Remember, I am a retired blogger, so this is way shorter than it deserves to be.
Regardless of your political affiliation, there is one aspect of the Obama Presidency that should be of enormous concern to all of us? What is that? It is the President’s leadership on issues of race, class and poverty in America. Notwithstanding the typical leftist class-warfare stuff that comes out of his office, the President has been a complete failure, in my humble opinion of course, when it comes to race and urban issues.
Why? Perhaps I unfairly had expectations that being the first black President, that President Obama would use his position to be much more aggressive in getting a message out to urban and black America. If someone is going to be respected and appreciated in the inner cities, surely this President would be the one. But how many major pieces of policy have come out of his office aimed at dealing with what can only be described as chaos in many of America’s inner cities? Where are his prime-time speeches, or long periods in the States of the Union addresses, discussing frankly the problems of crime, prisons, familial decline, poor labor market outcomes, for many in urban and black America?
I’m not talking about a few stump speeches as he markets his PPACA to the country. I am not talking about a few stump speeches as he rails on the problems of college tuition. I am talking about dedicated, forceful leadership about America’s urban problems.
But he’s been total deadwood. And not only is this disappointing, one might argue it is economically, politically and morally irresponsible for this to be it. So while he is going to be celebrated as the first black President that broke many barriers, what will his social and political legacy be? It surely will be written in terms of his adherence to health care reform and his very open and frank disagreements with anyone regarding matters of economic policy. But nowhere in the history books will there be written, “This President began the transformation of America’s inner cities.” Unless of course the postmoderns totally take over the writing of history books.
Had I voted, I would have voted for Mr. Obama 5 years ago, and I would have done so solely on the grounds that the problems in America’s inner cities are so profound that excellent leadership there more than offsets any opposition I’d have to the expanding role of the state that was sure to come under his reign. And I, like millions of other Americans, would have been fools.