By J. Smith
It’s a classic sitcom storyline: The nice, likeable kid throws a birthday party that people are moderately excited about attending, until the popular kid whose parents have tons of money plans a party for the same day and forces everyone to pick a side. Right now in Washington, the Congressional Black Caucus and President Obama are acting out that scenario, and I’m sure you can tell who plays the part of the popular kid.
Black lawmakers have done all but beg for the president’s support on addressing the dismal unemployment numbers in the black community, but it has mostly fallen on deaf ears. So as they begin to take the matter into their own hands with a month-long traveling jobs campaign, the President is having a bigger one that is not intended to help blacks specifically but is sure to garner a lot more attention than his CBC subordinates.
While the CBC jobs campaign will head to states with Democratic strongholds, the president will begin his “listening tour” in Iowa. To look at this honestly: The CBC is trying to get people jobs; the president is trying to get himself votes. At least for right now.
“What the president is doing is not the same as what we’re doing…We have real jobs to give real people who are unemployed,” caucus Chariman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) told the Washington Post. “This is not one of those deals where we go around and talk about jobs and hope somebody gives us some press attention.”
Although it is quite troubling and disappointing that the president hasn’t pushed a single initiative to address the jobless rate for African-Americans, we all know why that is. White America and John Boehner’s cronies would have him burned at the stake. And President Obama has proved completely capable of caving whenever the Tea Party says cave.
So while President Obama is in Iowa, the CBC will be in cities like Detroit, doing what they can for those who weren’t invited to the president’s party.