Black Public Scholars

January 3, 2010

News: Danny Glover vs. Barack Obama

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Danny Glover recently directed some criticism at President Obama, regarding his lack of action in dealing with issues disproportionately impacting the Black community. President Obama fired back, saying that he was not neglecting Black issues, and that the issues he was being asked to address could not be fixed in one term, much less one year.

So, who is right? I’m not a fence-rider, however in many instances there is truth on both sides of a dispute or issue, and that is the case here. To be accurate, Danny Glover didn’t call out President Obama for simply not paying enough attention to Black people; he called him out for his overall policy approach, and it’s similarities (in Glover’s opinion) to the policies and approach of the Bush administration. This is a fair criticism, for a couple of reasons. Despite the conservative media’s protests to the contrary, Obama ran as a moderate, and that is basically what he is on most issues (if you don’t think so, compare Obama’s campaign platform to that of Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards). Former President Bush, although a Republican, was also considered a moderate (too moderate for many Republicans) on many issues. So, it is no surprise that President Obama may look similar to President Bush in his views and actions on some issues (most obviously in his war policy). I’m not saying I like it, but that is the reality. This is not an issue new to our current President, or to politics as a whole. Many (especially those who argue for the need of a strong third-party in American politics) have made the argument that there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats (often calling them "Republicrats") in general, especially when dealing with higher offices, such as the House, Senate, and presidency.

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