Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West,
First of all let me take an opportunity to say how much I support both of your work. And Dr. West, I consider you one of the thinkers who have influenced my 'paideia' in not only in knowledge-seeking but more importantly, wisdom-seeking.
Last week I was startled to hear you championing polling gains by President Obama in the swing states you visited on the Povery Tour 2.0. I was startled because this appeared to parallel your work on poverty with that of the President's. Here I see more in-congruence than congruence. The evidence is there, and Dr. West you have been at the forefront of speaking truth to Obama's neoliberal actions.
Indeed, you have both hit hard on the areas where Obama appears to have little to no preference for the poor such as Ed. Reform (with Mr. Duncan's market-driven approach, with Rahm accusing teacher's of endangering students in Chicago and trying to cowardly stand behind the children himself), little push for a jobs bill, corporate risks continue to be socialized (esp. in R&D) while the public's risks are in peril through various austerity measures (e.g. where Medicare is claimed to be the problem and the neoliberal conclusion is to cut the program instead of looking to where the expenses come from: private health insurance industry).
But what I worry about coming from you two is that you may allow your vision to be co-opted for the Democratic Party. For example, Dr. West, you admitted on Al Jazeera English not too long ago that you're locked into this 'lesser of the evils' 'politics of fear' game with little ultimate viability from a 3rd party candidate (e.g. Stein or Anderson). But this has not stopped your prophetic voice before! When you pierced through the mendacity of the neoliberal technocratic Clinton program you picked up your courage and supported a candidate who stood up for democratic ideals, Ralph Nadar.