Why Don't Black Leaders Demand More of the President?

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Congressional Black Caucus members call themselves the conscience of Congress. But when it comes to forcing Obama's hand, they seem to be missing in action, writes the Daily Beast's Paul Butler.

Black members of Congress might ask themselves why, as they concluded their annual conference over the weekend, Barack Obama hasn't done more for African-Americans. They bear some of the blame.

Last week Rep. Emanuel Cleaver admitted that African-American members of Congress hold Obama to a lower standard because the President is black. Pointing to the historic level of African-American unemployment, Cleaver said, "If we had a white president we'd be marching around the White House." If, for example, Hillary Clinton sat in the Oval Office, Cleaver would tell her, "My sister, I love you, but this has got to go."

But Obama gets a pass. Cleaver, who is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "The president knows we are going to act in deference to him in way we wouldn't to someone white."

This is black solidarity at its most self-defeating. It's why, as the President hands out goodies to other core groups in the Democratic base, African-Americans get squat. On the campaign trial, Obama delivered to Latinos his own version of The DREAM Act, gays received their long-sought presidential endorsement of same-sex marriage, and union workers get a job-protection intervention directed at China.


Read Paul Butler's entire piece at the Daily Beast.

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