By Tanya Dennis
Last week on September 24th, President Barack Obama met with the Congressional Black Caucus and admonished them to stop complaining, stating that he needed them to ““Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes, Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
His message a week later on September 28th to the Hispanic Caucus had a dramatically different tone as he repeatedly praised Mexico’s President Calderon for his extraordinary work regarding immigration reform and the fight against drug-related violence, indicating how important these issues are to communities and families on both sides of the border.
Obama, responding to increasing griping from black leaders regarding him making too many concessions to Republicans and not doing enough to fight black unemployment, double the national average at 15.7 percent, knows he needs black support to pass the jobs bill he sent to Capitol Hill two weeks ago.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) recently told McClatchy Newspapers, “If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Referring to the compromises that Obama is considering, Cleaver called the compromise deal a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich.”
Obama said the package of payroll tax cuts, business tax breaks and infrastructure spending will benefit 100,000 black-owned businesses and 20 million African-American workers. Republicans have indicated they’re open to some of the tax measures, but oppose his means of paying for it by taxing the rich and corporations.
Caucus leaders remain fiercely protective of the nation’s first African-American president, but in recent weeks they’ve been increasingly vocal in their discontent, especially over black joblessness.
But Cleaver said his members also are keeping their gripes in check because “nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”
On Monday, September 26, Obama held a town meeting at the California headquarters of LinkedIn, the business networking website, before going on to fundraisers in San Diego and Los Angeles.