By John W. Lillpop
Last month, President Obama was roundly criticized for failing to show up in Wisconsin to campaign for the recall of Governor Scott Walker in his huge dispute with public sector labor unions.
“Too busy” was the official explanation at the time, although Obama found plenty of time for fund raising appearances.
This month this prez is raising eyebrows for his no-show at the NAACP convention which was addressed by Republican Mitt Romney.
Whither Barack, is the cry in Houston.
As reported at the reference, this time it is a “Scheduling Conflict” which is keeping the first black president in US History from appearing before a constituency of supporters who come down on his side 90-95 percent of the problem.
Perhaps that overwhelming support is, itself, the problem?
Specifically, in the cold, brutal world of competitive national politics it may be considered imprudent for Obama to “waste” valuable time and energy in appearing before a gathering of folks already solidly in his camp.
In other words, Obama may be taking the Black Vote for granted!
Naturally, some black folks are feeling jilted as reported at the reference in part:
HOUSTON, Texas — The black leaders that attended the NAACP Convention here Thursday heaped praise on Vice President Joe Biden for a heated morning speech, but one question quietly pervaded the gathering: Where was President Obama?
Obama's decision to skip the annual convention in the heat of his re-election bid has been a point of constant speculation here in recent days, providing a sort of microcosm for how the black community views the nation's first African-American president as he nears the end of his first term.
"The people here overwhelmingly supported President Obama, would have loved to have President Obama here. So there's definitely some disappointment about that," said Dedrick Muhammad, director of the NAACP's Economic Department.
Convention organizers said the president's office cited a "scheduling conflict" as the reason he couldn't attend. (Obama spent today in Washington D.C., and has no major public events.) And the president did make an effort to ensure the convention that he hadn't forgotten them, appearing in a brief, pre-taped video praising the organization that aired before Biden's address.
But one former Obama administration official noted to BuzzFeed that the move looked like a snub.
"Even considering the politics here, it seems odd that the first African-American President is sending his vice president to address the NAACP national convention in an election year," the official said.
Most of the convention's audience, comprised of black civic leaders, business owners, and community activists, were reluctant to criticize Obama to the press, even as they complained about his neglect off the record — a reflection of a sense of protectiveness among many African-Americans, and an understanding that Obama must at times disappoint.
Alvin Chambliss, a retired law professor at Texas Southern University and lifelong members of the NAACP, blamed Obama's advisers — particularly Valerie Jarrett — for his decision not to show up, echoing a common complaint here about the people in the president's inner circle. Chambliss, who called the president's absence "a downer," said Jarrett is too afraid of Obama becoming defined by his race, and has led him to take his African-American supporters for granted.
"I don't think there's anyone around the president who's really, truly from the black community," Chambliss said. "We have to re-elect him, but I pray that his second term will be different from his first term."
Chambliss went on to say he "long[ed] for the day when the NAACP will be an organization where every president, whether Republican or Democrat, would come because there would be punitive damages for not coming. But today is obviously not that day."
"We can give him a pass," Chambliss concluded. "But to say it was a scheduling conflict, that's bull. At the end of the day, it's the NAACP; you schedule stuff around them. You're supposed to know when there's a convention, and you're supposed to come."
As to Chambliss’s longing for the day when ” NAACP will be an organization where every president, whether Republican or Democrat, would come because there would be punitive damages for not coming,” --that day will come when the NAACP is seen as more than a political special interest owned and operated by and for the Democrat Party!
Why not start the process, Mr. Chambliss,by revoking that “Pass” to Obama for his recent snub?