The Right Opinion

A First Term of Failure on Race Issues

Will four more years of Obama bring more economic devastation to the black community?

By Arnold Ahlert · Jan. 22, 2013

Yesterday, President Obama was ceremonially sworn in for his second presidential term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the federal holiday commemorating the civil rights icon. “Ceremonially” is the key word, because the Constitution mandates that the president and vice president take their oath of office on January 20. Both men did so in private on Sunday. Yet the public ceremony for America's first black president on MLK Day presented an 800-pound gorilla: Obama has been a disgrace to the vision of a colorblind society, stoking racial divisiveness when it accrues to his political advantage, while at the same time remaining indifferent to the economic devastation his economic policies have cause the black community.

When he was first elected in 2008, Obama promised the nation that he and his party would govern “with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.” It was not to be. Less than a month after his inauguration, Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, controversially accused Americans of being a “nation of cowards” with respect to discussing race.

However, it is the Holder-run Justice Department that has pursued a cowardly racialist agenda for the last four years. It dropped the case of voter intimidation against New Black Panther Party members who threatened Philadelphia voters in the 2008 election, and ignored a $10,000 bounty the NBP put on the head of the media-anointed “white Hispanic,” George Zimmerman, in the racially charged Trayvon Martin shooting. Even as the racial divisions in that case were being stoked, Holder praised racial arsonist Al Sharpton at his National Action Network convention, despite Sharpton's promise to “occupy" the town where the incident took place. Holder may have taken his cue from Obama, who also lauded Sharpton a year earlier for lifting up "not only the African American community, but the broader American family.” It is impossible to believe either man is unaware of Sharpton's efforts to provoke anti-Semitism during the Crown Heights riots, his fanning of racist flames in the Tawana Brawley case, or his “white interlopers” remark that led to the Freddy's Fashion Mart murders in Harlem.

During the election campaign, Holder filed suits against states requiring photo IDs for voting, outrageously likening such efforts to Jim Crow-era “poll taxes,” despite a 2008 Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of such laws. He filed a brief supporting racial preferences at the University of Texas, fatuously arguing that they were necessary to promote national security. When the key provision of Arizona's immigration law allowing police inquiry into one's status was upheld by the Supreme Court – following a lawsuit initiated by the DOJ – Holder warned the state he would continue to “vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination.” And despite the sub-prime mortgage debacle that led to economic disaster, particularly for minorities, the DOJ continued to pursue an “anti-discrimination” agenda against “racist” lending institutions so that the devastation could begin anew.

The DOJ's efforts to stoke racial division is hardly an anomaly. In 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan launched an initiative “to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement” in public schools. Along with the DOJ, he targeted schools with “disproportionate” minority discipline rates, based on the idea that racism – as opposed to student behavior – was the cause for such disparities. During the 2012 election campaign, Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius accused Republicans of using “code language” to disparage the president. Outgoing Labor Secretary Hilda Solis blamed the left's favorite “racist" entity, the Tea Party, for hurting the economy. DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz echoed Eric Holder's assessment regarding voter ID and Jim Crow-ism. And in August, Vice President Joe Biden told a largely black audience a Romney administration would "put y'all back in chains.”

None of this would have been possible without the president's consent. As for Obama himself, he too began stoking racial divisiveness early in his first term. Jumping to conclusions, the president announced that the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” when they questioned Harvard professor Louis Gates outside his home. He helped stoke racial tension in the Trayvon Martin case – and very likely hindered the ability to seat an impartial jury as well – when he remarked that “if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon,” even as the evidence in that case remains in dispute. Speaking to a Latino audience before the 2010 election, he advised them to “punish our enemies” instead of sitting out the vote.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, two older videos of Obama surfaced. In one, before a largely black audience, Obama implied that post-Katrina New Orleans was intentionally neglected due to “institutional racism.” In another, he is shown as a college student offering his support to Harvard professor Derrick Bell, whose “critical race theory” maintained that America's legal system is inherently biased, and that such bias conferred upon minorities both a right and duty to decide which laws are worth obeying. And the president's membership in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church, which espoused a racist black liberation theology the president claims he never heard a single word about over the course of two decades, lends further credence to the idea that this president is comfortable with an “us against them” mentality–one that extends far beyond the boundaries of race.

Yet let it be stipulated that the president is entitled to promulgate any worldview he desires, other than one that conflicts with the Constitution. Nevertheless, the realities of whether that worldview has helped or hindered America is fair game. Concerning the racial harmony that would ostensibly result from healing the divide, as the president promised back in 2008, the results are not good. An analysis of 2012 voting patterns compared to those of 2008 reveal that the gap between white and non-white Americans has grown wider in the past four years. An AP survey reveals that 51 percent of Americans express overt antipathy towards blacks, up three percent from four years ago, while 56 percent of Americans harbor implicit anti-black attitudes, a six percent increase. Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who helped develop the survey, notes that a 4 percent margin of error may mean attitudes have stayed the same–but they certainly haven't gotten better. (Interestingly, it apparently didn't occur to these pollsters to ask Americans whether their attitude towards whites have changed.)

A 2011 Gallup poll was far more insightful. Asked if government should play a “major role” in attempting to improve black and other minority Americans' social and economic conditions, 59 percent of blacks said yes, compared to only 19 percent of whites. Asked if new laws are needed to reduce discrimination against blacks, the numbers were just as lopsided: 52 percent of blacks said yes, compared to only 15 percent of whites.

This speaks directly to the “transformation” of America this president promised to undertake, as well as the increasing divide that accompanies it. In short the growing population of non-white Americans desires bigger and more intrusive government, while the diminishing number of white Americans are becoming increasingly alienated by that prospect.

Unfortunately for non-white Americans, economic reality intrudes. While the overall unemployment rate remains at 7.8 percent, the black unemployment rate is currently 12.4 percent, and the Hispanic unemployment rate is 10.6 percent. Yet Mitt Romney and Republicans didn't come close to convincing non-white Americans, who preferred the president by overwhelming margins, that ever-expanding government accompanied by $16.3 trillion of national debt will exacerbate that economic reality. If trends remain the same in the next four years as the last four, non-white Americans, particularly blacks, can expect to bear the brunt of either the weakest recovery on record – or another recession.

A real jobs boom would require businesses to feel confident about hiring additional employees. Yet during his inauguration speech, the president, apparently oblivious to the rancor he engendered during the election campaign, once again couldn't resist taking another shot at the nation's job-creators. “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” he said. Furthermore, despite that complete disconnect from his call for a “more inclusive” America, Obama proceeded to lay out a progressive agenda that will alienate slightly less than half the nation as he tries to implement it.

In January 2009, a CNN survey showed that 60 percent of Americans believed Obama's inauguration was a celebration of democracy by all Americans, versus 39 percent who believed it was a political celebration by the winning candidate's supporters. The 2012 inauguration showed a stunning reversal:  62 percent saw a political victory celebration and 35 percent believed all-inclusive democracy was celebrated. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland illuminated what Americans can expect over the next four years. “The thrill is gone, along with the hope that the start of a new presidential term of office will bring a divided nation together,” he said.

One can only wonder how many Americans, noting the day this ceremony took place, unconsciously compared the greatness of an iconic civil rights leader who strove to bring the entire nation together, with the smallness of a president who divides Americans into sub-groups for political gain. The bet here is more than a few Americans wondered where we can find another Martin Luther King Jr. in a nation that so desperately needs one.

Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.

9 Comments

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

The biggest racists in this country are not the rednecks in the South or anywhere else in the country. It's the black leaders who always make everything racial. You can't criticize Obams or any other black without being called a racist. It's as if they are allowed to lie, cheat, break the law, and no one should say a word and the lamestream media goes right along with it. When the former mayor of New Orleans, Nagin, was indicted not one of the major networks nor CNN or MSNBC mentioned he was a Democrat. The hypocricy of the left is getting worse every day. Mac was absolutely right, Odumbo has to keep us divided in order to push his agenda. The next Civil will not be between the North and the South, it will be between the takers versus the makers all because of Odumbo and the left's Socialist policies. Prime reason they are pushing for gun control so we would be helpless when the crap starts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Civil War! Got ahead of myself there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

In 2016, it was explained how Ovomit hated colonialism. But he has done nothing to alleviate the effects of collonialism in this country, namely, the Hawaiians and the American Indians' employment, health and housing conditions. He is a communist, pure and simple....his every act and speech are evidence.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM

flyingcraine in washington dc said:

I have not read some redneck racist literture in awhile but it I have now! Listen, the president is not the problem when it comes to racism wwhat is the problem is the the aloofness of non racial target goups to the social conditions and lack of recovery from the post traumatic slave syndrome that infected society.
although no one alive today was a slave from the prebellium south the effect and mind sets that were created were never addressed and and as I wascoming up most white people would not talk about it and called it bad taste to do so. For anyone who states that the president is race baiting or exascerbating the racial issue in America is just a party not fit to sit in judgement and need to examine their own racial shadow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 3:36 PM

PH in DE replied:

Many of those still in "slave" mentality do it to themselves. Don't blame the rest of us. Look at all those who have worked and succeeded in the same country as those who are still stuck in the slave era, even those whose ancestors were never slaves.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

I am tried of being called a racist just becaue I live in the South. It's the race mongering coming from the liberal side of the house that keeps pushing the racial BS. You live in one of the major cesspools that does absolutely nothing to alleviate the problem but continue the wornout mantra that its all the South's fault. There is just as much racism in the North maybe more. It's just covered up by the lamestream media and idiots like you who have no clue. Who's fault is it that people don't bother getting an education, have children they can't support, commit crimes, and want to live the gangster life. These people have the same opportunity as anyone else in this country, Its no one fault but theirs if they chose to do overwise. Spare me from liberal fools with their stupid rants accusing the South of keeping the blacks down.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Paul137 in Montana replied:

flyingcraine needs to explain why the black population, on average, is far more dysfunctional now than it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

Blacks are going to have to clean up their own acts. Nobody else can do their work for them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 4:14 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Barack O'Zilla is a destroyer of unity, in every aspect of his lack of Leadership. He simply does not believe that government is a servant of the People! Where was he, at national Day of Prayer? Why does he refer to the private arena as "enemy lines?"His divide and conquer strategy, is contrary to the Founding Fathers vision of E Pluribus Unum!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 6:21 PM

hal in Missouri said:

it feels comforting to know that discrimination is still rampant in amerika, way to go house of non-representatives, it's assuring that immigration and equality does not exist in the gop-..denial is not a river in Egypt..pax

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 9:51 AM