Brutal Words on Obama

It's official: black journalists are definitely not "in the tank" for the president.

Commentators Question President’s Manhood, Blackness

Remember when black journalists were accused of being “in the tank” for Barack Obama? If it wasn’t true during the presidential campaign, and was a misreading after the inauguration, it’s certainly not valid two years into his presidency.

The black left was never really there to begin with. Glen Ford of has been consistent, writing last week: “Only fools should feel sorry for Obama as he prepares for a Republican-led House and weakened Democratic control of the Senate. This is Obama’s ‘comfort zone,’ where he can continue to woo Republicans to join his grand center-right coalition. The only people Obama has no tolerance for are liberalish Democrats, who will emerge relatively stronger in the new Congress thanks to the decimation of Obama’s Republican-Lite friends in conservative Democratic ranks. By freezing federal wages, Obama signals that he has no philosophical problems with the GOP’s general aims.”

In 2007, Laura Washington, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, raised the question of whether Obama was “black enough.” If she ever resolved that question, it wasn’t evident on Monday. She wrote in the Sun-Times, “Is it time for President Obama to ‘go black’ on his opponents? Time to put his hand on his hips, and let it rip? That’s what I am hearing from liberal friends and political activists. Get some backbone, Mr. President. Don’t let the Republicans push you around. Get mad, then get even.”

The phrase “man up” is gaining currency.

While not a journalist, Clarence B. Jones has a piece on the Huffington Post under the headline, “Time to Think the Unthinkable: A Democratic Primary Challenge To Obama’s Reelection.”

Jones is scholar in residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. He said he was motivated by listening carefully to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in The Wind”: “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” Ouch.

The most recent cause for disappointment is Obama’s willingness to make a deal with congressional Republicans to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years, even though Democrats still control the White House and both houses of Congress. Obama announced an agreement with Republicans Monday night to extend expiring tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes for millions, as Jim Kuhnhenn and David Espo reported for the Associated Press.

“Obama said there were elements of the deal he personally opposed, including an extension of expiring income tax cuts at upper income levels and a more generous deal on estates. But he said he decided that an agreement with Republicans was more important that a stalemate that would have resulted in higher income taxes at all income levels on Jan. 1,” they wrote.