On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union address, Cynthia Gordy, writer for the Blogging the Beltway [1] column in TheRoot.com, asked the question: “Will Obama talk about black unemployment?”

Of course, Gordy already knew the answer – “Hell no!” – but proceeded to discuss the horrific state of Black jobless America with someone who actually cared, Christian Weller, from the Center for American Progress. Ms. Gordy ended the piece on a plaintive note. “Here’s hoping Obama will at least have a more elaborate plan to truly lift up all communities,” she wrote.

What a strange and deeply sad relationship exists between many Black Americans and the brown-skinned corporate politician in the White House. After two years, there is no longer any expectation of reciprocity, only a muted hope and prayer that Obama would behave decently.

He didn’t. In announcing a five-year freeze on domestic spending, Obama enters a new phase of aggressive – rather than furtive – collaboration with the GOP. To ensure that catastrophe cannot be avoided for the tens of millions battered and set adrift by the two (lesser and greater) recessions of the 21st century, Obama will join with Republicans to prevent the domestic arms of government from coming to the people’s aid, by freezing finances. With whole communities in a state of economic dislocation, Obama burns the rescue boats and poisons the water, all the while promising that the necessary budgetary savings will not be achieved “on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens” – as if Wall Street’s bankers will shield the helpless with their well-bonused bodies.

The First Black President had nothing new or promising of substance to offer anyone who is not rich, just repackaged items from his dismally disappointing past. No dollar signs to give meaning to the president’s mystical and misleading rhetoric on jobs, which will somehow be made to appear through a uniquely American process of “innovation” and “self-invention” inaccessible to lesser peoples. This aspect of exceptionalism will out-“green” China and overtake South Korean Internet speeds, without costing the Treasury an extra dime. “Thousands” of jobs will result, to take the place of the hundreds of thousands that will be lost in the public sector, alone, as government implodes at all levels.

Remember Sputnik! says Obama. Of course, the shocking 1957 Russian leap into space prompted the United States to embark on the greatest educational spending spree in history. There will be none of that under the Obama/GOP austerity regime. Instead, Obama’s “Race to the Top” program will force ever larger slices of the public education infrastructure into the privately-managed but publicly financed alternative national charter school system – a multi-billion dollar “market” for hedge funds and other speculators.

By bringing down the corporate tax rate – a substantive promise from Obama that only the wealthy can truly appreciate – additional profits will accrue to companies that have already hoarded over two trillion dollars, but who were doubtless awaiting Obama’s coded signal, “Sputnik,” before investing in productive, job-producing enterprises. These investments might also be delayed until Obama has, as promised on Tuesday night, reorganized the federal government to the Republicans’ satisfaction, and purged offensive regulations from the public sphere.

Funny, how Obama seems so much more in his element in the wake of the November defeat than when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress. Half of Obama’s Blue Dog friends have been replaced by Republicans, but the president seems even happier among the new guys, as if he’s finally within reach of the grand, “bi-partisan consensus” that is the ideal state of being in a post-everything America.

January 26, 2011


[1] http://www.theroot.com/blogs/racial-disparities/will-obama-address-black-unemployment-state-union