“Blacks for Gray, Whites for Fenty,” ran the nuanced headline on page one of the Washington Examiner.
The story told of how black Mayor Adrian Fenty, who got rave reviews for appointing Michelle Rhee to save District of Columbia schools, was crushed six to one in black wards east of the Anacostia River, as he rolled up margins of three to one in the white wards west of Rock Creek Park.
In Fenty’s political obit, it was said, he devoted too much time and gave too many appointments to non-blacks in a rapidly gentrifying city where black folks are still the majority.
After one term, Fenty is out. And there may a lesson here for the black man in the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.
For, at a weekend gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a commission is preparing a report card on how our first black president is dealing with issues of concern to black America.
Last week, an open letter came from public policy scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins, who gave it to Obama with the bark on.
Black unemployment last month hit 16.7 percent. Among black teenagers, it is 45 percent. Blacks, wrote Watkins, “bear the brunt of this economic crisis in ways that are unimaginable to other Americans. Our homes are being foreclosed on more often, and we are less able to rely on a source of background wealth to help us get through.”
Yet as this crisis deepens for black America, Obama and Sen. Harry Reid are pursuing an amnesty called the DREAM Act for 2 million illegal aliens, as a prelude to full amnesty for 12 to 20 million.
Yet, these illegals hold 8 million jobs that would otherwise be available to black Americans.
In 2009, as unemployment soared under Obama, the U.S. government issued 1.131 million green cards, 808,000 of them for immigrants of working age, the fourth highest number of foreign workers brought into this country in history.
Why, with 25 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, are we importing a million foreign workers? Why are we not sending the illegals back, as President Eisenhower did, and imposing a moratorium on new immigration, as FDR did, to save American jobs for American workers?
African-Americans have other grievances.
Whatever you say about tea party folks, they ride to the rescue of their embattled own, like Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell.
And the Obama Democrats?
What did they do for African-American William Thompson, who lost to Michael Bloomberg by 4.6 points in 2009 and would be mayor of New York if Obama’s people had gone all-out for him? Bloomberg spent $100 million to bury the under-funded Thompson.
Democrats have now sent their one black U.S. senator, Roland Burris, packing, telling him not to run again. They turned their backs on Alvin Greene in South Carolina, who admittedly has big issues. But what have they done for black Rep. Kendrick Meek, who won a major primary victory in Florida and is in a three-way race for the Senate? Meek is the only black with a chance to be in that select body of 100.
Yet some Democrats talk of cutting Meek and backing Gov. Charlie Crist because Crist may have a better shot at winning.
What did Republican-turned-independent Crist ever do for the Democratic Party?
If Obama and his party had gone all-out for Meek, as the tea party has for Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky, Meek might be in the hunt.
Consider the most prestigious appointments Obama has made.
Though black folks accounted for one-fourth of all of Obama’s votes in 2008, Obama has continued a Democratic tradition of not naming any blacks as national security adviser, CIA director, secretary of state, secretary of defense or secretary of the treasury.
Republicans have appointed two African-Americans as secretary of state and two as national security adviser. Colin Powell also served as chairman of the joint chiefs.
Bill Clinton had two nominations to the Supreme Court. Obama has had two. Not one of the four they picked was black. The only black sitting justice, Clarence Thomas, was appointed by George H.W. Bush.
While Obama did name the first black attorney general, the only place that black Democrats get preferential treatment is … the House Ethics Committee. At one point this year, all eight suspects under investigation were members of the Black Caucus — a statistical impossibility.
Like conservatives in the GOP, blacks in the Democratic Party are the old reliables. They do not cut and run. They were there for Clinton during impeachment, and as others depart, they are there for Obama.
But while conservatives always get one of their own on every national ticket, and all of their own on the Supreme Court, African-Americans seem to settle for a few back-of-the-bus Cabinet seats.
Say what you will about the right. But if their party took them for granted the way Democratic presidents take black constituents for granted in plum appointments, there’d be a whole lot of shakin’ going on.