Black Lawmakers Pressure White House


"I will tell you that I think the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again."

President Obama

Joint Interview with Detroit Free Press and USA TODAY

The Congressional Black Caucus finds itself in the frustrating position of having to criticize the Obama Administration. Many of its members worked hard to get Barack Obama elected as the United States first African American president. And with a 90% approval rating among African American voters, President Obama is extremely popular with their base constituencies. But as the realities of an election year approaches, the need to bring home some bacon to bolster their records means the CBC members have to put their own legislative agendas above their allegiance to their president.

Can black Congressmen and Congresswomen pressure a black president to help their black constituents without creating the kind of race-centered political fallout Barack Obama has studiously avoided his entire political career?

"As a candidate, President Obama said in his speech on race during the Democratic primary, 'race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.' The facts speak for themselves. The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes that behind virtually every economic indicator you will find gross racial disparities."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D- Calif.)

CBC Chairwoman

Statement on December 8th

For many of the African American voters in the districts of these congressional representatives, Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the White House was not only an electoral victory, it was a moral victory, a validation of all the “We Shall Overcome” gospels and “I Have A Dream” speechifying.  Obama himself pointed out during the campaign that African Americans had a vested interest in voting for him.

"The decline of wages and incomes for African American families during the Bush era has been significant," he said. "So I think nobody has more of a stake in the reversal in these policies than the African American community does."

Senator Barack Obama

Black America Web interview

Now, to a president with shrinking job approval ratings in national polls and an economic recovery strategy whose effects may not be seen for some time, the CBC does seem to run a very real risk of jeopardizing the access they currently have to the White House. But the CBC’s latest hardball tactics, which included House committee meeting boycotts, have borne fruit just this week by getting $4 billion added to a Wall Street regulation bill and $2 billion to a proposed House jobs bill.  

"In their fight with Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus should keep pressing, not out of hate for the president, but out of love for their constituents."

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Professor, Syracuse University.

It will be interesting tomorrow to see how the GOP and the Beltway pundits react to these recent events as they make the rounds of the Sunday morning political talk show circuit.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

Carl Sagan on why he liked smoking marijuana

Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.

Photo: Photo by Robert Nelson on Unsplash / Big Think
Mind & Brain
  • Carl Sagan was a life long marijuana user and closeted advocate of legalization.
  • He once wrote an anonymous essay on the effects it had on his life and why he felt it should be legalized.
  • His insights will be vital as many societies begin to legalize marijuana.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less