While watching Mitt Romney's speech before the NAACP in Houston, it dawned on me how Romney and President Obama are out of touch with the needs of Black community. Last week, I dealt with Romney. This week, it's Obama's turn to be scrutinized.
Much has been made of Obama's decision not to address the annual convention of the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization. It's troubling how many so-called Black leaders almost tripped over one another apologizing for the president's behavior. Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said on TV that, "they (NAACP) will give the president a pass because they were told he had a scheduling conflict."
Scheduling conflict? That's the oldest trick in the book. It's such a lame excuse that whenever the term "scheduling conflict" is mentioned in Washington – which is pretty often – people laugh openly. In most cases, it's not a scheduling conflict, it's a case of people scheduling a conflict.
But, once again, Obama has concluded that there is no price to pay for such presidential disrespect. Unfortunately, he is correct. Obama believes that pretending that he is not Black will make people believe he is not Black. As one "public intellectual" put it, Obama runs from Black people like Black people run from cops.
I am amazed at the silence from the Black community on these snubs. Blacks seem to have accepted this insulting treatment. The silence in the Black community is deafening. Blacks get exactly what they deserve from Obama—nothing!
Ben Jealous is not the only prominent Black person to make excuses for the inexcusable.
Consider what Congressional Black Caucus Chairman, Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said last year on "Meet The Press." With no sense of shame he said, "If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem [the high unemployment rate in the Black community], we probably would be marching on the White House…There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."
How about empowering the people who put him in office?
After President Obama's spoke to the National Urban League convention this week in New Orleans, even the NAACP pretended that he hadn't snubbed them.
For the record, I voted for Obama in 2008. And as a Republican, I took a lot of heat from those in my party for doing so. My vote for Obama had little to do with his race. He was by far the better candidate. There was no way I was voting for a ticket that included Sarah Palin. The Republican Party did not deserve my vote. I will vote every time on a case-by-case basis because nobody owns me or my vote.
Last week, I talked about the importance of Black business leaders. They justifiably complain about limited access to capital – which is not good in a capitalistic society – and the failure of government at every level to make sure Black businesses get a fair shot of landing contracts. After all, Blacks pay taxes too, often at a higher rate.
You would think that this would change under President Obama – but it hasn't.
According to a recent story in the Washington Post, "U.S. government contracts to black-and Hispanic-owned small businesses fell last year for the first time in a decade, declining at a sharper rate than awards to all companies.
"Contracts to the black-owned firms dropped 8 percent to $7.12 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with fiscal 2010. Awards to Hispanic-owned businesses decreased 7 percent to $7.89 billion, according to federal procurement data.
"Contracts to the two minority groups fell at a faster pace than all contracts, which dipped 1 percent as the U.S. government slowed spending to help reduce the federal deficit. The gap may reflect stiffer competition over a shrinking pool of revenue and the recession's greater impact on black and Hispanic firms."
Can you tell me what Obama and the Democrats have offered as a solution to this problem? You guessed it, absolutely nothing.
I am not surprised by Obama or Democrats. After all, this is the same party that dissed and embarrassed Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) when they fell into minority status in the House in 2010 and had to shuffle the top leadership posts. Of course, the first Black president sat quietly by and said absolutely nothing.
Both parties, in recent times, have ignored the Black vote. Butt under Obama, it has sunk to an all-time low. And if he gets 96 percent of the Black vote in November as he did four years ago, our people will get exactly what they deserve – nothing.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.