The Cycle | November 20, 2012
>>> fun, man. can't get no worse than it's been in the last hundred years. everybody is afraid to run because they know even though it's 1982 it's still a risky business to be the first black president . you know, you have to give speeches like this. my fellow americans, as the president -- we the people must get together and join hands. we must be -- i'm not too happy about this.
>> somebody black did run, and won twice. we're two weeks removed from barack obama being re-elected and we have broken the race down from every angle. but black angles made up 13% of the electorate and went for president obama 93%. his victory was our victory, but is obama 's presidency good for black people ? sure there's a powerful spiritual self-esteem boost, but what about black unemployment that is double white unemployment? and it was the culmination of dr. king's dream, but in some years the last four years have been a disappointment for black people . joining us is frederick harris from columbia university and the author of of the ticket, barack obama and the rise and decline of black politics." how are you?
>> i'm doing great.
>> we have a leadership dearth in the black community. you know that, we all know that. i think this in your argument you're asking barack to fill some of that dearth.
>> african-americans have to pressure the president like other key constituencies in the democratic party , like activists in the gay and lesbian community , latino activists around immigration. if you don't ask for anything, black leaders have done a wonderful job in registering voters and getting them out, but the question is where is the ask? what do they get in return? where's the reciprocity. i say it's a two-way proposition but the president did make some promises.
>> cornell west and other folks like him have been a little critical of the president for his failure to address poverty. i'll read one quote. he says it's very sad, i'm glad there was no right wing takeover but we end up with a republican, a rockefeller republican in bla black face with barack obama so our struggle with regard to poverty intensifientensifies.
>> unfortunately, i don't want to -- for many people who are critical of the president to get engaged in personal attacks because there's a lot based on policy and politics that one could be critical of the president, and so to get back to the previous question actually, there was some promises that the president did make as a candidate in 2007 . at a speech at howard university , he props epromised a federal level racial profiling act to the students and faculty there. he promised loan forgiveness to students who decided to become public defenders. on the other side of the lenler, where is president barack obama been with fulfilling these promises he made. juneau, you can't tell the story of the obama presidency without talking about obstruction, and he couldn't have really accomplished any of those things the way the republicans were dragging him down.
>> yeah, but why didn't the obstruction work for other key groups. they didn't get the dream act but they got executive action on stopping deportation of young people . you need pressure. you need to pressure political activists to do something. and so in that regard i still don't think the president has come through as much as he should and african m.a.s.h.s as -- whas we look at issue that is affect him haven't pressured him on those ends.
>> you know, toure says something earlier i want to build on. this idea, this tension between obama being a politician who happens to be black more than a black politician. and i think that gets to something in the system that's a lot broader and i have seen covering politics at the state level where it's striking to me, the how many times, the congress is the feeder system for statewide office in this country, for senate, for governor, for high-profile statewide office that is become the springboard to national office. 49 senators right now served in the house originally, but there has never been a black congressman who has ever been elected to the senate, never been a black congressman ever elected to a governorship. i have seen this at the state level. what happens is so many of these black representatives come from minority/majority districts. this is a problem in the democratic party . there's almost a stigma where they say these are politicians who we can't market statewide. the districts are too poor, too liberal, too black . and it steams to eems to me that inhibited the growth of black -- we have a black president but we don't have many black senators or black governors right now.
>> that's absolutely right. i wish we had a little more time to talk about this. you know black politicians cannot get elected as em sary.