Puzzled at the disdain for Bush -- despite better black employment numbers than those under Obama? Consider the contempt so many blacks display toward former President Ronald Reagan. A few months ago, I interviewed PBS television host Tavis Smiley. To make the case for less government and lower taxes -- the opposite of which Obama has pursued -- I cited the unemployment rates and other economic numbers for blacks under Reagan.
Smiley: Every stat you cited, vis-a-vis people of color, does not measure up when you talk to the people of color who had to live through the hell of those eight years of Ronald Reagan.
Elder: What do mean, "talk to the people"? I've just given you labor stats, census stats -- these are facts, Tavis. Unemployment fell faster in the black community than the white community -- it fell faster for teens, it fell faster for adults, it fell faster for Hispanics. And you're telling me when you talk to people, they don't like Reagan, so therefore stats go out of the window?
Smiley: Larry, your numbers are not true. When I get back to my office, later today or tomorrow, I'll send you some more numbers. You know this -- numbers don't lie, but people do. The numbers are very clear.
What if Obama were white?
Apart from high black unemployment, Obama opposes allowing urban parents to select the school for their children. Though he calls education "the civil rights issue" of the 21st century, Obama opposed the popular D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. By lottery, inner-city Washington, D.C., children received vouchers to help allow parental choice in education. High school graduation rates increased from 70 percent for applicants not offered a scholarship to 82 percent for the scholarship recipients.
The head of the Congressional Black Caucus concedes that blacks suffer from a level of unemployment that would be unacceptable under a white president. But because of Obama's race, Cleaver refuses to criticize him.
How is this any different from how actor Samuel L. Jackson explains why he voted for Obama? "I voted for Barack," said Jackson, "because he was black. 'Cuz that's why other folks vote for other people -- because they look like them." Meanwhile, black political leaders like Cleaver refuse to criticize what Obama himself, in 2003, called "the economic disaster that is occurring in our communities" -- because Obama looks like them.
And Tavis Smiley's "more" numbers have yet to arrive.