It was written by Michael Fauntroy, an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the book Republicans and the Black Vote.
Here’s the gist of his argument:
Smiley has been nothing if not consistent. He has always advocated the importance of the issues over the candidates and has stressed the need to hold the candidates accountable when it comes to Black problems. What’s wrong with that? You better believe that other segments of the electorate will do this with regard to their unique issues. Latino/a voters will hold him accountable on immigration. Jews will hold him accountable on Israel. Wall Street will hold him accountable on business and taxes. And Black people are supposed to just sit in a corner, be quiet, and hope that Obama will get to our issues? I say no!! This is a hat-in-hand approach to politics that has gone on long enough. Smiley is right. If we can’t seek accountability now, then when can we?
Does he have a point? Are African-Americans hesitant to hold Sen. Obama accountable when it comes to “our” issues? If so, why? Was it fair for Smiley to criticize Obama for not attending the State of the Black Union?