President Obama is taking heat from the progressive wing of his party for saying in a Tuesday interview that younger progressives need to drop terms like “defund the police” to get their agenda accomplished. This mild constructive criticism also drew the ire of far-left The View co-host Sunny Hostin, who bitterly battled her liberal co-hosts for agreeing with Obama’s assessment.
They first played a snippet of Obama’s comments where he said the following:
If you believe as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like defund the police, but you know you’ve lost a big audience the minute you say it which makes it a lot less likely that you are actually going to get the changes you want done.
Obama went on to say that progressive activists need to win others to their side through conversation and describe their goals in a way that brings in a larger audience. Whoopi Goldberg asked Hostin if Obama “had a point.” But Hostin thoroughly rejected the advice for leftists to hide their radical agenda under more appealing language:
You know, I’m always loathed to criticize President Obama because I’m such a fan, but I do think he’s wrong here. I mean, when you think about defund the police, that’s not a term that was crowdsourced or tested in focus groups. You know that’s a term that was born, a rallying cry, it was born out of this overpolicing of black and brown communities, born of the frustration of seeing black and brown men and women killed in the streets by police officers. And ‘defunding the police’ does not mean — for the hundredth time I’ve explained it, it does not mean eliminating police departments. It doesn’t mean stripping agencies for all of their money. It’s re-imagining policing in this country to address systemic racism. We defund school programs all the time, and they call it defunding school programs, yet no one seems to have a problem with that, but people all of a sudden have a problem with defunding the police, that term, and I don’t think you should allow people to co-opt the movement and tell protesters what language they should use. I think, you know, President Obama was a community organizer, and I really think that he, you know, knows better.
But even Hostin’s liberal co-hosts saw the writing on the wall.
Whoopi pushed back saying Obama was warning Democrats to be aware of how their message was coming across and how the right twisted it and “turned it into something else.”
While Joy Behar complained that defund the police was just “not an accurate statement” for the movement, that it scared Americans, and “that’s why so many Democrats lost”:
Another thing is, like, pro-choice also and pro-life. Those things don’t work either. It should be pro-woman. They need to get a slogan that does not make people nuts, and defund the police scared this country and that’s why so many Democrats lost.
Sara Haines also agreed with Obama, saying they needed to add in support not subtract from it, but still Hostin disagreed: “You also, Sara, don’t allow other people to define the movement.”
Even Joy Behar had to admonish her co-host for not taking Obama’s advice: “I know you do, but I think you’re wrong this time, Sunny.”
It only got more heated after the break as Hostin lectured Haines that abolishing slavery wasn’t popular either, taking that terrible analogy from yesterday’s show guest, Michael Eric Dyson: “The term abolishing slavery wasn’t received well. The term civil rights, that term also wasn’t received well. Again, these aren’t political slogans, Sara. You know that. These are rallying cries!”
As the co-hosts spoke over each other, Behar tried once more to get across to Hostin:
President Obama is — he’s what you call a pragmatic politician. He is trying to get — To get the thing done. Everything that Sara just said is true. We’re all in the same camp. The question is, how do you now communicate it to people who just hear a slogan and do not read between the lines?
They continued to disagree as the segment ended. Hostin warned the real “mistake” was “allowing the right to change the narrative.”
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