By Lee Hubbard
Ishmael Reed has been called many things in a writing career that has spanned over 40 years. Now the Oakland resident and UC Berkeley professor, author and social commentator of over 20 books, has become “the defender” and gone on the political offensive in his support of President Barack Obama.
Reed, author of the recently published book, Barack Obama and the Jim Crow media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers,” feels the Obama presidency is being sabotaged by both the republican party and right wing critics, but also from the left wing progressives. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, he wrote that progressives calling for Obama to “Man up” against the republicans are out of step with reality.
‘There has been a massive resistance to President Obama and his policies, just like it was a resistance to desegregation,” said Reed in an interview.
If Obama was to get angry at his critics, he would be portrayed as an “angry black man” or a militant, according to Reed, which would haunt Obama politically. Besides, Reed says Obama is widely popular still amongst black and Hispanic voters.
“Progressives do not understand the changing demographics of America,” said Reed. “They cannot see it, because they are largely talking to themselves, instead of ordinary Americans.”
In explaining Obama’s compromise to extend unemployment benefits and the Bush era tax cuts, Reed said that extending the benefits was something that had to happen for the unemployed, which Obama knows about from working amongst them in the Southside of Chicago when he was a community organizer. Reed said that the whispers of a potential 2012 democratic challenge to Obama from within the Democratic Party, would be “suicidal” and it would ensure the “democrats lose the black vote forever.”
While he has some problems with some of President Obama’s policy stands, he said the incremental change Obama is pushing, is a good thing, which will pay off in the end. He urged former supporters of Obama who have become disappointed or critical to get involved, get informed on the issues and recognize the resistance to President Obama and his policies.
“After Obama got elected, all of the people who supported him went home and left the fight for Obama,” concluded Reed. “He is by himself and we need to support him, for the long fight he is in.”
Next: MarvinX an early Obama Defender.