This commentary is in place of Dr. Samad’s “Between the
reelection bid of President Barack Obama has posed some
interesting dilemmas for those who helped push the change
agenda. The change agenda has evolved into a manipulation
agenda, whereby everybody has a new demand for the President.
new demand is an extension of the old demands of classic
“stakeholder” politics; what did the President promise versus
what did the President deliver on, with a little “what have
you done for me lately” added in. They represent the segmented
politics that either want to continue the change that pushes
Obama back in, or be the change that pushes him out.
Obama cannot escape the realities of voter dissatisfaction
around jobs, foreclosures and the economy, nor can he rest
his hat on fixing things he had no control over such as
the economic collapse, and natural or manmade disasters.
He did catch and kill Osama Bin Laden, and exposed the complicit
politics of Pakistan in harboring terrorists, but that has
largely been downplayed as a segue to a conversation about
not ending the war(s).
the end of the day, Obama is going to have to look in the
faces of his various bases, not those that voted for him
because they didn’t have a better choice (they are already
gone), but those who really believed in what he was
trying to do.
Obama’s re-election will be those “all or none” manipulators
that got more out of this President than they would have
gotten out of any other President four years ago, but still
feel he hasn’t “done enough” or done what he promised. At
the front of the line here are, of course, the new “Peaceniks,”
those who wanted the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan
the day after he was elected. Wars, like most everything
else in politics, are engineered. They don’t just “start,”
so they’re not going to just “stop.” Just as the U.S. was
engineered into these wars, we’ll have to engineer our way
out of these wars. The manipulation here is that the Peaceniks
want to say Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan, when
the de-escalation of the war in Iraq, and a shifted focus
on Afghanistan was what nearly everybody was calling for
three years ago. Now that Osama Bin Laden has been caught
and killed, we’re supposed to just turn around and come
on home. The demand will be unreasonable, but what can another
is in the same situation with the universal health care
“purists.” Passing the first universal health care initiative
in one hundred years was an accomplishment that has become
a curse, largely because of the refusal of all sides to
accept that this so-called “Obamacare” was just an incremental
step on the long road to comprehensive, quality health care
in the United States. Instead, you have half the nation
trying to repeal it, or the other half complaining that
it wasn’t what they advocated for. To suggest that “nothing
at all” was better than “something to start with” is a manipulation
of the President’s incremental intent, counterintuitive
to Congress’ incremental policy approach and undermines
the ultimate victory in the long fight for comprehensive
health care reform.
“ignored” segments of the voting population are also in
the manipulation mix. Certainly several segments feel over-empowered
as they seek to go into this election as the “tipping point”
for the President’s reelection or ouster. At the front of
the line is Obama’s strongest base, black America. Early
on, I thought some African American spokespersons were trying
to manipulate the President for personal and petty reasons.
I don’t need to call any names…those critiques didn’t really
gain any resonance in Year 1. But Year 3, more people are
listening. Why? Well, the truth be told, 24% black unemployment
is not a good look for any President. 40% black male
unemployment is not a good sign for the symbol in the White
House that looks like those with the highest unemployment.
the truth be told (again)…if this was a white President,
we’d be marchin’ in the street, and Jesse and Al would be
running for President again. The standard of economic disenfranchisement
must be applied to every President, including Obama. The
foreclosure crisis disproportionately affects black homeowners
more than any other segment of the affected population.
So, when Professor Cornel West asked how he can help Wall
St. but not Main Street, that is going to gain some resonance.
And neither issue has been satisfactorily addressed. This
is not so much feeling that Blacks are trying to manipulate
Obama as Obama trying to manipulate us. It’s gonna be something
to watch whether a suitable explanation comes from the President
before Newt Gingrich or another Republican convinces his
party to recruit blacks to come over the dark side. That’s
a joke (but it’s not).
Latino community says it’s waiting on comprehensive immigration
reform (and so is everybody else). The problem is that it
means different things to different people. Obama can push
it (as he did), but the Republicans won’t pass it. Yet,
the threat is on the President’s re-election instead of
unseating Republicans. Go figure? Can they continue to give
Republicans a pass on that issue? It’s not on the conservatives
agenda in either Republican or the Tea Party.
same with same sex marriage. Eliminating “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell” isn’t the same as advocating for same sex couples.
But there are some that don’t think the President has gone
are loading up, even though he appointed two women to the
Supreme Court. There’s still room to push the President
further to put Hilary on the ticket (it’s coming). Unreasonable
expectations cannot drive what is not reasonable or rational.
One thing these groups haven’t thought about in their desperate
pushes for “rapid speed” political progress.
they are not with Obama, what is their alternative? And
can they do any better? That should quiet everybody down.
But it won’t. They rather continue to try to manipulate
Obama. That’s the only thing that will make the race interesting.
of being starved at the table of mainstream politics
is that the so-called "progressives" don't get
to eat often, and when they finally get a seat at the
table...they want to "pig out" because they
haven't eaten in so long and really can't say when they
might eat again. That is very real if President Obama ends
up being a one termer.
Progressives don't know when they'll EVER see another President as
policy friendly as this President. Obama has given Progressives
unprecedented access to the nation's policy agenda. They
need to respect that, understand the public policy process
is incremental and develop a sophistication about the compromise
nature of mainstream politics...everybody has to get something,
or nobody get NOTHING. That's how the nation has moved forward
for 236 years. Two steps forward, and one step backward
is the game.
is necessary for progressives to work diligently for Obama’s
re-election and not be impatient with the process. Everybody
will get fed in due time...unless everyone gets greedy and
turns over the table like starved pigs at the trough. Progressive
can't feed into the impatient frenzy that the right, and
far right, are pushing. Let the ring wingers turn over
the table - it will ensure President Obama's re-election.
We will then have four more years of progressive seats at
the policy table and four more years to push the policy
agendas of progressive stakeholders.
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BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad,
is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Click
here to contact Dr. Samad.