Sunday, November 21, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The administration noted Wednesday that the U.S. auto industry has added 77,300 jobs since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, that vehicle exports are up more than 40 percent from 2009, and that the nation's Big Three car companies posted operating profits for the first three quarters of this year...Those millions of lost jobs would have been an significant number even in an economy as large as ours. The economic crisis we still face today would have been made much, much worse had the Federal Government led by Obama and the Democrats in Congress failed to act, and act promptly. - Alternet

I, like many other progressives have been highly critical of this President and this Congress in the last two years concerning many of the missteps they have made. However, their actions in bailing-out GM and the auto-industry is worthy of credit. It is one thing to criticize other people and only be willing to highlight the negative and God knows we have turned criticism into a new art form. With the advent of the 24/7 cable news cycle and the need to fill all of those empty hours with distractions and nonsense it is especially important to identify those policies and efforts that do what they are designed to do.

When the wing-nuts were pontificating on the demise of the free markets and the federal takeover of the private sector with efforts like the auto industry bail-out this administration made a calculated decision to step in and save American manufacturing jobs and a staple industry. The lack of repentance on the part of the wing-nuts should be proof for anyone in or out of Washington that these folks have no intention of changing the tone in Washington. You add to this intransigence the results of the last election and the wing-nuts believing they have received some sort of mandate and the prospects of our getting anything done to solve the massive problems facing this nation are almost non-existent. The fact that we have not heard from one Republican to step up and acknowledge they were wrong says volumes about who they really are and what their true intentions are.

At some point in America we have to be willing to overcome our selfish tendencies that have been exacerbated over the last few decades and once again consider what is best for the nation as a whole. The greed that was exemplified during the Reagan years has been pumped full of steroids and we now find ourselves in the grips of this me, me, me mentality. We have become a nation of special interests being led by the wealthiest among us. These folks are willing to flaunt the laws and rules of our country to advance their profit margins at the expense of our country. As a result we have become so tribal that instead of our politicians and many of our citizens asking what’s best for the country the mantra is now what’s in it for me and my group.

The time has come for those who have received the most among us to demonstrate one of the most American of traits and that is self-sacrifice for the sake of our country. We have a history in our nation of people who are willing to look beyond their own self interest for the benefit of the group and often times those people have been wealthy. How many wealthy folks were willing to make major sacrifices during WWII because of the call for self-sacrifice by FDR and the need for the benefit for all Americans? Today instead of an atmosphere of shared sacrifice we have this atmosphere of what can I get out of it. This attitude of selfishness permeates every area of our society. Over the last few decades the rich have done better than most Americans and now is the time for those people to step up and ask what they can do to help the country.

This administration has made a number of miscalculations but in this case they made the right decision despite the protests of the wing-nuts. I hope this success will embolden them to begin to stand up for the American people against the onslaught being waged by the wealthy through their political and media minions. I think this President should call for an end to all of the Bush tax-cuts and return the tax rates to the levels of the Clinton years. I know this is considered treason by many folks who want to consider raising taxes during a recession as insanity, but the truth is that having these lower tax rates in effect have done little to create jobs which is how the middle-class will see their lives improve. Some may say this will be political suicide for the President because of the successful campaign of the rich to equate tax-cuts to this panacea of economic growth that has little if any basis in reality.

Making tough decisions in the face of a crisis is the definition of leadership. The President must be willing to use his political skills to educate the American public on the nature of the challenges they are facing. If I were advising the President I would schedule weekly television addresses and town halls from now to Election Day to allow the President to make the case for what he believes in. My hope is that he believes in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure through public works. I hope he believes in retooling American manufacturing and creating new entrepreneurs through investment. One of the things I think that has been lost in our loss of manufacturing is that the manufacturing industry was built by small plants that over time expanded. We should be providing investment to people who have ideas and products that we can develop for mass manufacturing to rebuild our base and middle-class. This idea that we can never make anything again is insane and being perpetuated by the ruling class to maximize their profits and not to keep America strong.

"Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything," Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, said on Fox News Sunday. "It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning." - Senator John Kyl

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Go Right Young Man

And we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters. During election season, Congress sought to placate those on the extreme left and motivate the base — but that meant that our final efforts before the election focused on trying to allow gays in the military, change our immigration system and repeal the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. These are legitimate issues but unlikely to resonate with moderate swing voters in a season of economic discontent. - Evan Bayh

Now that the President has returned from his 200 million dollar a day vacation the pressure will surely intensify for him to move to “the center”. What exactly does that mean? The thing that always gets me is that people say this as if this or any other Democratic President since LBJ has ever been pushing a truly progressive agenda. What these people call left most progressives consider center right. The wing-nuts have succeeded in moving the definition of a liberal to just left of their most conservative member. What this has done is cause the Dems to change their agenda from what was once truly progressive to this watered-down version of Republicanism.

I can’t imagine what the country would look like today if FDR and LBJ had not been pushing real progressive reform during periods when others were telling them to move to the right. The refrain from the right and the wealthy will always be don’t upset the status quo the system will fix itself if left to its own devices. Now you may disagree with some of the components of their agendas but who can argue that these brave men laid the foundation and increased the middle-class in this country. Democrats used to stand for groundbreaking and innovative thought to some of our most difficult challenges. Today, I don’t see that willingness for innovation or the bravery to even offer new ideas and solutions.

Let’s be clear moving to the center has never solved any major problem facing this nation. What moving to the center has done is insured that nothing gets done and this is exactly what the wing-nuts want. But why would so-called Democrats call for a move to the center? The answer is simple the corruptive influence of money in our system has had a negative effect on both parties. There is no longer one party that is willing to address the systemic problems that allow the wealthiest to profit at unprecedented rates while the rest of us are lucky to just break even.

The Bush Tax Cut debate will demonstrate for all to see how this phenomenon has affected our political system. The mere fact that we are having a discussion about whether to borrow money from China to pay for tax-cuts to give to the wealthiest 2% of our population speaks for itself. The mere fact that this President who campaigned vigorously against this very prospect is now considering allowing a compromise that will keep them in place is ludicrous. How could you not fight for this when the majority of Americans are opposed to it? This speaks volumes to what is meant by moving to the center and of where the center is. How is this the center and of what universe?

The time has come for progressives to do what the teabaggers did to the Republicans and that was to give them the balls to stand for what they believed in. When many were telling the Republicans that they would have to move to the center following two disastrous elections the teabaggers and their handlers would have none of that. The teabaggers didn’t come up with any new ideas for the Republicans but they forced them to stand on their principles-as misguided as they were. This is not the time to retreat back to some center-right agenda. The problems facing this country are too large and too important. It was the center-right that came up with a stimulus that was too small and misguided to address the problem it was created to fix. It was the center-right who came up with the debt commission recommendations that will put more burdens on the poor and middle-class to reduce the deficit. It is the center-right who believes that tax breaks and outsourcing are good for American workers and not unions. It is the center-right who wants us to believe that 8-9% unemployment is the new normal and we will just have to get use to it. It was the center-right who came up with a mandated healthcare bill that gave away the store to the same industries that were creating the problems.

After the 1994 midterm, when Democrats lost the House and Senate, Bill Clinton was told to "move to the center." He obliged by hiring the pollster Dick Morris, declaring the "era of big government is over," abandoning much of his original agenda, and making the 1996 general election about nothing more than V-chips in televisions and school uniforms....Oddly, though, after Republicans suffer losses in the first midterms they pay no attention to voices telling them to move to the center. If anything, Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes moved further right. - Robert Reich

Mr. President there comes a time in everyone’s life when despite everyone around them screaming not to do something you have to stand on what you believe in the innermost place of your heart. That time is now. You must not give in to the “voices of reason” because they are not being reasonable they are being accommodating to those who have your failure as their number one goal. How does one negotiate with someone whose sole mission is your destruction? Is it victory if they do it quickly or without pain? Is it better to lose clinging to what you believe in or winning by believing in nothing?

“Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation.” - William Lyon Phelps

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Support the Middle-Class is Not a Principle

Divisions are evident here in the United States. Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama lagged in appealing to white middle- and working-class voters who supported Hillary — and former President Bill — Clinton. Now, these voters, according to recent polls, are increasingly alienated from the Obama administration. Reasons include slow economic growth, high unemployment among blue- and white-collar workers and a persistent credit crunch for small businesses. These factors could cause serious losses for Democrats this fall — and beyond. - Politico

As an instructor for a male character building class one of the sessions we cover is how important specificity is in goal setting. One of the common goals I get from my students is I want to make a lot of money. The problem with this goal is that it lacks an actual completion point or destination. How do you know when you have accomplished it or if you need to reevaluate it? I mention this because this is where the Dems find themselves today. They have no specific principles to guide their goals. What they have are a lot of warmed over “Great Society” rhetoric such as we support the middle-class. What does that even mean? To me it is similar to the “We support the troops” argument of the last administration as if anyone would say, “we don’t support the troops”.

The time has come for Dems to develop their 21st century manifesto, a pledge to America, or whatever you want to call it. This would include not only the principles for the party but also the overall vision of where they want to lead this country. The people in America are looking for answers but what they are getting is bumper stickers and disillusionment. The new direction of politics is whatever you do don’t offer specific plans or ideas-stay flexible. This may serve the short-term campaign but it does nothing for long-term governance. Over and over the American people are saying we don’t want flexible we want solutions. What the mid-term election stated loud and clear is that this was not a ringing endorsement of the Republicans, but a frustration vote against the Democrats. The reason the teabaggers made so much noise was because they were the “none of the above” selection. The problem with having only two parties is that people keep going back and forth when they get frustrated and feel like they are not being heard.

The teabaggers presented themselves as an alternative for that frustration, but the truth is that they were not what they claimed to be. Many of them were recycled and repackaged wing-nut cultural warriors. Does anyone believe that the American public in two short years has forgotten the mess the Republicans created? If that were in fact the case their approval rating might be a little higher than 30%. When you only have two choices and you feel like neither is listening to you then you can keep going back and forth like most people or you just give up.

The Republicans govern like it is a dictatorship and the Democrats like it’s a social democracy. The Republicans demand and get party unity to their core set of principles; they do it through their party system. You do not get to represent the Republican flag if you don’t hold to those principles. The Dems on the other hand have a different philosophy. They are a loose coalition that shares some common elements (we are not Republicans) but for the most part have no overarching principles. It is because of this that Republicans can so easily undermine those coalitions and stagnate any Democratic majority. The Democratic leadership knows this (but the rank and file doesn’t seem to get it) and so they are constantly afraid of the breakdown of this fragile coalition by wing-nut scare tactics. Because of this loose coalition we are not offering the American public an alternative governing philosophy. Instead of progressive versus conservative we are offering them conservative versus conservative lite.

A perfect example would be the healthcare process and subsequent bill. How this should have been handled was in the following manner. Candidate Obama should have met with Democratic Congressional leaders and said if we win we plan to tackle healthcare. What we have to decide is if we believe that healthcare in America is a right of all Americans. Is this one of our principles? If it is then we have to present this to the American people and tell them how we plan to accomplish this goal. First, we will pass comprehensive healthcare reform so that all Americans can have affordable health-care without the restrictions on pre-existing conditions, caps or limits on coverage, or the fear that the insurance company will drop them when they get sick. In subsequent sessions we will continue to refine and improve this bill as we have done in the past with social security, Medicare, and etc.

By following this simple formula for not just healthcare but any “Democratic principle” you do two important things. The first is that you provide the public and your members with a cohesive and comprehensive message. You are not debating with yourself publicly. Here is our program and here is our message. The second thing you do is define the wing-nuts so when they start talking about “death panels” and socialism you can state that this is one of our principles and we have outlined our plan. The wing-nuts have no plan to address this issue and so this is about a choice between our plan and their rhetoric. It is a choice between those who want to provide healthcare and those who don’t. A choice between those who believe it is a right and those who don’t. In order to maintain control of the message you have to keep it simple. It is always a choice between right and wrong or good and evil. The wing-nuts have mastered this strategy. Remember in the run up to the war in Iraq, it wasn’t about agreeing or disagree with policy; it was about loyalty or treason.

Americans are simple people for the most part, they don’t want complex or nuanced explanations. What the American people are looking for is simplicity: black or white, cake or pie, friend or foe. If our goal is to provide the majority of Americans with a better life then we had better learn how to govern and that begins before you become the majority. You have to craft what you stand for and what you are willing to fight for. President Obama needs to call in all of the Democratic leaders from all over the country into a weekend retreat lock the doors and let them know there is a new sheriff in town and we are going to start standing for something. We are not leaving here until we come up with some core principles and issues we all agree to support and fight for. And anyone who wants to run as a Democrat must be willing to sign on to these principles. You see it does you no good to have a majority if you can’t accomplish what you believe in or have nothing you believe in. There is no majority if you are too weak or too afraid to govern.

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It’s Not Pelosi

A member of the Democratic Party, Pelosi has represented the 8th Congressional District of California, which consists of four-fifths of the City and County of San Francisco, since 1987. She served as the House Minority Whip from 2002 to 2003, and was House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007, holding the post during the 108th and 109th Congresses. Pelosi is the first woman, the first Californian and first Italian-American to lead a major party in Congress. - Wikipedia

With all of the haggling and debating going on among Democrats following their November embarrassment at the polls, it appears that Nancy Pelosi will be made the scapegoat for the historic losses. I am not one to wax sentimental over past victories and I recognize that now would be an opportune time to shake up the leadership in the party and maybe bring in some fresh blood. However, this is not what is being discussed in Democratic circles. What is being discussed is a push to the right from the same clowns who ran from the party during the mid-terms and lost. These are the folks who allowed their local races to become nationalized because they were too frightened to stand up to the wing-nuts. I understand that there is a difference between House and Senate races, but if anyone was suppose to be replaced this cycle it was Harry Reid. So how was he able to survive? He made the election a choice.

Now there will be volumes of political how-to’s from Senator Reid’s campaign and that is not the focus of this piece, but he didn’t run from himself. The problem with Democrats and governing is simply this: the Democrats do not have a set of core principles that they will defend at all costs. With the wing-nuts you can be sure of three core principles that to a person they will vote for en masse. They will always vote for tax-cuts, they will always vote for reducing regulation, and they will always vote for cutting entitlements. Given those three certainties you can craft a lot of policy and legislation to get their unanimous consent. What three core principles can you name for Democrats? Give me three core principles that all Democrats would vote and fight for. You can’t do it. Because you have Democrats who support tax-cuts, you have Democrats who support cutting regulation, and you most certainly have Democrats who would cut entitlements.

You see the wing-nuts understand how to govern. You either bring in those who are beholden to you or you co-op any renegades that happen to crash the gate-as they will do with the tea-baggers. When the American electorate voted for Democrats and gave them control of all branches they falsely assumed that they would govern like the Republicans. So when the wheels started falling off with their majority and they couldn’t get anything done not because of their majority but in spite of their majority the American voters became disenchanted. The voters want results. They don’t want to hear that Blue Dogs won’t support this or that. They see political parties as monolithic and if I give one group control then they will do what is necessary to get things done. With Democrats, that’s not how we do things. Prior to negotiating with Republicans we have to negotiate with ourselves. We give half the store away before we ever see the Republicans.

You are not going to keep a majority if you don’t have core principles that the people know you are going to fight for. And they can’t be core principles that some will fight for; it has to be everyone or no one.

Unfortunately we now live in the political sphere where half measures won’t do. The people are looking for champions, they are looking for super heroes who will defend them against corruption and sometimes from themselves. You can’t do that if you don’t stand for something. The Democrats need to use this opportunity to retool and decide on five core principles that they all can agree to and will vote for and present that to the American people. And when I say all; I mean all from San Francisco liberal to Midwestern Rust Belters, to the Bluest Dog-in for a penny in for a pound. And if you are not willing to support these principles then you cannot run under our flag. A perfect example was health-care. Is it a right or not?

A number of liberal Democrats, including three from California, have voiced their support for Pelosi. Rep. George Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle that Pelosi has been "attacked and vilified by the right wing because of her effectiveness. - Black Political Buzz

Speaker Pelosi was not the problem. If anything she was vilified because she was able to accomplish what many thought was impossible. Those who are crying the loudest for her head are the ones who could not and would not be able to past the core test. They were the ones who were running anti-Pelosi and anti-Obama ads to save their hides. At least they could have had some self-respect and dignity and ran on what they had done. Who is going to vote for someone who runs away from what they voted for? I think it would be a terrible mistake to replace Nancy Pelosi. You dance with the one who brought you. The wing-nuts hate her for a reason. She gets things done! Remember she was the one who stood tall when Rove and the wing-nuts were talking permanent majorities.

I will concede one point though and that is that the Democrats will have to come up with better messengers. The President cannot be the only voice in this wilderness. There has to emerge some cabinet member or some congressional figure who can take the fight to the wing-nuts. The wing-nuts have shown that there are no vacuums today. They will fill any empty space with nonsense if they have to but they will fill it with something.

And finally, the goal of the Congress and this President has to be jobs if they stand any chance of rebounding. The Republicans are going to provide ample opportunities for Dems to regain their majorities in two years because rather than focusing on solving problems they are going to focus on nonsense. I guarantee you we will have gotten no closer going forward to working on the major issues with Republicans than we have in the last two years. They will misread the electorate just like they always do. They see this as a referendum on their conservative agenda when the reality is it is a message to fix the jobs problem. It is not a message to throw gay people out of the military. It is not a message to give tax-cuts to the richest. It is not a message to shutdown the government.

There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find - Michael Friedlander

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

We’ll Leave a Light On

The numbers evidently originate with the Press Trust of India, whose report was linked on the Drudge Report and picked up by Fox News host Glenn Beck. The news agency also wrongly said that the White House had blocked off the entire Taj Mahal Palace hotel for Obama's visit and that the U.S. was stationing 34 warships—roughly 10 percent of the naval fleet--off the coast of Mumbai for security reasons. Yahoo News

The one thing about the wing-nuts is that they are consistent. If they find a game plan that works they continue to use it no matter what. Remember how they sold the Iraq War by quoting unnamed sources who would then quote other unnamed sources until they created this circular argument based on no facts. Well it appears they are back to their old tricks again only this time it is concerning the President’s trip to India. Let’s be clear this isn’t about spending or belt-tightening. This is about whether this President deserves to travel as past Presidents have done while representing American interests around the world.

Here is what is troubling to me about this canard and all of the other “concerns” about this first family’s trips no matter where they are to, there is this underlying current that they somehow do not deserve to travel as other Presidents and first families have traveled in the past. This President and this first family are being asked to travel in coach while no one has ever questioned the travel arrangements of any of our other chief executives. The question then becomes why now? I don’t recall anyone questioning how much it cost to create W’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” landing and potential political ad funded by the American taxpayers. It is as if for some reason the current President is not worthy of all of the trappings of the office of the Presidency of the US.

The crazy part is this. When he was first elected the wing-nuts attacked the first family because they were going to “ghettoize” the White House with bar-b-ques and drunken parties on the front lawn and now they are attacking him for keeping the prestige of the office when he travels. Here is the thing this isn’t about the recession or the amount spent on this trip. This is about whether this President deserves the privileges given to other Presidents? For some reason this President doesn’t measure up to past Presidents and therefore doesn’t deserve to travel as all other Presidents have traveled. America has always prided itself on providing every President what he has needed while conducting business in the name of America. Our national prestige is now being sacrificed for what particular purpose?

Despite continued denials from the wing-nuts their goal from day one has been to delegitimize this President and to subtly and not so subtly attack him personally. This isn’t about the health-care reforms, or the financial reforms, or even the stimulus. This is about President Obama’s personal character and not just him but his family as well. Would we allow the children and First Ladies of previous white Presidents to be treated with such disrespect? The troubling fact is that regardless of our personal feelings about the officeholder we as a nation have always respected the office, but today that concept that we were taught as children is now being undermined. If we as Americans regardless of our political leanings continue to allow this constant chipping away and undermining of our institutions it won’t be long before we are faced with all-out anarchy.

With confidence and trust in our institutions at an all-time low there are those who would further undermine our system for the sake of short-term political gain. The time has come for all Americans to stand up and put an end to this practice of attacking the President not because they disagree with his policies but that they disagree with his legitimacy to be the President. After the results of the last election I am not so sure that we as a nation are prepared to repudiate these unsavory tactics and to elevate our political discourse back to policy issues. The last election has shown us that fear and obstructionism are still running rampant and are still working to motivate a proportion of the electorate.

President Obama just like any other President deserves to be treated with the same respect as all previous Presidents. He does not deserve to be housed at Motel 6 and fly commercial just because he is black. This is the type of hypocrisy that continues to undermine our standing in the world and especially towards non-white and non-Christian populations. One of these days we are going to learn that there are far more non-whites in the world than whites and if we continue to treat this President as if this is the Jim Crow south we will do so at our own peril. Not only is it a bad precedence for the world it is a bad precedence for our own democracy. If we continue to weaken our institutions then no one should be surprised if they collapse. If government and our institutions do not function then what shall they be replaced with? Corporations? God help us if that is our alternative. The funny thing is that most of those who are attempting to undermine this President’s legitimacy are the same ones who claim to support “Constitutional Government”. I guess they missed the part about the office of the President and its place in our history.

Like Bachmann, several right-leaning pundits -- including Michelle Malkin and Fox News personalities like Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity -- have run with the $200 million per day number, touting it as proof that wasteful spending is alive and well. - AOL News

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy - Charles de Montesquieu

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Blacks Need A New President

“There was an expectation, particularly among African Americans, that the first African-American president would at least be vocal about feeling their pain,” Blow said last week on MSNBC’s Hardball. “I think that has not been the case. The president has given a couple of speeches and he has been very heavy on the stick and not very heavy with the carrot… Just in the inability for him to commiserate with that group of people, people feel a bit deflated… He said he’s not going to focus separately on African-American issues at all. That let a lot of people down.” - Charles Blow

As we begin the second half of President Obama’s first term I think it is important for black Americans to access what having the first black President has meant in terms of their overall well-being. As someone who has stated and understands that President Obama is not the President of black America but of all America I understand the limits of his influence. My concern though is that with the rising tide of the teabaggers and the constant push back provided by Limbaugh and Beck saying the President is racist against white people this President will actually do less for black Americans than a liberal white President would do. Why? Because a white President would not have to defend his support for black issues as some sort of undercover reparations or be afraid to discuss black issues in public.

It’s funny but having the first black President has been a dual edged sword. On the one hand we have been given the boost to our pride of finally achieving the highest office in the land and that black folks have all the skills necessary to overcome centuries of racism and on the other hand we have a President who can barely use the word black in public for fear of agitating the racist who will be agitated no matter what he says. The thing about those who accuse this President or any successful black man of being racist is that no matter what these men do it will be twisted to fit the real racists scenario. It is similar to what I hear all the time when I discuss publicly the subject of how blacks are undermining their own success through black on black violence, absentee fathers, and the lack of education being a priority in our community. There are those that say that the racists will use this as fuel for their already racists views.

But think about that for a minute. These folks are going to misconstrue any information they find to fit their narrative and by us being afraid to discuss these issues it only hurts our credibility not theirs. So by this President not being willing to stand up publicly and do what other white Presidents have been willing to do (namely discuss the disproportionate effect this economy has had on black folks and seek specific remedies) it sort of makes having a black President a liability, not an asset. This is not to say that the President should specifically seek to develop policies that only benefit blacks, but I think it is important for him to at least acknowledge that there are unique differences and issues that affect black communities and black people.

For me one of the biggest criticisms I hear concerning this President by black people is his inability to articulate or even acknowledge these differences. This may be due in large part to the style of this President who is seen as more detached and rational than empathetic and perceptive. When Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain.” He touched a nerve in the American psyche that could not be reached with cold impersonal data or a logical recitation of the facts. There are times in this country and in a way I suppose every nation that the people want to believe that their leaders understand their personal daily struggles and their uncertainties. I believe that this President has the capacity to do it, but does not have the personality type to do it. I believe that if he tried it would come off as feigned and counterfeit. Somehow this President has to reach out to black folks and let them know that his being the first black President has some real benefit in their daily lives besides this sense of pride. Pride is important and God knows we need all of the positive male role models we can get, but pride only goes so far, it doesn't pay bills or hire people.

At some point we need answers to a criminal justice system that is marginalizing our communities by strapping our young men with felonies in many cases before they are even eligible to vote and sentencing them to a life of poverty. We need answers to an inner city education system that has been allowed to become more impoverished and darker because we have allowed suburban districts to opt out as our cities expanded. We need answers to a shrinking manufacturing base that once created a pathway out of poverty for those who were either unable or unwilling to go to college. We need answers to the redevelopment of our urban neighborhoods that will not just plaster over the decay and condemn these neighborhoods to stay what they are but create new and vibrant neighborhoods that people will want to live in.

The problems we face are huge and no one is expecting this or any President to be able to overcome decades of neglect with some magic wand. However, sometimes it is important to just get an acknowledgment that you are not being taken for granted and someone can identify with your struggles. There is no benefit to having someone in office that looks like you if they are going to ignore you. I understand that this President has given a great deal of access to black folks in the media and has hired a number of blacks to high level positions, but the truth be told I haven’t heard this President use the word black in public since his campaign speech on race. It would be a shame if our first black President were not allowed to speak to the very people who understand him the most for fear of alienating the people who understands him the least.

But unlike previous presidents, Obama doesn’t need to win over the CBC in order to pick up support in the black community. Polls show that 96 percent of black voters view him favorably — a number the CBC members probably can’t match themselves...“I think if you look at the polling, in terms of the attitudes of the African-American community, there’s overwhelming support for what we’ve tried to do,” said Obama. - Politico

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