OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Well, this is relatively interesting.

Russell Simmons, of Def Comedy Jam and hip-hop music fame, has been making the rounds over the past week in an attempt to promote his new book, "Do You!"

He awkwardly engaged Stephen Colbert earlier this week, with little of consequence coming out of the conversation.

But in chatting with Deborah Solomon of the NYTimes Magazine, Simmons had something noteworthy to say.  

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

What do you make of Barack Obama, who recently said that rap musicians should reform their lyrics? What we need to reform is the conditions that create these lyrics. Obama needs to reform the conditions of poverty. I wish he really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently.

What are you saying? I think about one-fourth of his campaign contributions came from small donations made over the Internet, even though he collected more than any other Democratic candidate from Wall Street people. So at the end of the day, he’s controlled, too. That’s my point. He’s a mouse, too, like everybody else.

Are there any presidential candidates who inspire you? I talk to John Edwards more than I talk to anyone. He has said more things about the conditions we need to think about. He went to yoga with me. He did the whole class, an hour and a half. He sweated like crazy. He’s in good shape, but it was hard on him.

Now I'd imagine that much will be made of Simmons' chiding of Obama, and in conservative circles, the condemnation will be, "A prominent black man is denouncing Obama. Ouch." But such a superficial reading would be not only unfair, but disturbingly so. Simmons' criticism is not dissimilar from the criticism being poured upon Obama from many liberals, in that Obama has not been as outspoken on certain aspects of social justice and civil rights, on welfare or class as has been Edwards.

And this is precisely what Simmons is saying.

He has said more things about the conditions we need to think about.

Or rather, Simmons contends that all of those Wall Street dollars prevent Obama from speaking out on these very issues. Perhaps Obama agrees with Edwards completely; perhaps their platforms are nearly identical on the issues of the day; that's all irrelevant, however. Edwards has been a more prominent voice for such issues, and that resonates with Simmons.

It has nothing to do with Obama being a so-called "sell-out," as conservatives will undoubtedly opine (as they have been in the past). It has nothing to do with Obama "not being black enough," as many have purportedly "wondered" aloud.

It has everything to do, I suspect, with the political strategy being employed.

I'm certainly in no position to adequately gauge the sincerity of either Edwards' or Obama's campaigns. But with some political science training in my background, I feel comfortable asserting that Obama has made the conscious decision of racing Hillary Clinton to the middle, leaving the left open for John Edwards to roam. As polls and support here indicate, the strategy has worked well enough thus far for Edwards, particularly in Iowa.

And so, too, has it worked with Russell Simmons, a man whose influence is not trivial by any stretch of the imagination.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to The Wife of Bath on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:42 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.