With massive government programs a given, I certainly opt for the president's preference for tax credits rather than federal grants and management. I also appreciate what appears to be a voucher-like program for displaced children to attend the school of their choice.
But, I was very disappointed with the president's rhetoric about race.
Permitting himself to give credence to the notion that black poverty of recent years in New Orleans reflects racial discrimination and lack of opportunity was anything but an act of compassion toward blacks. He is either uninformed, which of course is troubling, or willing to bury truth for political ends, which is also troubling.
It makes me wonder what Condoleezza Rice must be thinking when she hears the president relate black poverty in the South to discrimination. Our secretary of state, of course, emerged from a neighborhood in the Deep South not distant from where the president spoke Thursday night. Is she the black exception to the rule? Is she, as many black liberals would assert, a turncoat, making it on affirmative action and then turning her back on it?
Politicians who truly care about the black condition in America today need to start reaching for the intestinal fortitude and being honest.
How can racial discrimination be the operative holding blacks down in a city in which at least seven out of 10 residents are black?
New Orleans' convention center, where black residents sat for days in squalor waiting for help (after being directed there by Mayor Ray Nagin), is called the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Ernest Morial was the first black mayor of New Orleans. His son, Marc Morial, also a black former mayor of New Orleans, is now president of the National Urban League.
The chief of police in New Orleans is black, as is the head of the city council. The mayor is black, as is the man who has represented New Orleans in the U.S. House for the last 16 years.
Black presence and power in New Orleans are wide and deep.
The truth about black poverty today, as Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute has aptly put it, is that it is "intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city."
Consider that black households that are headed by married couples have median incomes almost 90 percent that of white households headed by married couples.