From The Grio — It’s the million dollar question. How do you properly critique the first African-American presidentas a member of his party, as a member of the black community, or both?
First, how not to do it. Call President Obama “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” That was Professor Cornel West, an outspoken critic of the president, who consistently fails to keep his verbal jabs based in policy and fails to offer any viable solutions. The personal flavor of his attacks and the sense that it’s clouding his judgment is not something that’s easily overlooked.
A second way not to do it is to overstate Obama’s so-called mistakes and mislead the public. During the debt ceiling negotiations, progressive groups fundraised off of the claim that President Obama said he is “pushing for benefit cuts in important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.” Since the White House provides full transcripts a quick Google search proved this claim to be substantially overstated. It should not be fundraising over facts.
The Congressional Black Caucus on the other hand has stumbled upon the right way either deliberately or completely by accident. As they head on towards their last stop of the Congressional Black Caucus “For the People Jobs Tour” in Los Angeles this week, they are proving to be both vocal critics of the administration and loyal supporters.
When Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) took the directive from voters at the first of the town hall meetings that the CBC should be “unleashed” on the Obama administration in response to the lagging economy it’s as if the 43 members burst into the media spotlight. Their move to become critical of the administration has gained some of the most prominent and positive media coverage the caucus has seen in years. There are few things the mainstream media likes more than Obama critics with a “D” in front of their names.
The CBC’s critiques stand apart. They seem to be the only group or individual thus far to figure out that it is possible to both hold President Obama accountable and give him full throated support. Whether they can turn their efforts into legislative success is dependent upon their colleagues in the House of Representatives.