A year ago, I was among the chorus of critics of Barack Obama's decision to announce his candidacy at the same time as the State of the Black Union conference organized by Tavis Smiley. Then as now, I believe it was a deliberate tactic to distance himself from African Americans lest he come out of the gate labeled as a "black presidential candidate."
Obama has declined the invitation to appear before this year’s gathering, which will be held in New Orleans on Saturday. He offered to send his wife Michelle but Smiley said thanks but no thanks. And that’s when the
sh stuff hit the fan.
Smiley has come under withering criticism for insisting that Obama take time off the campaign trail. His rejection of Michelle Obama as a surrogate has triggered comments such as "get over yourself," "stop hating on your brother," and the unkindest cut of all for a talk show host, "shut the hell up!"
While I still think Obama should fulsomely acknowledge African Americans' overwhelming backing of his candidacy, his supporters have convinced me that he needs to be in Texas and Ohio, where he's trailing Hillary Clinton by double digits. So, in the inimitable words of Dr. Boyce Watkins (hat tip: Eddie Griffin for sharing the video): "Man, go do your thing."