UPDATE: Friday 1:24am
Added the video at the very bottom of Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks addressing this situation. I think he makes some great points, including one that I forgot to include in my original piece.
Harvey makes comments about West and Smiley and how they are bitter for them not being invited to the White House, and says that they are simply upset at being snubbed.
However, as Cenk points out, if you are progressive and don't support the President 100%, then you get left out in the cold, no matter how much you supported and campaigned for him, as did Cornel West.
Yet Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and other right wingers who continue to shit on him every day gets to come in there all the time. And as I mentioned, Harvey, who is a big supporter of the President no matter what, got an invite to the Birthday celebration as well.
So apparently Steve Harvey took issue with Cornel West and Tavis Smiley's criticisms of President Obama recently as they have been promoting their "Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience".
On his radio show, Harvey went in pretty hard at West and Smiley over the criticism that they have leveled against this administration, and how the low/middle income Americans are getting screwed while the rich keep on getting richer, often at the expense of said low/middle income Americans.
So rather than attack them on the merits, and perhaps explain how and why they may or may not be wrong, Harvey does the tried and true attack method of simply criticizing the messenger. Rather than counter anything that West and Smiley have said, he throws out suggestions that they are simply bitter of alleged personal issues that they may have with the President, and threw out some accusations by way of asking "how are they paying for these buses?", and pretty much saying that the two were simply on their "Poverty Tour." to make money, not to actually help.
He made these comments and added that poverty was nothing new, and why did these guys not have a poverty tour BEFORE Obama came into office.
Now while I disagree with the vast majority of how Harvey went about this, there is one thing I kind of agree with him on, however I think he makes their point for him when he does say this. That is his comment saying that West and Smiley seem to take issue with Obama's not doing more for the African American community, by saying "He's the President of the United States, not the President of the Hood", and pointed out that he's elected to look out for everyone, not just one demographic.
If he were honestly looking out for everyone in the country equally, then he would be looking out for the lower/middle class, and that's just not happening. Instead, he's doing everything in his power to do whatever the Republicans ask him.
Harvey mentioned something about paying attention to what Obama campaigned on, as if that was his silver bullet against Smiley and West wanting him to suddenly do everything for African Americans. However, if Harvey really wants to go there, I don't think that's the best argument to make.
For starters, Obama campaigned on "Change." Specifically changing the fundamental ways that Washington worked. He used the famous line, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" to signify that he was going to step in and fight against the Status Quo.
Yet once in office he surrounded himself with all the same people from Washington. He has put people in positions of power who helped put us in this economic mess that we are in. He has done very little for the lower income brackets, and has done virtually everything for those in the upper income brackets.
He campaigned that he would get rid of the Bush Tax Cuts that benefit only the richest 2%. Instead he barely put up a fight against renewing them, and then extended them. So tell me, Steve Harvey, where are Cornel West and Tavis Smiley wrong in their statements?
Jesus spoke of caring for the less fortunate. He said, quite famously, what you do for the least of His people, it will be the same as if you had done it to Him. The New Testament is full of messages of helping the less fortunate, the sick, the meek, the tired, the disabled, those that today many so-called Christians would spit on and step over on their way to a latte.
And I wonder whether or not Steve Harvey believes that this is not a big problem, or that it's being exaggerated by people like West and Smiley.
The thing I took issue the most with is Harvey suggesting that Obama was doing a good job, and seeming to say that West and Smiley were trying to take him down, labeling them as "Uncle Toms" in the process. And I'm sure he honestly believes that. However it might be a bit easier to not question his intentions and integrity, if it wasn't for the fact that he himself was invited to Obama's recent birthday celebration at The White House.
So he's clearly a supporter of the President, and that's fine. I was a supporter, I voted for him, and for awhile I stuck with him until it became evident that he wasn't representing me or anyone I know. And Harvey is someone who has a lot of money and I'm sure that the President's policies have helped Harvey out a lot more than they've helped out anyone who lives in my neighborhood.
So it makes sense that he would support the President. However, when you go about attacking someone not for the merits of what they said, but instead you smear them with innuendo and accusations of fraud and misrepresenting themselves, then you run the risk of being called out and having your own motives questioned.
I thought it was interesting that he would go after these two for allegedly being "Uncle Toms", if only because I've actually heard way more people refer to Harvey in that term than I've ever heard anyone say about Smiley and West. I'm not saying Harvey is, as that's not my call.
I think he should be more genuine though, which is a major problem that I've had with Harvey for years now. He comes off as very non-genuine. He comes off as too slick and fake to me, much like some of these televangelists.
I could be wrong, and if I am then I apologize. However I don't think I am on this one. It's sad to me that Harvey would try to gather attention this way and get his name in the news cycle by attacking two men who are trying to make a difference and get attention for those who often do not have a voice of their own in a petty and reckless way, simply to defend the President.
But as I said, perhaps Harvey is simply protecting his own interests here. It's not like poor people are buying his expensive suits or going to his sold out shows, right?