If President Barack Obama hasn’t been catching enough flak, if his things-to-do list isn’t already crowded with pressing issues, the Ebola epidemic has brought another patch of gray hair and more problems to his troubled, beleaguered administration.
Once more, his critics are piling on, in fact, practically blaming him for the outbreak of Ebola or at least for not acting with alacrity. His detractors, principally the GOP, tea party and other right-wing zealots—and even some running-scared Democratic hopefuls, fleeing him as if he has Ebola—blame him for every problem on the planet. Yes, global warming is his fault, and so is your migraine headache from this morning.
The other day, I received a particularly annoying assessment from Raynard Jackson, a Republican political consultant, who after praising Obama’s ability to win the office, disparages him as a leader, especially when it comes to his dissing Black Americans. To Jackson, the president has turned his back on African-Americans, thus failing the test of loyalty. There’s nothing new about this assertion, and considering the source, it comes as no surprise.
Jackson’s basic complaint is that Obama has neglected Blacks, who comprise the bulk of his voting bloc. By this assertion, I presume he means Black Americans are not part of the nation’s population, that Obama’s accomplishments somehow veer clear of the Black community. In Jackson’s universe, apparently, the good things Obama has done are not shared by Black Americans, that is, they are not beneficiaries of the various reforms in the economy, employment, health care and education, to mention just a few areas of change he promised.
But rather than take on Jackson’s critique point by point, let’s take a general look at the Obama agenda, or doctrine, whatever you want to call it. True, he has not been a perfect leader—I am not a fan of his drone operation or his “Big Brother” surveillance of private citizens, and his foreign policy is not something to write home about—but to say he is the worst president since World War II as one poll concluded, is about as wide of the mark as Jackson’s summary.
Let’s start with the economy.
Remember, when Obama entered the White House, the Great Recession was waiting for him in the East Wing. If he had not bailed out the automobile giants, revamped the banking industry (though a few bankers could have been jailed) And put forth nearly a trillion dollar stimulus package, this country would have gone to hell in a hand basket. It’s naive to think that some of these changes were not helpful to Black workers and businessmen and women.
There was vocal opposition when he proposed the Affordable Care Act, and when the rollout did not go as planned, Obama was assailed again, but ask the typical American, including a few of color, and they applaud a health act no other president had been able to do, not even the cherished Bill Clinton.
Solving the education dilemma in this country is a daunting task, and even our top educators, such as Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, seem conflicted when taking the measure of the president, praising him for his “forward thinking agenda,” particularly on early childhood education and making college affordable but attacking him and Arne Duncan, his secretary of education, on the administration’s position on charter schools.