Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- A rattled tone of desperation has taken hold of President Obama's once self-confident rhetoric as he struggles to rally his party's dispirited political base.

With the Gallup daily tracking poll showing his job approval score falling to 39 percent over the weekend, Obama shocked Congressional Black Caucus Democrats at a dinner Saturday with an intemperate scolding for daring to criticize his mishandling of the economy.

"I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain," he told the assembled black leaders. "I am going to press on. I expect all of you to march with me. ... Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying."

It was a stunning display of a deeply frustrated president coming unglued, an outburst that the national news media went to great lengths to hide in their news reports Sunday. Incredibly, The Washington Post buried Obama's petulant, insensitive remarks in the 32nd graph of of its story.

No sector of the electorate has suffered more from his failed, jobless policies than black Americans, whose bleak unemployment levels are now at nearly 17 percent, and more than 20 percent when part-time workers are added to the equation.

He can no longer blame George W. Bush. When Obama took office in January 2009, black unemployment was 11.5 percent. The worsening economic plight of the black community has eroded his support among what once was his most loyal constituency.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week found "the proportion of blacks expressing strongly positive views of Obama has dropped 25 points since mid-April -- from 83 percent to 58 percent. His "favorable" score plunged below 50 percent among younger blacks between the ages of 18 to 29.

Fiery Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the first black leader in Congress to openly criticize Obama's record on job creation, has been pleading with black congressional leaders to break their political silence over the president's impotent economic policies. "I felt we had to stop shoving it under the rug," she said at a CBC jobs fair in Detroit last week.

The central complaint among black leaders has been that he hasn't directly addressed high black unemployment over the course of his presidency. There's been a growing feeling among disappointed black voters that Obama took them for granted, believing they would always be there for him, no matter how much they have suffered from his inept unemployment policies.

His imperious order that "I expect all of you to march with me," no matter what the circumstances, was an insult to the dignity of his black supporters -- treating them like they were children. Do as I say and do it now!

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.