Larry Elder
What if President Obama were white?

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said last year, "If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House."

The problem to which Cleaver refers is black unemployment. At the beginning of the Obama administration, 12.7 percent of black adults seeking work were unemployed. Black unemployment is now 14.1 percent. Black teenage unemployment at the beginning of the Obama administration was 35.2 percent. Black teenage unemployment is now 37.9 percent.

Last month, Cleaver said: "As the chair of the Black Caucus, I've got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the President. With 14 percent (black) unemployment, if we had a white president we'd be marching around the White House. ... The President knows we are going to act in deference to him in a way we wouldn't to someone white."

A reporter asked Cleaver what would he say had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, instead of Obama, been elected president. Cleaver admitted: "As much as I love Sen. Clinton, I would have been all over her on 14 percent unemployment for African-Americans. I would have said, 'My sister, I love you, but this has got to go.'"

Actor Morgan Freeman accuses Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of placing the defeat of Obama ahead of the welfare of the country. But there is no problem with Cleaver putting Obama's re-election ahead of the welfare of the very people who most enthusiastically voted the President into office?

Cleaver and other black Democrats in the House hail from the same tax/spend/regulate left side of the left party. What possible useful advice could they offer? "Hey, Mr. President, please don't accede to our political demands because, in truth, they are counterproductive."

Back in April 2003, then-Illinois state Sen. Obama sharply criticized high black unemployment under then-President George W. Bush. Obama assailed Bush's "attack on working families," arguing that the President needed to "fix up the economy first" before doing anything else -- like lowering taxes. Black unemployment, at the time, was 10.3 percent. Obama spoke about "the economic disaster that is occurring in our communities."

When black unemployment edged up to 10.9 percent the next month, Obama called out Bush for his "unprecedented $300 billion deficit," which, he said, "underscores the recklessness of the George W. Bush administration and the Republican Congress." Under Bush, the economy grew for 35 consecutive months. And black unemployment reached a low of 7.9 percent.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit