by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
President Obama has nearly consummated his long courtship with the GOP, yet Black and labor leaders continue to pretend that he is a bulwark against austerity. In an even more nightmarish version of Groundhog Day, "the behavior of the Black and labor leadership actors remains the same, as the economic and political landscape crumbles around them."
Four More Years of Groundhog Days
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
" Obama is "free at last' from ever again having to depend on African American voters."
In the 1993 movie Groundhog Day , the Bill Murray character finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. (William Shatner wound up in a similar scenario in Nick of Time , a 1960 Twilight Zone episode.) The endless looping eventually causes Murray to reexamine his life, and set a new course.
After four years of calamity for African Americans, one would think that at least some elements of
the Black Misleadership Class would be threatening, ever so softly, to break the cycle of reflexive subservience to Power in a Black face. Unlike Murray, however, our misleaders show not even a hint of honest introspection, much less genuine self-criticism for having failed to make a single serious demand of the First Black President through two election cycles. The clock has run out on those who purport to be Black power-brokers, now that Obama is "free at last" from ever again having to depend on African American voters.
Organized labor has also shot its wad -- and many hundreds of millions of dollars -- in servile allegiance to the corporate Democrat who is brimming with confidence " that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time." Blacks and labor are about to be shoved off the fiscal cliff, possibly in time for Christmas.
Yes, we've seen this story before. However, the groundhog days of Obama's second term will be far more horrific than the cinematic version, because the objective conditions of life in which the story unfolds deteriorate with every passing day. Only the behavior of the Black and labor leadership actors remains the same, as the economic and political landscape crumbles around them. Now, that's a real nightmare.
" The clock has run out on those who purport to be Black power-brokers."
As Obama prepares the public for the imminent consummation of his romance with the GOP -- a case of incest, since both lovers are spawns of Wall Street -- labor is reading the same old script. "We expect to have the president's back on the agenda that the voters just declared support for," said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, as if she had just experienced the election of 2008. "The president has always said he needs a movement behind his mandate." Apparently, in her world, a "movement" is anything that moves in tandem with the Democratic president, including into bed with the Republicans.
Labor fails to make a distinction between the president's back and his backside, which is what he has actually been showing to working people for four years. The SEIU announced that it is sending letters to Congress, urging that " any deal " should protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The truth is, most Democrats in Congress could be expected to circle the wagons around these programs -- except when their leader in the White House orders otherwise. The SEIU has it ass-backwards, and the outcome is numbingly predictable.
National Urban League President Marc Morial is hoping for a "fair and sensible" plan to get over the fiscal cliff. Morial told US News and World Report "he is worried that the fiscal cliff would disproportionately affect African Americans because budget cuts would likely slash jobs in state and local government. African Americans make up a disproportionately large share of the public sector workforce." Caught in a groundhog day, Morial cannot remember that President Obama took the initiative to freeze federal workers' wages in 2010, and extended the freeze in August of this year, despite (or maybe because of) the disproportionate harm done to Black employees.