President Obama Losing his Base, and Others
by Charles Butler (bio)
As I was headed to a recent television interview in Chicago, the driver sent by the network asked me what topic I was going to discuss on television.
"President Obama is losing the support of his base."
The driver, black like me, laughed.
He told me he didn't vote for Obama in 2008 because he knew Senator Obama lacked the experience to run the nation.
So much for Obama's monolithic black support.
As I reviewed my interview notes, I reflected on how I had predicted that Obama would be a lackluster leader. Most folks at the time thought I was crazy, given the hysteria surrounding the newly-elected president with the great smile and perfect family.
Since his inauguration, however, Obama has squandered his incoming goodwill. Vast numbers of people rejected ObamaCare, opposed the Wall Street bailout and stimulus package and opposed the Afghanistan surge and intervention in Libya. He also forgot to close Gitmo, protect the border and implement policies to create jobs and wealth for working people.
Then there's the plight of black America — his core constituency.
Some Obama supporters compare him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Interestingly, one needs to go back that far to find a president who, like Obama, lacks an agenda for black America.
It's come to a point where I now find myself, a black conservative, sharing similar thoughts about Obama as the Congressional Black Caucus. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), for example, now warns about "a growing frustration… in minority communities." Welcome to my world, Maxine!
Blacks, who delivered of over 96 percent of their votes to Obama in 2008, seem to be suffering the most these days. In July, the overall reported unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. The reported rate for blacks was 15.9 percent. In Chicago — the hometown of Obama, my driver and me — it's 21.4 percent. Gang violence is out of control there, with children being gunned down blocks from Obama's Hyde Park home.
Actual shovel-ready construction jobs often don't necessarily help blacks because things such as the Davis-Bacon Act can still hinder black hiring. And the Obama Administration's position on illegal immigration and backdoor amnesty puts social and economic pressure on all low-income Americans.
The Congressional Black Caucus wants Obama to implement an FDR-like "New Deal" program for America. How about a free-market "Marshall Plan" to help us rebuild economically here like we helped rebuild Europe after World War II? Enough with Iraq and Afghanistan. The "hope" and "change" I want to see is putting Americans before the rest of the world.
Instead, Obama engages in a blame game that is unprecedented among former presidents, who generally have been reluctant to criticize their successors out of respect for the office.
Obama bullied the Congress on spending projects, ObamaCare, the stimulus package and repealing the "don't ask-don't tell" policy regarding open homosexuality in the military. He chose not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and certain illegal immigration enforcement efforts (and opposes states that want to). Educational standards are being repealed and reset through executive action. Our military's actions in Libya have largely been an executive act in defiance of the War Powers Act.
All Americans are experiencing some measure of social-economic strain. But we do not want to fundamentally change America. We like America and all that it represents in terms of freedom, justice and opportunity.
Obama, on the other hand, seems to be under the impression that Americans want to be on the dole like people in European countries, but we equivocally do not ascribe to or want handouts. A hand up would be nice, but not a handout.
We are a proud nation. It's now questionable if Obama shares that pride.
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Charles Butler, is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, a talk radio host in Chicago and a marketing partner with Aricent LLC. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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