really get this even about our own media. We don’t judge Ebony, Jet, or Essence as being biased in being too positive towards Blacks. They are media outlets that for too long have given us passes that now that they are struggling to be relevant, they can’t stick because they never wanted to be fair. They existed to promote the Black Community. For decades they would not be critical in their assessments unlessing criticizing the victimization. That in itself framed how Blacks learned to understand their socialization in that we, as a community, were being taught by the model of the Black Media that we were not complicit in the outcomes of our lives. It was not until just a few years ago that Black Media started to ask questions, change their tone, and criticize our own. And still they are reluctant. I think that is because they don’t know still how to transition and announce the social paradigm they upheld (and uphold still in dysfunctionality). So it’s up to us to recognize what media is and that it is most times unrecognizable to us when we are hoping for simply fair and balanced reporting in the basics. If we don’t see that and then we see disparing remarks and execution of the frames, we assume that the media is unfair. Barack Obama has been handed very gracious media handling and his campaign knows it. They are not going to ask to be dealt with more critically. Who would in that position needing as much assistance as he needs in being a pioneer candidate? But it is still not fair to him, their campaign, his competition, or the American People. I just don’t know how we, in the community, will take it when and if he makes it to the general when the 527s and the Republicans attack him in ways the media would not.

  6. andrea: There is a degree of disconnect at times with Barack Obama and what’s the norm in black America. Being both biracial and the child of an immigrant does give a different historical DNA from most black Americans.I also think he’s in this precarious position where he can’t afford to make anyone mad AND the 527s are coming. I constantly tell people that the infighting between Obama and Clinton are child’s play compared to what some conservatives might do to you in a general campaign. There are no rules in that scenario, so I do worry. Bill Clinton could get all red and whip out that finger o’ shame on people AND charm folks at the same time. But both Barack and Hillary lack the former president’s “slickness.”I’m afraid he could get run over like Kerry. The Obama campaign is adapting fast but things you’d think wouldn’t be a big deal become huge. Like I’m sure Kerry thought his military experience was beyond reproach.But that didn’t work out very well.And there is some resistance to criticize Obama. He’s sort of fallen into the “untouchable” category. We tend to close ranks around someone once we’ve decided “he’s the one.” I like Obama, but I often feel a little odd that I don’t feel the same degree of excitement of fanaticism or devotion. He’s a likeable, smart politician. But he’s still a politician. I think people forget that. If he gets to the White House folks are going to be mightily disallusioned when he has to do what countless presidents have had to do before him, wheel, deal, threaten, cajole, inspire, annoy and guess his way through his first term.No presidential candidate is able to keep all the promises they made. If Obama’s smart he’ll just focus on making two or three main issues his focus and the others tangibles.

  7. [quote]Williams has never explicitly said what his political affiliation is as he still considers himself primarily a journalist and author. To speculate what his party affiliation or political beliefs may be would be purely that, speculation.[/quote]Not accurate. Juan Williams is a DEMOCRAT. He has mentioned this several times.He frequently appears on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News. (Sorry – I am a Black guy – I meant to say “Faux News” so I can get in where I fit in). O’Reilly frequently refers to him as a “Democrat” while Mr. Williams never has registered a protest.Juan Williams is a Democrat.Still he is attacked by many on the Black left because while in a debate that has certain confinements he is bound to intellectual honesty because he has his debate opponent there live to rebut him. He can’t go out and use the wildcard of RACISM as a summary statement for all that he disagrees with. Some say that the fact that he sits in the same studio and agrees to debate right wingers makes him one of them.

  8. [quote]I don’t think he’d get slapped around as much if he were on MSNBC or anything-but-FOX. The network is such a lightning rod that even I forget at times that it’s primarily their talk show hosts and pundits who are offensive, not necessarily the other programming[/quote]Blacksnob – “Offense” is a relative term indeed. I find it amusing that the various Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive-Fundamentalist Racism-Chasers (my more descriptive and functional label for “Black Liberals) get bent out of shape when it comes to “Fox News”. I see more attacks on “Faux News” from them than I do substantiation of their points.Fox is not RACIST in the way they make it out to be. The detractors just don’t like seeing their LIBERAL COUNTERPARTS being put on television and belittled – thus the call of RACISM is thrown out.I have seen plenty of BQPFRCs people go on the various shows and put forth sound arguments. At the end they defended their viewpoints.I have also seen BQPFRCs go on throw out some whack arguments and get slapped down. A NYC city council woman came on the O’Reilly factor attempting to push some logic that only biased fellow travelers would agree with. She was made to look foolish in attempting to put forth her line. No doubt it was O’REILLY who was the bad guy there.Alas – Fox News holds on monopoly on bias. If you want to see equal bias pick up a copy of the Louisiana Weekly newspaper. They are as biased to the popular Black left as anything Fox is running.

  9. constructive feedback: Is there something Juan has written or said that’s online that would point to him declaring himself a Democrat? I didn’t find anything when I was working on background. Someone in the comments mentioned him saying he was after his son ran as a Republican in DC.To play it safe, I just labeled in him unaffiliated. Most journalists don’t like to be labeled in that manner. But as I said in the post, Juan Williams is not a Republican or a conservative in either the political or societal sense. Other than criticism of black identity politics he does not share many, if any conservative views on other political issues.As per the “offensive,” I don’t like any news programming that feature hosts who are rude, smug and get upset when people treat them the same way. I don’t like the yelling. There’s no actual knowledge there, it’s just a verbal contact sport of “gotcha.” And you get so much information from those shows because almost everyone, guests and hosts, are just talking from their gut and there is very little critical thinking. Just untamed emotion and mean-spiritedness.Keith Olbermann’s show has probably the least amount of hackery, but even I get tired of him from time to time. I just don’t like hacks. I think that if you can’t have an informative and entertaining discourse without your show continually turning into a hate spiral of name-calling and regurgitated talking points you shouldn’t have a show at all.But that’s just my opinion and the market has already spoken on these types of hyper-biased, weapons of mass disinformation. People like it. I don’t. But people do. So I just watch something else until the regular news returns.

  10. I like this site. Let me give you some information about Juan.First , he’s Bill Oreilly’s “friend”.He wrote the foreword for Clarence Thomas book.He voted for George Bush twice.He calls Rev.Wright racist and says he never heard a black minister say those things(he’s lying).He wont call Oreilly out on his racism.He wrote a Thurgood Marshall book that attacks Malcolm X.The only way that I’ll have respect for Uncle Juan would be if he would go on Sean Hannitty’s show and ask him about his racist,antisemitic friend Hal Turner. You should do a article titled Juan Williams is kissing way too much white ass.

  11. BTW, Juan Williams is a Yardie.He’s a Jamacian that was born in Panama.Fox calls him a liberal,yea right.He has no credibility,he works for the station that is high tech lynching Sen.Obama and is saying nothing about it.

  12. From what I can tell, he’s a liberal until it comes to blacks, at which point he becomes a conservative. Not just a “social conservative”, but a political conservative as well.

  13. Wow! I was lovin’ this blog till you mentioned McLaughlin. Jim’s name is John. I haven’t been this disappointed since my (Chicago) hardcopy of “StreetWise” I bought reported an imminent visit by President George Clinton. My attempts to get “Funkadelic” tickets were futile. Those were the days. Now I give the vendor the buck but don’t take the paper. I hope they don’t find it demeaning, but every tree counts.Anyway, Obama will not be swift-boated like Kerry. He’s way too smart. He understands that my “black” friends are almost guaranteed to see certain issues (e.g.: racial profiling; the role of churches in public discourse; environmentalism; reparations for slavery) and personalities (e.g. OJ Simpson, R. Kelly, or the other way, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Cosby) one way while my white friends are almost guaranteed to take the opposite position) he can play on that. He can be all things to all people. He’s been “the fly on the wall” when white folks in the US talk about blacks. And he’s been the white fly on the black family’s wall. He can be “black” to white liberals feeling guilty about the legacy of slavery,and white enough for the likes of … well the black folk on the McLaughling Group at least, or for that matter even the white folks on the right side of the screen, if not Juan Williams. He seems more moderate than Clinton or Edwards to the tax-adverse middle-class, and more conservative at least in his Pacifism than say, John McCain or even, dare I say it, Gen. Colin Powell. He understands why it is somehow OK for Jay-Z to use the “N” word but not the guy from Seinfeld.He understands that you’re not supposed to take trash-talk seriously if it comes from the pulpit, or your favorite hip-hop radio station.If he is half as much a leader as a speaker, half as good a commander-in-chief as he is a campaigner, he will make the white half of his family as proud of the black and help our country get some long-sought and somewhat deserved racial healing — if we let him.

  14. You tell me who you hang with and I will tell you who you are! Juan Williams and Larry Elders reminds me of David Chappell’s blind, black man,character,who happens to lead a KKK chapter and thinks he is white man.

  15. I love the way people call Bill O’Reilly racists, when he has not said a single racist word. But will put up with Rev. Wright calling Condi Rice a skeezer. The issue with Juan is that he is clearly a liberal, but he’s not a left wing loon. I know it might be hard to understand, but not all of the stuff liberals say makes any sense. He just does what a journalist is suppossed to do, call people out and ask the correct questions.

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