Although I enjoy watching the State of The Black Union on C-SPAN, I find it quite pointless. It's a group of liberal academics who sit around and talk about issues concerning the African American community. Sen. Obama is in for the fight of his life in Texas and Ohio and needs to spend all of his time there campaigning. If Mr. Smiley REALLY cares about issues concenring the black community, he would care about our candidates working towards winning the presidency and extending our majority in Congress instead of pimping candidates to line his own pockets.
Below is an excerpt from a Washington Post blog that has quotes from both parties:
"Obama followed up with a letter to Smiley, dated Feb. 13. In it, Obama explained why he declined the invitation, saying that he needed to campaign in states that Clinton must win to in order to topple her candidacy. "I will be on the campaign trail every day in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly to voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy," Obama said in his letter. He had offered to have his wife, Michelle, speak in his stead at the State of the Black Union, but Smiley had declined. "I ask that you reconsider," Obama wrote. "Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of reach change America is hungry for."
Smiley responded in a commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, condemning Obama's decision with his usual strong, passionate, rapid-fire delivery. He recounted the gist of his statement in the interview. "I think it is a miscalculation on his part not to appear and a missed opportunity.""I love Barack Obama and I love black people," Smiley said. "I celebrate his past accomplishments and I celebrate his future aspirations. I never wanted to stand in the path of his growth."However, he said, "My job is to ask the critical question, to raise these issues and keep these guys focused. There are some people who are disappointed that I'm not jumping up and down saying, 'Vote for Barack Obama.' That's not my role as a journalist. That's not what I do."
Smiley has acknowledged that he has received criticism as well as death threats. While I don't agree with death threats, I think he should receive criticism. Someone needs to tell him to go kick rocks.