Tuesday, August 26th 2014

by Geraldo Rivera | Aug 26, 2014

A Brown-faced Bill Clinton?
2,500 mourners crowded the pews of the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Ferguson Mo. yesterday, to remember Michael Brown. The nation's civil rights leadership was all there, including two of the Rev. Martin Luther King's kids, Rev. Jesse Jackson, film-maker Spike Lee and Rev. Al Sharpton.  Rev. Al led the way.  As the nation's prominent black activist, he called on the crowd to do something to fix the epic crisis of cops vs. black men; do something rather than bitch about how bad things are at "ghetto pity parties."  One voice notably vapid throughout the Ferguson protests is President Obama's.  The president's modest approach to All Things Urban was reamed by Prof. Cornell West. The fiery, left-wing Princeton professor who once denounced Obama as a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface," just wrote in a Salon article that the president "posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit."  Since I consider myself a Rockefeller Republican in brownface, I don't think Prof. West's characterization of President Obama is necessarily an insult. Liberal (Rockefeller) Republicans like NY's actual Gov. Rockefeller, Sen. Javits, Attorney General Lefkowitz and Mayors John Lindsay and Mike Bloomberg did a lot to balance civil rights and civil behavior in New York.  Prof West criticizes that moderation saying "the middle ground is not the place to go if you're going to show courage and vision."  I disagree. My beef with President Obama is not his moderation, which is called for in dealing with this, the nation's most egregious domestic issue. It is his apparent distaste to get involved in Urban American issues at all.  The War on Drugs is a disaster. The disintegration of the urban family is an epidemic. Gang violence is intolerable. Economic and social segregation is increasing. And the relationship between cops and black kids will continue yielding serial tragedies.  And the president just won't go there because every time he does he seems awkward and hopelessly Ivy League, more at home on the golf links than the streets of South Chicago, his adopted hometown. As Prof. West also says, President Obama is no Lincoln, he's "more like a brown-faced Clinton." I again disagree, whatever color his face, Bill Clinton would have been more engaged.

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