President Obama Takes "The Black Vote" For Granted

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[The View From Washington]

I have worked around 3 Republican presidents --Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush-- and I can tell you for certain that one sure-fire way of learning a president's priorities, is by who he agrees to spend time with, as in meetings.

A president's time is scheduled to the nth degree. So, if the president is meeting frequently with the oil industry, it's a safe bet that he will be pursuing legislation that will impact that industry.

So, with that as my premise, I think one could safely conclude that President Obama sees little value in the Black community.

Obama was sworn into office on January 20, 2009. In less than 2 months, on March 18, 2009, President Obama had his first meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss giving amnesty to the 30 million undocumented people in the U.S.

After the meeting, the White House's Press Office issued this statement in part: "The President had a robust and strategic meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today on the topic of immigration. The meeting lasted approximately one hour. The President discussed how the administration will work with the CHC to address immigration concerns in both the short and long term."

Notice that only Hispanics were in this meeting and the purpose was to discuss an issue that is of particular importance to them --though other groups that support amnesty would also benefit if amnesty were made into law.

But President Obama has repeatedly stated that he is President of all of America. He made this comment last year when asked what he was going to do about the high unemployment rate in the Black community. His point was that his policies would be "color blind" and that his policies would benefit everyone.

So, can someone please tell me how adding about 7 million more low and under skilled people into the labor force is going to decrease the unemployment rate in the Black community?

Juxtapose that meeting with the one Obama held in February of 2010 with Ben Jealous, president of the N.A.A.C.P., Mark Morial, president of the National Urban League, and Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network. The purpose was to discuss with these 3 --who have never created a job-- the high unemployment rate within the Black community. Unlike the case with the Hispanics, the President had no legislation to offer; but it was more of a symbolic meeting. Nothing was accomplished.

I find it astonishing that it was well over a year into his term before President Obama met with the Congressional Black Caucus. Again, it's about time. Who the President meets with and for how long, will tell you where his priorities are.

During the month of April 2011 alone, the President met with Hispanic groups 3 times to discuss amnesty for them and the DREAM Act. So, in 1 month, Obama has met more with Hispanics than he has with the entire Congressional Black Caucus in 2 ½ years in office.

President Obama has never called a meeting of the leading Black entrepreneurs to discuss the state of the economy relative to the Black community. They are there--people like Earvin "Magic" Johnson, K. David Boyer, Ulysses "Junior" Bridgeman, Michael "Scooter" McGruder, Rick "Doc" Walker, Dave Steward, or Earl Graves.

Most of the African Americans who have been invited to the White House have been athletes and entertainers.

Let's be perfectly honest, President Obama and his team have made a political calculation that they can ignore the Black vote, knowing that we surely will not vote Republican. They also realize that doing so will anger the Black community; but they also know that we won't do anything but complain and continue to blindly follow. There is no fear factor in ignoring the Black vote.

President Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time pushing the agendas of the Hispanics, gays, and women. But, when it comes to Blacks, he is "President of all of America."

Black people need to wake up and realize the game that is being perpetrated. We need to do more than get angry.

To the White House, please realize that anger is just one letter short of danger; and if you continue this perverted strategy, your re-election might be in danger. 

The most ardent of Democrats must think strategic, not emotional.

It's about time.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine


"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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