All Articles Tagged "maxine waters"
In case you missed it, here’s an interesting rundown of the most intriguing quotes in the news circles (of particular interest to Black folks of course).
“…so this whole notion that all black Americans are necessarily going to stay and vote Democrat and vote for Obama, that’s simply not true. More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that’s a good thing.”
– Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on how brainwashed so many African-Americans are by the Democrats.
Unlike the extremely outspoken Rep. Maxine Waters, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Emanuel Cleaver has attempted to promote the cause of African-Americans through polite means. While he stands by many CBC members’ critiques of the president’s failure to address black unemployment, he has done so without fiery words. Cleaver understands that his group must be free to pursue black interests in Congress, even if that means going against the opinion of America’s first black president. But at the same time, the former mayor of Kansas City is highly sensitive to appearances. A black president being attacked by fellow African-American politicos can help fuel hostile foes of Obama’s legislation. The Miami Herald reports that Rep. Cleaver tries to balance the CBC’s scrutiny with support of the president — but this balancing act is not easy.
Miamiherald.com has more on this black leader caught in a political catch-22:
Cleaver is a lifelong Democrat who prizes political loyalty, and black unemployment has put him and the group he leads in the awkward position of criticizing the policies of a president they admire, but not the president himself.
“It’s not personal,” Cleaver said. “They’re attacking his policies, or lack thereof, with regard to this gigantic unemployment problem among African-Americans. If we can’t criticize a black president, then it’s all over.”
When lawmakers swarmed around Obama as he was leaving the House of Representatives chamber after his recent speech on jobs, caucus members were in the crush, eager for a handshake, a pat on the shoulder or an autograph.
“This is an unprecedented circumstance where an African-American president who is an iconic, heroic figure enjoys a status with African-Americans that no one since Martin Luther King has enjoyed,” said former Rep. Artur Davis, D-ALA., who was a member of the black caucus until leaving office a year ago.
by Tyrus Townsend
On Thursday evening, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to propose his $447 billion American Jobs Act, which he hopes will lower the deficit, create new jobs and revive economic growth. If you are asking you if this feels like déjà vu, that’s because in some ways, it is.
If you may recall in 2009, President Obama proposed the original stimulus bill which involved a variety of tax cuts for small businesses, working individuals, increased spending on infrastructure, education and extended unemployment benefits. This new bill, however, will piggy back on his previous efforts and expand on the original proposal.
Of the $447 billion plan, $253 billion of that will go to tax cuts while the remaining $194 billion will specifically target new spending which includes infrastructure, modernizing our educational properties, surface transportation and much more. But what does this mean in laymen’s terms? According to CNN Money, “payroll tax cuts of 3.1%, $8 billion in tax credits to businesses, $50 billion in immediate funding for highways, transit, rail and aviation, working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower mortgage plans” and much more.
President Obama opened his speech by emphasizing the state of American suffering: “This past week, reporters have been asking, ‘What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election? But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.”
But did President Obama miss one key element during his mark when he addressed unemployment, specifically for the state of Black America? According to Rep. Maxine Waters, Obama chose not to highlight the African-American community, even though they make up 26% of the current unemployed or underemployed population. “I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African-American community. He didn’t quite get there,” Waters told CBS News’ Scott Pelley in an interview on CBSNews.com immediately following the speech. “But he talked about long-term unemployed, he talked about disadvantaged youth.”
“I would have had even bigger plans, but it was a big plan and it included some of the ideas we have been pushing,” she said. And by ‘we’, she means the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have been extremely vocal about high unemployment rate in our community. Though extremely critical, the congresswoman seemed optimistic and supportive of our president in this time of economic crisis. “I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country,” Waters told Pelley. “I think he got it right.”
And for the sake of our country and our future, one can only hope so.
With there being roughly 3 million African-Americans out of work, the highest its been in the United States in 27 years – many are wondering when things will get better. Maxine Waters, a U.S. Representative and one of the more vocal members of the Congressional Black Caucus, has been pushing hard against President Obama to put an end to the overwhelming unemployment in the African-American community.
Never afraid of being controversial, Waters has stated that in order for unemployment to change, the President needs to start seeing the priorities of the African-American community on the same level as he views the Iowa swing voters. Her comment stemming from the President’s recent bus tour – where he stopped in Iowa but made no real effort to address states affected the most by the unemployment crisis.
Earlier Thursday, Waters again discussed her reservations about the President with Politico, where she discussed the likelihood that Obama would address the unemployment situation during his speech later on that evening.
“There are roughly 3 million African Americans out of work today, a number nearly equal to the entire population of Iowa. I would suggest that if the entire population of Iowa, a key state on the electoral map and a place that served as a stop on the president’s jobs bus tour were unemployed, they would be mentioned in the president’s speech and be the beneficiary of targeted public policy.”
At the same time, Waters isn’t trying to push a ‘Black Jobs’ agenda – instead, she would rather see a way for high unemployment and poverty areas to receive new programs, tax cuts and emergency assistance. Which in turn, would provide a net-positive impact on the unemployment rates in those communities and the country as a whole.
She later cited Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority law, which helped create jobs during the Depression. If the President would employ a similar tactic – focusing instead on the smaller people over the big businesses – perhaps, she believes, the country’s issue would start to mend itself.
During his speech last night, while the President didn’t directly address the issues penetrating the African-American community– he did touch on the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged youth – proving that, he is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, for Waters the President’s pace is still not quick enough.
“I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African American community. He didn’t quite get there. I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country. I think he got it right.” Waters shared with CBS News correspondent, Scott Pelley.
Within the next few weeks, the President is expected to go more into depth about the $447 billion that will make up the ‘American Jobs Act,’ once the tax cuts and spending initiatives are in place.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
“The Tea Party should go straight to hell!” was Waters in finger-waving fury and a chorus of call-and-response. It was a stunning display of raw snap, like the pop of air pressure released in an airplane cabin.
Much of the confounded analysis on Waters’ recent tirades paint her as “angry black woman” on emotional punching spree. Rattled commentators on FOX News are whining about it in pouting fits of “how dare they.”
It’s the culmination of a cantankerous string of classic Waters gracing many television screens and online virals. There she was in Detroit: “The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too. We’re supportive of the president, but we’re getting tired, ya’ll. We’re getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community. We don’t know that.”
But, there is more to this, a political calculation that Waters herself is hoping will pay tremendous dividends somewhere down the line. While her outbursts and keep-it-realism in Congress is the stuff made of legend, Waters has used it skillfully to her advantage since her days as a rising star in the California state legislature. If anything, keeping it loud and on the offensive keeps the heat of a taxing House Ethics probe off her back. She’s essentially putting her political enemies on notice: beware.
Putting Waters out front is also a well-planned attempt by the CBC to show frustration with the President, representing a deliberate and last ditch effort for access to the White House. Tensions had been mounting between the CBC and the Obama Administration since before Obama was elected. Whispers in Washington tell of a President soured on the Caucus since pretty much half of it dissed him in favor of initial 2008 primary favorite Hillary Clinton. Some observers partly blame the Caucus for the unnecessarily long and caustic primary battle between Clinton and Obama – if black Members of Congress had, simply, unanimously supported their former member when his tide began rising, it could have ended a bit more gracefully.
Instead, there were Democratic superdelegates like Waters and current CBC Chair Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MI) who made high profile gambles on Clinton, perhaps unable to sever old ties from the stickiness of political favors. CBC endorsement of Clinton seemed to egg her on to the very end (Clinton: “I must be doing something right if they don’t like him”). After all, the Clintons were at one time seen as honorary black political royalty.
Obama, in turn, felt slighted. And some say he’s been a bit “prickly” about it ever since.
It’s one of the main reasons behind the CBC enjoying very little access to the White House in comparison to their colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. During the course of one year, the CHC held four meetings with the President in contrast to the CBC being invited only once – and they had to beg for the next sit down.
While speculation has bubbled to the surface since Inauguration, no CBC Member wants to admit on record that there are tensions. Or, that they messed up in 2008 and are now suffering for it. One nasty conspiracy theory floating about is that the CBC Members embattled by very public and politically devastating House Ethics probes are among the very ones who supported Obama’s primary opponent.
Unleashing Waters is acknowledgement that the tensions have in many ways hampered CBC policy efforts on the black unemployment issue. And, running a multi-city jobs tour where Members get to rally black constituents is a clever way to get community backing without openly maligning the President – although that’s exactly what’s happening. Waters is highly skilled at employing political theatre like acupuncturist finding the perfect pressure points. Already, it’s forced the White House to pivot and focus on the black unemployment issue, dispatching senior officials to CBC town halls and, suddenly, planning speeches in Detroit and at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial celebration. At some point, perhaps upon return from a lavish and ill-picked Martha’s Vineyard vacation, the CBC might get another meeting in the Oval Office.
Charles D. Ellison is Chief Political Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune, author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM and a nationally recognized, frequently featured expert on politics.
With the recent Gallup Poll showing that President Obama has slowly began to lose support within the black community – the Congressional Black Caucus hasn’t been shy with their distaste for Obama’s political direction. Adding fuel to the fire, the CBC seems to be taking up their frustrations with the source of its discourse – the Tea Party.
Even though Obama’s approval rating has decreased to 81% from the 95% earlier in his term, some heavy players in the CBC are urging Obama to finally make moves when it comes to his 2008 campaign promises.
Maryland US Representative, Elijah Cummings admits that he is not the only one in the Caucus to feel frustrated by the President’s recent actions.
“When he came in, he talked about hope, he talked about jobs, he has talked about fairness, he has talked about addressing Wall Street effectively and efficiently, and trying to make a difference,” Cummings told CNN’s State of the Union talk show on Sunday.
It also didn’t help matters much with Obama appearing to coddle the Tea Party during the government cutbacks.
Since unemployment in the black community is at approximately 16% (with no alleviation in sight) – many in the CBC are tired of waiting for Obama to fight back. That mentality has caused the 43-lawmaker team to go up against the Tea Party to make their opinions known.
“The Tea Party discovered something. That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States. They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank,” US Representative Maxine Waters told onlookers at a CBC job fair in Atlanta, Georgia.
During another summit in California, Waters again lashed out towards the group.
“I’m not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to Hell.”
Of course, such comments didn’t go unnoticed by the group for that long. Soon after Waters comments spread a prominent Tea Party group, the ‘Tea Party Patriots’ quickly came to its defense.
“…now an elected Democratic representative says that we can ‘go straight to hell. The president and all leaders of the Democratic Party, who have called for civility in the past, are neglecting to censure their own. Is civility only required from their opponents? Perhaps it’s time for a new-NEW era of civility. … The president’s silence on these latest violations of civility has been deafening, but not surprising.”
Even with all this, it is hard paint the Tea Party as the victim, being that they made it their mission to “destroy” the current government and how some view it. Are they really surprised that there is push back or are they surprised about whom is doing so? Especially now, since the CBC is refusing to sit idly by and do nothing – only time will tell how this all will pan out.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
By Charlotte Young
President Barack Obama may have had the majority of the black community’s support for his 2008 election, but he’s going to have to work harder to secure the vote this time around.
On CNN’s Sunday State of the Union, Rep. Elijah Cummings said that while African Americans are very proud and protective of the president, most African Americans he’s talked to said, “they want him to fight and fight harder” for their needs.
Obama recently announced his new jobs and economic plan, but the Congressional Black Caucus is wondering just how much of that plan will directly alleviate black unemployment, which is almost double the national average, at about 15.9 percent.
BlackAmericaWeb.com says that in recent weeks, Obama and the CBC have taken very different tours of the US. Obama has been visiting majority white regions of the Midwest, while the CBC has taken on a five-city job fair and town hall meeting tour to specifically address black unemployment.
The tour was a response to the CBC’s frustration at the Republican-controlled House of Representative’s inability to address any of their nearly 40 job related legislation. In addition, the black caucus also believes that the White House isn’t working hard enough to address the unemployment needs of the black community.
Rep. Maxine Waters represents the members of the CBC and the black community who have taken a strong disapproval to the president’s choice of stops along his recent campaign trail.
“We’re supportive of the president, but we’re getting tired, y’all,” she said at a black caucus town hall meeting last week in Detroit. “The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why, on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community.”
Cummings maintains a gentler stance, noting that the president should visit Iowa, but he should also come down to Detroit and Los Angeles.
Obama’s re-election campaign’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, said that the president has made efforts to address the black community.
Axelrod also appeared on the “State of the Union,” and relayed how Obama’s work with health care law, Medicaid and Pell Grant student loans directly benefited minority concerns.
Still Cummings stresses that Obama must go “back to those basic points.”
“When he came in he talked about hope, he talked about jobs, he talked about fairness, he talked about addressing Wall Street effectively and efficiently,” he told CNN.
(LA Times) — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) came out swinging against Republicans in Congress on Saturday as she addressed the unemployed during a forum in Inglewood. The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California’s jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%. California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%. Waters vowed to push Congress to focus on creating more jobs. “I’m not afraid of anybody,” said Waters. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to hell.”
(Daily Beast) — With a stinging budget defeat behind them and unemployment in the black community soaring to 16 percent, members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they’re done waiting for Barack Obama to fight their battles for them. Instead, the 43 African-American lawmakers say they’re taking matters into their own hands and will carry the fight to Tea Party Republicans, whom they blame for Obama’s latest lurch to the right. “The Tea Party discovered something. That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States,” said Rep. Maxine Waters. “They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank.”
Florida congressman Rep. Allen West, the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus, had some choice words for Democrats after a CBC town hall held in Detroit on Tuesday. On Wednesday, West went on Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor” and compared blacks in the Democratic party to slaves on a plantation. He went on to liken the black Democratic leadership to a bunch of overseers, and himself to a modern day Harriet Tubman seeking to lead African-Americans to political freedom. Citing the idea that Democrats take black voters for granted, West slammed the party with the underlying suggestion that Republicans have the answer. FoxNews.com reports:
“You have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there. Where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted and you have established certain black leaders who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset because they’ve been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about,” West said.
“So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”
West said Democrats’ “social welfare policies” have failed.
These statements were made after much griping by those who attended the CBC town hall, where voters gathered to complain about the poor service President Obama has rendered to the black community. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters responded by suggesting that the CBC agrees, and is only waiting for explicit permission from African-Americans to take the president to task over his failure to address our issues.
Waters told attendants of the Detroit town hall: “We’re getting tired, y’all…We want to give him every opportunity. But our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. … When you let us know it is time to let go, we’ll let go.” She referred to the fact that black unemployment stands at over 17% compared to the national average of about 9% — statistics often mentioned as proof that Obama has failed to help blacks.
While Rep. Waters does have a point about holding President Obama accountable for his actions (or lack thereof) regarding the black community, the CBC has never been the president’s friend. In fact, the Congressional Black Caucus famously supported Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign before Obama secured the nomination. Theirs has been a love-hate relationship ever since, and they have never acted as true allies. The CBC has unleashed a string of criticisms on the president since that time.
Thus, it’s hard to take one more CBC bad-mouthing of Obama seriously. It reeks of political posturing. While that’s the name of the game in DC, until all the political interests in Washington work together to create positive change for blacks (including the CBC), it amounts to empty posturing.