Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
perfect togetherA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
President Obama’s preference for white billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over Black challenger Bill Thompson was clear to all. As it turned out, the mayor’s money barely pulled him through. The mildly more progressive candidate could have won, if Obama hadn’t sided with the Filthy Rich. But then, that’s been the story of his presidency.
Bloomberg and Obama: Perfect Together
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
For the current Black governor of New York State and the recent Black candidate for mayor of New York City, Barack Obama has been a one-man career wrecking crew.”
Even before Barack Obama captured the Democratic nomination for the presidency, many of his Black supporters were compelled to admit that Obama was not a progressive political leader – that his actual campaign positions, once stripped of lofty rhetoric, were very much compatible with those of his main competitor, Hillary Clinton. Still, masses of African Americans were thrilled at the prospect of a Black man in the White House. Excitement reigned, even among those Blacks that were reconciled to the fact that Obama offered nothing special in terms of programs and policies. Given a choice, however, it was thought better to elevate a Black person to the nation’s highest office. If Obama could break through the highest ceiling, the prospects for all Blacks aspiring to high office would increase. At least, that was the rationale.
But it turns out that Barack Obama has done more to discourage Blacks who aspire to high office, than to encourage them. For the current Black governor of New York State and the recent Black candidate for mayor of New York City, Barack Obama has been a one-man career wrecking crew.
Earlier this year, the president placed the kiss of death on Governor David Paterson’s forehead. Obama alerted newspapers to the fact that he had sent White House emissaries to urge Paterson not seek election, next year. It was, as we described it at the time, “an exercise in sheer political brutality.” Gov. Paterson has so far refused to accept his place in the dustbin of history, where President Obama assigned him, but he has been wounded as only a fellow Black man who happens to be president can wound a “brother.”
Obama at first refused to speak Thompson's name.”
But Obama was not through ruining the political prospects of other African American men who were, in fact, just as politically “centrist” as he is. The president, as Black Agenda Report's Margaret Kimberley put it, treated Bill Thompson, candidate for mayor of New York, “like a leper.” Obama at first refused to speak Thompson's name, saying only, and reluctantly, that he would support the nominee of the party. No one could fail to appreciate Obama's admiration for the incumbent mayor, Michael Bloomberg – a former Republican and current independent whose real political party is the ruling class, of which he is the seventh wealthiest member in the United States.
Bloomberg encouraged the impression that his money made him unbeatable. He spent $157 dollars for each vote to win just 13 percent of the electorate, and beat Thompson by less than 5 percent. When it was over the numbers made clear that the Black candidate, Bill Thompson, could have beaten the white billionaire if Thompson had gotten the vigorous support of the nation's First Black President.
So what, in the end, is Barack Obama good for? Many of his Black supporters conceded early on that Obama could not be expected to champion anything resembling an historically Black agenda on social justice and peace. But most did expect that his election would be a boon for Black office-seekers, in general. Tell that to David Paterson and Bill Thompson.
At last weekend's “Black is Back” demonstration in Washington, marchers chanted “Barack Obama works for the white man.” In New York City's mayoral election, he did precisely that – as an active ally of super-rich white power.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20091111_gf_ObamaBloomberg.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:15am EDT