President Obama trod a delicate political path during a recent online book tour promoting his new memoir, “The Promised Land” – as an enduring darling of left-wing youth who doubles as a critic to gray models.
Case in point: During an appearance on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America”, the former president called on progressives to drop slogans like “defund the police” – while berating, moments later, the elders the party for failing to spotlight young stars like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York.
“If you think, like me, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it is unbiased and treats everyone fairly, I guess you can use a catchy slogan, like” Defund the police, “Mr. Obama said on the show host Peter Hamby in the episode, which was released Monday.
“But, you know, you lost a big following the moment you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you actually get the changes you wanted,” he added.
Many Democrats, including Mr. Obama, have suggested that Republicans were able to turn the slogan “defund” into a weapon during the election by falsely accusing Democrats of pushing to abolish entire departments when most of the party advocated restructuring existing agencies to reduce police violence.
But the “lively” joke drew instant criticism – polite but pointed – from several leading progressives, including Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, who tweeted: “We are losing people to the police. It is not a slogan but a political request.
Mr. Obama struck a significantly different note when the discussion shifted to this summer’s Democratic National Convention, which featured a nodding appearance by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.
The first-year lawmaker backed President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., often on less than enthusiastic terms, after supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary. (Democrats close to Mr Biden said at the time that the brevity of Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance was not insignificant, but admitted that Mr Biden’s more enthusiastic supporters had more than airtime.)
“The Democratic National Convention, I think, has really succeeded given the pandemic and has really put technology to good use,” Obama said in the interview.
“But, you know, the fact that an AOC gets it, what? Three or five minutes? When she speaks to a wide range of young people who are interested in what she has to say, even if they don’t agree with everything she says, ”he added .
“You give it a platform, just like there may be other young Democrats who come from more conservative regions who have a different point of view. But new blood is always good, ”Mr. Obama said.