I love the man, don't get me wrong. I am proud of him and what he's accomplished so far in the face of huge odds, Republican obstructionism, Tea Party attacks, and all kinds of fringe elements dogging him. Heck, I like what he did with the Affordable Care Act and his stellar thumping of Mitt Romney, Karl Rove et al in the 2012 Presidential Elections. And I do think that he will go down in history as a great president.
But underlying President Barack Obama's excellent credentials, formidable political skills, and growing ability to triangulate, is a creeping realization that he is prone, even susceptible, to bouts of political cowardice. I don't like a trend that says that every time Republicans shout "bloody murder" President Obama caves in and dutifully compromises in their favor. It happened during his first term and it's happening now. Republicans who lost the election are calling the shots by making the loudest noises, threatening the most, and literally disrespecting the president.
My view? He's got to grow some cajones, as his Latino community is saying these days.
And if anyone who has seen President Obama in action these days doubts his kow-towing to the Republican loudmouth chorus then think again. When the Benghazi incident happened the United Nations Ambassador, Susan Rice, went before the world to offer the Obama Administration's rationale and reasoning about how that tragic event happened. It was very days into the event and the facts were not all in. Rice stated what she was told to say. Nothing more.
Yes, Ambassador Susan Rice. Not her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not a senior Obama staffer like his Chief of Staff. No, Black Susan Rice. The same Susan Rice that went after then GOP candidate John McCain in 2008 when former Senator Barack Obama was running for President of the United States. Now in the face of the most idiotic, petty, asinine, infantile and racist attacks against an eminently qualified Black woman to be Clinton's successor, President Obama, like Bill Clinton with Lani Guennier, caved to the GOP attack chorus.
Small-minded and petulant like a thumb-sucking spoiled brat McCain and company saw their opportunity to pay back Rice for her chastising the GOP presidential standard-bearer in 2008. He never forgot that. How dare this Black B***h speak to him like that? Now, when she could not defend herself McCain pounced -- with vitriol and anger that made the Ku Klux Klan smile with envy.
But it was the President that threw Susan Rice under the bus. He could have called McCain and the Senate Republicans' bluff. But he did not. So she graciously withdrew her name from contention displaying in the process more grace and loyalty to the President than he showed her. She refused to let these Old White septuagenarians in the US Senate impugn her reputation and breeding. McCain and company, despite their wealth and influence, came over as so many nit-picking, old and garrulous uber-peons who, in my opinion, should simply resign and go home to pasture and wait for the Grim Reaper.
So how come a Black president who was not willing to fight for a qualified, loyal public servant is suddenly willing and spoiling for a fight when it comes to defending his pick of a white REPUBLICAN (gasp!) for the position of Secretary of Defense? I don't want to believe that in 2013 there are still the old, lingering effects of the "Black oppressor syndrome" where long-oppressed Black BECOME very much like the very oppressor?
And if this was the first time that happened then I would let it slide. Remember Shirley Sherrod? An Ultra-Right zealot (now deceased) doctored a video tape claiming that this educated, smart and loyal Black woman was a racist. In less than 24-hours, and without doing a simple Google search that would have unearthed the truth about the tape, the Obama Administration and the President himself threw her under the bus. He was not even prepared to wait until all of the facts were in. In the end the Administration was embarrassed when the truth came out but by that time Shirley Sherrod was already tarred -- by her own race, party and president. What do Sherrod and Rice have in common? They are both qualified, articulate and educated Black women.
But before them there was Van Jones a bright, smart and educated environmentalist. Again, some very simple, unfounded accusations that were regurgitated over and over on Fox 5 and by other GOP talking heads forced President Obama to give him the boot. He bowed to the Republican Loud Mouths and jettisoned Van Jones. Van Jones too is Black.
So how can President Obama, who won the 2012 presidential elections with a coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Asians and liberal white women, now pack his top Cabinet positions with a bunch of white males? Many of them who did not vote for him and harbor a secret contempt for a Black man in the White House giving them orders? Is he so naïve as to believe that because he won the presidency these guys are suddenly in love with him?
Here are the blunt facts:
1. No matter what President Obama does Republicans will NEVER EVER be satisfied. That's the same people who constantly send racist and offensive memos about him and his family. There is a big trust deficit -- as big as the US Budget deficit -- between the President and Republicans in Congress, the Tea Party and white males across the United States. Therefore his picks should reflect the coalition that got him elected.
2. He should have fought for Susan Rice. Not doing so was an insult to women, especially Black women, and demonstrated that when things get tough women cannot count on him.
3. No Republican in the White House in the last 25 years has EVER elevated a Democratic to the top five positions in the government. But Obama seems ready to break the record for a "let's get along" Democrat "reaching across the aisle" to our "Republican brothers." That's the same people that think he's Muslim and that he was not born in the United States. And, for the record? Mr. President, they are not your brothers.
4. Politics is about taking care of YOUR BASE and bringing into your administration loyal people that you can trust. The Bush Administration demonstrated that clearly and effectively. This inner-party discipline is something that Democrats need to emulate and learn from. But I'm not holding my breath on this one.