In a recent appearance on the “Smiley & West” radio program hosted by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, Harry Belafonte lamented the president’s lack of a moral compass — and cautioned other discontents to be wary of the proposition that the president just needs a second term to prove himself. Said Belafonte:
My question is, what legacy will he leave, having the opportunity to serve under such hugely dramatic circumstances and had such a huge impact on the universal state of things? … [H]ow could he have had such a splendid opportunity to do more than most presidents would have ever been able to do, and he let that opportunity slip away from him[?]
I’m very cautious of the fact that those who think he has some second agenda and only if he could be given a second term for us to see the new light, new things will be revealed, new efforts will be made to take us to a place other than where we’ve been and where we languish. I just don’t trust that. I don’t believe that’s a safe way and accurate way to look at this scenario. If there was the kind of moral compass serving Barack Obama the way we hoped, the moral force would have helped him make choices, the absence of that force in his equations, that barometer to guide him when he has to make these decisions that are hugely complicated, he should have come to the table with the things that would have helped us in this moment of crisis.
As Big Hollywood put it, “Sounds like someone took that whole Messiah shtick a tad too seriously.” Disillusionment was inevitable. Still, the poor president. First Matt Damon, now Harry Belafonte. What is Barack Obama to do? As disappointing as the loss of such high-minded supporters must be for Mr. Obama, this trend is nevertheless a welcome change for conservatives from the trend of the past summer, when celebrities were tripping over themselves to call Tea Partiers “racists.” At least celebrity criticisms of Obama have some grounding in fact; the president has performed poorly, as the economy reminds us daily. Then again, it’s still troubling that these criticisms come because Damon and Belafonte think Obama hasn’t been progressive enough. It seems, for them, nothing but “full socialist” will do.