Is the Congressional Black Caucus Dying of Neglect?

Shunned by President Obama, the organization could be out in the cold in the next Administration unless it finds a new role.

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From a political standpoint, the Obama administration has had other good reasons to keep the Caucus at arm's length. This underlying issues around ethics and the Caucus' financing, as reported in an article in the New York Times article that is strongly disputed by the CBC Foundation, have presented the White House with deep problems about engaging without getting  absorbed in the ongoing ethics probe of Reps. Charles Rangel, Gregory Meeks and Maxine Waters, amongst others.  So it is no wonder that the President has had a long-distance strategy with the CBC: if he gets  too close, his political enemies will use the CBC's alleged indiscretions as a wedge issue that ultimately could stall his whole agenda.                   

Maybe black America did not count up the political, social and economic price of being able to say "We have a black President." Investing in this new power structure has left us, at least at the moment, vulnerable. There is no one saying, "Black America is too big to fail." But, if you haven't noticed, we are falling behind in nearly every measurable category in America.  For black America, The President's administration is like having a BMW 650si parked in your driveway that has no transmission: it's pretty, but it doesn't go anywhere, however I guess there is some consolation with saying at least you have one.  

When the White House needs to communicate to black America (which has not been often), it  talks to it directly, not needing the advocacy of the CBC like former administrations.  I understand why: the President is black and has the most recognizable image and viable brand that we have ever seen, so the CBC is like the extra screws in the box after you assemble a book shelf; you just don't need them so you put them in the drawer. 

So, what will come  of the CBC after he is gone?  If it is powerless and stagnant under his administration, what will be its role or relevance under a Republican administration?  The CBC's viability will be dictated by its ability to survive and function effectively. The next GOP administration can well  respond to the CBC's requests for more funding and more care by bringing up the fact that when it had a black President, he did nothing for them.

In the past, the President has responded by saying that "a rising tide lifts all boats" and that his job "is to be president of the whole country." Well with all due respect to the President; black America's boat was foreclosed on a long time ago, so we still need the CBC to work for us and for the President to find a way to work with them.    

Patrick Shaffer is a writer, national blogger and Sacred Activist for more information go to