It’s an interesting dynamic. And apparently it goes both ways.
It’s not news that black politicians, particularly of the older sort, hate Obama. The Congressional Black Caucus nearly went all in for Hillary. Jesse Jackson talked about cutting off Obama’s nuts. No doubt much worse was said in private.
Some of this may be a personality clash between the old corrupt generation of black pols, the Charlie Rangel era, and the younger savvier Cory Bookers, like the one that played out in Newark. The Charlie Rangels think the Obamas and Bookers are too slick and too phony, that they don’t know how things really get done and that they’re little more than puppets of white bosses.
There’s some truth to that. Certainly Obama doesn’t exactly represent the black community, even though he gets all their votes. Rangel and that generation rightly fear that they are being displaced by smooth-talking black radicals who exploit black identity with no commitment to the black community, for left-wing causes.
And there’s not much love going the other way.
“Obama had little patience for the ‘professional left,’ and vanishingly close to zero for what one of his senior African American aides, Michael Strautmanis, referred to as ‘professional blacks’ (as opposed to black professionals),” authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann wrote on page 39 of the book. “Apart from Georgia congressman John Lewis and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Obama had nearly as much contempt for the CBC as he did for the Tea Party Caucus.”
“New York’s Charlie Rangel he derided as a hack; Jesse Jackson Sr. was effectively banned from the White House,” according to the authors. “Obama remembered all too well a conversation with [Cornel] West in 2009, in which the professor used the precious time to complain about his seating at the inauguration.”
It’s not hard to see why Obama would despise the CBC. It’s a clown act.
If not for political correctness, world-class idiots like Sheila Jackson-Lee and Hank Johnson would be mocked from one end of the country to the next. And Jesse Jackson even became a joke among white people a long time ago, never mind what black people think of him.
On the other hand, Obama hooked up with Al Sharpton as his rep to the black community who makes Jesse Jackson look like a class act.
Obama has shown a certain amount of institutional disdain, avoiding the NAACP for the Urban League; that’s both a generational and class gap. No matter how helpful Jealous’ NAACP has been to Obama’s program of gay rights and illegal immigration, Obama doesn’t seem to like it.
Even though Obama wrote two books on the subject of his race, those were political pamphlets whose feigned honesty was part of an effort to sell himself on campuses. What his real identity is may be a more complex matter.
Growing up in a Muslim country where black people were despised and with an affinity for left-wing radicalism, but little for American black culture and Christianity, as his mentor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has said, Obama’s third culture approach to black politics is conflicted.
On the one hand, Obama relies on the “Black” brand for political reasons. Without black turnout and white boomer dreams of the Camelot of race relations that might have been, he would have been just another bored college grad marking time. But that just makes an egomaniac who believes firmly in his own genius more conflicted about his political dependence on that identity.
Obama doesn’t believe in the black-white vision of America that is so integral to black politics. The tribalism means very little to him, as does tribalism of any kind.
And that’s something most professional black politicians understand about him. No matter how much the black community has done for him politically, he feels burdened by it.
Obama’s radicalism isn’t the black radicalism of an Eric Holder. It dovetails with some of the resentment of black politics, but its leftist purity ultimately has as little use for black tribalism as it does for white tribalism.