Black Pols’ Anger at Tea Party Should Be Refocused on Obama
posted at 11:07 am on August 24, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
It’s a feeling sports fans know well. Your team has just had its head handed to it by its fiercest rival. You leave the stadium or arena tasting bile. If you’re an adult, you turn the page, vowing that your team (and you) will live to fight another day. If you’re not, you irrationally lash out at your opponent for having played a better game and stoop to name calling.
In short, you behave the way Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters has in recent days. Following her team’s drubbing in the budget debate, the congresswoman has been looking for someone to vent her spleen on. Ultimately, she selected the Tea Party:
We have to stand up and fight. It’s fight time…. I’m not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell.
Damning a portion of the electorate is decidedly behavior unbecoming a member of Congress, but Waters’ job is secure. In 2010 she was elected to her eleventh term with almost 80 percent of the vote in California’s 35th congressional district, this despite an ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee into campaign malfeasance. The district’s makeup is 81 percent minority.
Since Waters’ tantrum, the battle cry has been echoed by other members of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as race huckster Jesse Jackson. Rep. Frederica Wilson accused the Tea Party of holding Congress hostage (an original thought) and claimed the group has “one goal in mind, and that’s to make President Obama a one-term president.”Jackson said the Tea Party should be called “the Fort Sumter Tea Party that Sought to Maintain States’ Rights and Slavery.” (Granted, it comes tripping off the tongue, but you have to wonder whether it’s likely to catch on.)
Psychologists have a name for what Waters and her pals are experiencing: impotent rage. It’s a condition that, unchecked, can lead to rash behavior. The solution to uncorking the welled up anger is to find a constructive release for it—a target deserving of contempt.
Waters seemed on the right track initially, when she told a black audience in Detroit during the president’s “listening” bus tour:
The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president…. We’re supportive of the president, but we’re getting tired, y’all. We’re getting tired…. [O]ur people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community. We don’t know that.
I believe I do know why the president skipped the black community. It is because he takes their votes for granted—probably with good reason. He received 96 percent of the black vote in 2008. His approval rating among blacks is currently at 88 percent. Why should he waste time canvassing for votes he is almost certain to win when he faces an uphill battle in the swing states this time around?
The situation creates a catch-22 for Waters and other black politicians. They can continue to rail out helplessly at forces they have no control over. Or they can accept the bitter reality that the messiah they thought they were electing is either mythical or yet to come. Is it possible that the calls to primary Obama will come from, of all places, the black community? It would certainly represent a healthy first step toward a post-racial America.
- John Kerry: Media should not give equal time to Tea Party
- Tea Party terrorists and the left’s civility pledge
- Congressional Black Caucus, other blacks losing “hope” in Obama
- Poll: Obama support among blacks, Hispanics slips (VIDEO)
- When Maxine Waters criticizes the Tea Party, she may as well be standing in front of a mirror