Over the last three and a half years, there have been three silly political storylines that have driven me absolutely nuts because it was plainly apparent that they were not true. One was that author, reality television star and former half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin was going to run for president in 2012. Another was that President Obama would swap out Vice President Biden in favor of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And the most irksome of all is the complaint from African Americans that Obama ignores their concerns.
The latest manifestation of the Obama-doesn’t-care-about-black-people whine comes from Fredrick Harris. In a piece for The Post’s Outlook section headlined “Still waiting for our first black president,” which was adapted from his new book, the Columbia University professor makes a stunningly false argument.
"Obama has pursued a racially defused electoral and governing strategy, keeping issues of specific interest to African Americans — such as disparities in the criminal justice system; the disproportionate impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities of color; black unemployment; and the persistence of HIV/AIDS — off the national agenda. Far from giving black America greater influence in U.S. politics, Obama’s ascent to the White House has signaled the decline of a politics aimed at challenging racial inequality head-on."
Those are all important issues. They must be addressed. The problem for Harris is that they are being addressed by the president. Not in the theatrical way Harris would like. But in the actions-speak-louder-than-words way of Obama.
Capehart then goes on to list the numerous policy decisions that President Obama has made that address African American concerns. And they are, of course, numerous,
You know we have come to expect that a certain type of American will simply NEVER be happy with the President's performance, you would think that the black community would give him a break.
And yes I know this is only one guy who certainly does NOT speak for all African Americans in this country, but still it just seems ridiculous that any black man in America would provide ammunition for the Right Wing by questioning the support this President has with the African American community.
Surely this individual has to know that the Republicans are looking for ANY way in which to peel off support from this President. They tried it by suggesting that his speaking out for same sex marriage would cost him Black support. Or that he was waging a "war on women" due to his inability to improve the job market sufficiently. And now they are touting Obama's "Pew Gap" and claiming that he has lost many of the religious voters.
In my opinion, anybody who wants to stop the Republicans from taking back the White House, and effectively taking us back to George W. Bush's America, needs to look for the positives, and there are many, with this President and leave the criticisms and negativity to the GOP.
As Jonathon Capehart points out at the closing of his article:
By searching for marquis moments, Harris and others appear not to care about the myriad actions Obama has undertaken that affect the lives of all Americans, yes, but also of African Americans more directly. And I certainly don’t advocate for Obama to burst into the East Room clad in Kente cloth and brandishing a definable “black agenda”or whatever else so many blacks seem to want from him to prove that he cares.
Someone who started his career on the south side of Chicago, whose wife is also from Chicago and who also has two young black daughters, doesn’t wake up one day and say, I don’t care about African Americans. That’s why it bothers me to no end that those who are “still waiting for our first black president” seem unwilling to pay attention to what the first black president is actually doing.
All I am saying is that ANY President who has spent the last four years under the kind of constant assault that his man has endured, should NEVER have to worry about becoming the victim of "friendly fire" from within his own ranks.
That is what second terms are for.