That African-Americans favor a powerful federal government is understandable. After all, it was the federal government that crushed the Confederacy, freed the slaves, sent troops to integrate the South, enacted the civil rights laws, imposed affirmative action on companies and colleges, and created the Great Society that provided trillions in wealth transfers and welfare benefits and employs a share of the black population that is nearly twice its representation in the labor force.
That African-Americans would see states' rights conservatives and small-government Republicans as hostile to the one powerful institution most friendly to them should come as a no surprise.
Here we come to Barack's dilemma.
The nation he leads is facing a deficit-debt crisis that comes of an inescapable truth: Whether we are talking about commitments to go to war to defend scores of nations or commitments to entitlement and Great Society programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, earned income tax credits, food stamps and Pell grants, we Americans have handed out promissory notes we no longer have the means to meet.
We can no longer deliver what we have promised.
We are running deficits of 10 percent of gross domestic product with a national debt over 100 percent. We are on the path that Italy is following, which is the path that Greece pursued.
We are an overextended empire and commonwealth facing strategic and fiscal bankruptcy. If Obama is to lead the nation out of the crisis it confronts, he has to preside over a downsizing of the welfare-warfare state -- the same state that sustains his base.
Not to worry, we are told. When the lazy days of summer are over, Obama will present Congress with his big plan for resurrecting the economy and ensuring the long-term solvency of the nation.
Obama's September program -- indeed, any credible plan to revive the economy and bring our books into balance -- has to include a rollback of U.S. commitments at home and abroad.
Yet, domestically, this cannot be done without reducing future Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and cutting and capping the social programs of the Great Society. Moreover, half the nation cannot freeload forever, as is the case today, contributing nary a dime in federal income taxes.
And such reforms must adversely impact most Obama's political and personal base.
If he proposes new taxes, Tea Party Republicans fix bayonets.
If he proposes downsizing the government and cutting and capping social programs, his most loyal constituents rise up against him.
Enjoy the Vineyard, Mr. President.