Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Barack goes to Harlem and other thoughts


Just in case the sturm und drang of negative voices carping at the POTUS from the right, from pun-idjits and from the self-appointed green-hued purists of the purportedly left persuasion are beginning to wear on anyone’s nerves (’cause they are on mine) just wanted to share a little anecdotal joy.

I have had it – up to my eyeballs with folks on leftie blogs who aren’t working class, aren’t black or latino, aren’t Democrats (as far as I can tell) shrieking at the top of their lungs and comparing the President to Bush, Romney and even Hitler.

So anyway – I’m dumping my feelings here.

I lived, and worked in Harlem for many years.  Both Harlem’s – East,and Central (the East side is often called “Spanish Harlem”).

The POTUS paid a short visit to Harlem to do a fundraiser at The Red Rooster.  So my ears perked up when I heard he was going to show up, and I searched for media reportage.

My local TV station covered the crowds lined up hours in advance hoping to catch just a glimpse.  

These are the “poor ghetto folks” he’s betrayed (the gospel according to RainbowFake and other ranters)

Yup.  Sure.  

See picture above.

Read quotes below:

Residents line the streets of Harlem hoping for a glimpse of President Obama

Straining her neck in hopes of getting just a glimpse, Chalise Bostic joined hundreds packing Lenox Ave. to welcome the first black President to the cultural heart of black America.

“To breathe the same air as him, it’s perfect,” said Bostic, 21, a student at LaGuardia Community College.

Obama’s motorcade drove west on 125th St. as throngs of people, some dressed in T-shirts bearing the President’s face, packed the sidewalks and applauded, waved – and even cried.

“It’s a historic day – our first African-American President in Harlem,” crowed Columbia University grad student Lissan Hardware, 26. “It gets no bigger than this.”

Garbage trucks lining the streets blocked the best vantage points to see Obama, and the President probably didn’t see protesters toting signs reading, “Where’s the Doggone Birth Certificate?”

But overall the crowd was clearly pro-Obama.

“I’m proud of him, not because he’s black, but because of the things he has done for everyone,” said retired Harlem nurse Leona Brown, 58.

“Being here is important,” Brown added. “I can tell my grandchildren and maybe great-grandchildren I was here when the President was at the Red Rooster.”

Obama’s Harlem Fans Already Looking to Reelection

“It’s about time for him to come back and see us,” said Olivia Brand, a retired Harlem resident who recounted standing in the long lines at the polls to cast her vote for Obama. But she wasn’t holding any grudges. “I heard it on the news, I took a shower, got dressed, and said, ‘I’m going to come see the man of the hour.'”

“My first time ever voting is when Obama was on the ticket,” echoed Jamal Harris, a 32 year-old neighborhood resident. Harris has since lost his job as a teen counselor and he rests credit for his extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits squarely on Obama’s shoulders. “I can’t find a job, and he allowed me to continuously pay my bills and take care of myself.”

Florence Middleton stood nearby in the blustery spring wind wrapped up in a scarf, hat, and winter coat with an Obama pin on the lapel. “He’s my president, and I love him,” the 50-year resident of the neighborhood said. “He can’t do any wrong, that’s how I feel ” she added with a laugh.

One after another, the people milling around the police barricades waiting expressed unequivocal support for Obama, and campaign readiness for the next go around.”I like the president. He’s done good by us,” said Luz Feliciano, a lifelong Harlem resident who works at a senior center in The Bronx. She and her mother had come to wait. Feliciano pointed to Harlem’s improved economy and crime rate as evidence of Obama’s success, and unprompted, she jumped ahead to 2012. “And I’ll vote for him again.”

She wasn’t the only one who volunteered thoughts on Obama’s political fortunes.”The Republicans downgrade him, and stuff like that. But he’s doing the best he can.” James Bell said. “I don’t know whether he’ll get elected next year, because the white folks don’t want him, but he’ll be all right.”

Okay.  What does this prove? Some folks in Harlem like the POTUS.

But to me it speaks to those people who ranted about the deal he cut with the Republicans to get unemployment extended.  The naysayers (imho) really don’t care about how those folks affected really feel.  

Are Harlem folks angry about “tax breaks for the rich”.  Not exactly.  Folks I talk with are happy to be getting bennies.  Period.

Do regular folks hang on every word of Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald?  Nope.  They have never heard of either.  They don’t read Daily Kos either, I’m sure.

But they know who they voted for – and will be out again in 2012 – doing it again.  

Sure.  Blacks and Latinos can’t get him elected by themselves.  But I’m willing to bet that there are other places across America where people feel just the same.  They aren’t going to make headlines, and we sure won’t hear from them on certain online venues.  I don’t even know if most regular folks get polled.

But my money is on Barack in 2012.  

You can take that to the bank, or put it in your pipe and smoke it.

Okay – this is really an open thread or something.  

I just needed to hyperventilate before I wind up smashing my keyboard in frustration.  



  1. DeniseVelez

    in the face of hard core hate fests.  I guess it never occurred to me that when we got the WH back after years of Bush that the instant leftie turn-around would be so vituperative and vehement.  With strong doses of racism thrown in for good measure.

    I’m still bemused.

    Talk to me Moosies. (the bad head cold I’ve had for a week isn’t helping my mood)

  2. HappyinVT

    and yes there have been a few, I still cannot think of anyone I’d rather have in the White House right now.  If only because I firmly believe he has thought through every decision thoroughly and considered the short-term and the long-term ramifications of each and made what he considered the best decision.  That’s not to say that I’ve agreed with them.  If the US arms the Libyan rebels I’m not going to be happy because I think that’s a really bad idea.

    But I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the things he’s had to deal with in these last 2+ years, domestically and internationally.

    (Btw, I was channel-surfing this am and saw a story on FNC that a poll has “Does Obama deserve to be re-elected at 50% no and 41% yes.  It was a Quinnipiac poll and I know nothing about the responders.)

  3. jsfox

    has once again seemed to reach a fevered pitch. And yet it is the same people who have complained since February of ’09 which never seem to miss an opportunity to find something to bitch about.

    What I find truly amazing the biggest impediment to Obama doing all they want is the Republicans, but they rarely go there.

    So on that note thank you from the bottom of my heart for this diary!!!!!

  4. for spending so much time on dkos. 😉

    There are plenty of us out here who still support him and plan on voting for him again in 2012. IMO, there isn’t another person in politics that I would rather have as president in these turbulent times. I’d be happy to have either Clinton as president, but I prefer Barack. And I’m an older, white, male voter.

    I hate to say it, because talking about it doesn’t do any good and may actually do some harm, but much of the resistance and criticism facing the president is because of his race. From both sides. How else to explain his lowly 38% approval rating among whites?

    Many of those who are against him probably don’t even know why they hate him, they just do. They don’t think of themselves as racist and they don’t think their antipathy towards the president could possibly have anything to do with his skin color. But they are wrong. The dislike is instinctive. They rationalize it by saying they don’t like the way he walks, or talks, or carries himself. They talk about his seeming sense of superiority. Every one of those complaints is based on his skin color.

    For my part, I support him regardless of his race. I am proud this country elected an African-American. I am happy and proud whenever we breach another discriminatory barrier in our society. I am extremely pleased that he and his family are a constant rebuttal of so many stereotypes. I am so very happy he is instilling pride in minority children who will one day be better citizens because of that pride. But that isn’t why I support him. There are others, such as yourself, that do those things every day. I support him, because he is intelligent, thoughtful, pragmatic, and, yes, caring.

    This isn’t to say I don’t have criticisms. I am unhappy with many of his decisions and actions as president. I abhor the use of drones in Af-Pak. I want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to see many of the powers given to the Executive branch during the Bush administration rolled back, including many of the provisions in the Patriot Act. I don’t like his reliance on Wall Street types, like Geithner and Summers. There are other issues I want to see action on, like the closure of Gitmo, but realize they are out of his control. Normally, I would be speaking out more on these issues. Unfortunately, the constant drumroll of criticism from so many directions requires me to put aside my complaints to avoid adding to the noise level.

    About the only way I’ll vote against a second term is if the GOP nominates an FDR clone.

  5. …I’m sure I won’t offend anyone by crossposting it from An Open Letter to the President Diary on the Rec list today.

    I don’t actually disagree with…

    …the critique of the egregious power of monied interests in Wall Street, or that Obama has patently failed to address this issue, among others.

    However, I radically disagree that this diarist, or all the encouraging commenters, in their blanket counsels of nihilism and despair which paint every action, every bit of legislation, and every legislator, as a pre-emptive treachery, is doing much to help.

    The analysis is fine, in a Pol Sci simplistic way, as if someone had swallowed a Naomi Klein book and gone no further.  But the activism is dreadful. Most of you guys alienate more dems on this very site than you persuade or convince. Unleashed on a wider electorate, my fear is that you’d create unelectable candidates with unelectable platforms.

    As a British guy on the left (which is way to the left of your left) I could wish the American electorate was more receptive to socialised healthcare, progressive taxation etc. But it ain’t. And this dual strategy – complete revolution accompanied by complete despair – is an academic solution only.

    The point is, as Marx once said, not to interpret the world but to change it.

  6. Strummerson

    It’s been a stressful stretch.  This diary made this inspiring scene so tangible.  On election night, I’ll never forget receiving a call from a friend right after his speech.  She’s a photographer who was returning from a job in NJ and called me from 125th St.  I could barely hear her, but she said “Hey, it’s me Melanie…I’m in Harlem…Listen!”  Then she held her phone up so I could hear, clear above the shouts of joy and chants, the bold ring of the church bells.  And inside my head, I could hear Dylan imagining “the chimes of freedom.”

    Thanks for the reminder.

  7. I feel better having folks like David Gergen approve of his speech than Jane Masher. If he could make everyone on DKOS happy he could join Kuccinich in his likelihood to be elected president in 2012.

  8. spacemanspiff

    Don’t let it get to you. I went over to GOS and dropped a comment and got h’rated for saying “echo chamber of hate” by 2 turds. One who was the only person to rec a comment in which somebody was making excuses for a commenter on FireDogLake who called Obama a house nigger. The same person failed me and rec’d the racist turd. lol!

    Yeah I laugh. I think it’s funny (for realz) how the same crew of 10 or 12 people spend hours on GOS day after day. Who has this kind of time? Exactly. People who are not important in the big scheme of things. This same crew replies to me like they know me ( hey keyboard commandos! how is lurking on the mooooose going for ya?) with the same canned responses. I snark and rec them up. Every single one. I even rec their diaries if they are over the top enough. What difference does it make? None! Pretty soon when they figure out they are in the minority they’ll start talking about unity and how we need every vote we can get. Some good Democrats will worry and apologize and take their rants seriously. Then somebody will offend them and it’s back to square one. But I won’t.

    Why spend hours debating them or proving them wrong? It’s a waste of time to do that. It’s Groundhog Day all over again. Let them think they are right. Let them trash the POTUS in their barely read diaries with right wing talking points. If we really wanted to make a difference we’d be debating on “neutral” sites with right wing commenters. At least they are honest about what they think. What we don’t like it’s that they do it on our turf. But is it really? It’s only a handful of diaries in a community in which bigger and better diaries (see our wonderful srickisan) are being written at a faster pace than ever.

    Snark them off if you’re going to reply. Laugh. Have fun! Blogging isn’t supposed to piss you off or make you think bad thoughts after you’ve turned off the computer. If you have an unpleasant exchange on Black Kos or on the Moose then I would understand. Nothing hurts more than fights between friends. But friends even if they don’t see eye to eye will always forgive each other after tempers go down.

    Ellos son mucho bla bla bla y poca accion.

    It’s a carnival and they are the clowns (I’m the bearded lady bviously…oh wait).

    We don’t take clowns seriously!

    You are a great person and a great leader D. You know more than I do about what I just rambled/ranted on.

    If you don’t here is the Cliffnotes version. 2012 is coming up. Let’s kicks some ass and HAVE FUN!  

  9. sricki

    the naysayers. We DO have to GOTV like crazy, but I think we can pull it off. The GOP field is so awful. The moderates and Independents, even those who are PO’d at Obama, will vote for him over Palin or someone like that if it comes down to it.

    As for dKos… I don’t have a whole lot of issues there because I don’t go into the Obama diaries, pro or con: They both bring out some very angry people. I don’t really enjoy seeing the president slammed, even though I’ve disagreed with him plenty. I dig Obama personally, and I think he’s doin’ the best he can. The only controversy I’ve had on dKos since being back there “regularly” was in a diary *I* wrote, and admittedly it was probably not the best topic to have written on.

    I don’t even look at the rec list most of the time on dKos. I forget it’s even there. I hardly read the front page either, except for Angry Mouse who I follow and therefore comes to my stream. My stream is very reliable: science-related diaries, BKos, pootie diaries, environmental stuff, women’s issues, poetry/lit diaries, some health care stuff, etc. The junk doesn’t come to my stream, so even though I know it’s there, it doesn’t bother me much. I glance at Community Spotlight up top, but that’s usually interesting, harmless material.

    I’m sorry that those of you who fight the good fight, so to speak, have to deal with so much frustration. I just haven’t been able to tolerate blog drama — for any reason — since MyDD. Burnt out. If I DO read a nasty thread, I do not make my presence known. I usually don’t uprate either side, no matter how much I might agree with someone, because I just don’t want to be involved in any way, shape, or form.

  10. Inoljt

    Progressives need to stand behind the president, not criticize him every time he compromises.

    Just think about the damage progressive criticism of the health care bill did when the public option failed. There was enough attack from the right, the left doesn’t need to attack him as well.

    With allies with that…who needs enemies?

  11. Strummerson

    but Charles Lemos is back.  He has a piece about Ryan’s assault on the new deal up.

    Why would he bother posting in that graveyard?

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