Back in 2008, a black conservative friend, a college professor, said he voted for then-Sen. Barack Obama for president. "Obama," he said, "is post-Jesse Jackson. No more race card. And, with a black president, young blacks will start hitting the books a lot harder. They will see that racism is no barrier to the highest possible achievement."
I saw but one possible silver lining. When Obama's tax/spend/regulate policies fail to achieve the expected results, many blacks will do some soul-searching. "I always thought our 'plight' had to do with the President really not caring about us," some black voters will begin to ask. "But not any more because Obama most assuredly cares. But unemployment has gone up."
Five years into his presidency, Obama has picked up and dropped down the race card more times than a three-card Monte hustler on the street corner. When a black Harvard professor irresponsibly accused a Cambridge, Mass., police officer of racial profiling, Obama sided with the professor, saying, "The Cambridge police acted stupidly." Obama could have started a discussion about the false assumption that widespread racism remains within the criminal justice system. He could have cited a 1999 Justice Department study that found that, no, a black criminal is not punished more harshly than a white defendant with an identical background and record.
George Zimmerman, a "white-Hispanic" Florida neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. Before one word of testimony, Obama irresponsibly weighed in by suggesting that Martin's death was motivated by race. "If I had a son," said Obama, "he would look like Trayvon." Hint, hint: Travyon Martin was racially profiled.
Obama even thinks the tea party is racist.
According to U.S. News White House reporter and author Kenneth T. Walsh, Obama considers the tea party a racist movement that rose up to stop him. "In May 2010," writes Walsh, "(Obama) told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent 'tea party' movement that was then surging across the country. ... A guest suggested that when tea party activists said they wanted to 'take back' their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a 'subterranean agenda' in the anti-Obama movement -- a racially biased one -- that was unfortunate."
Obama also stood silently while former President Jimmy Carter blamed racism for the opposition to Obama. "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama," said Carter, "is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American. Racism ... still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."
So much for no more irresponsible use of the race card.
Four years into Obama's recovery, many blacks are asking, "So, where are the jobs?"
When Obama entered office, the black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent. As of August 2011, it still stood at 16.5 percent. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House." A year later, though the rate had dropped a couple points, Cleaver said: "With 14 percent (black) unemployment, if we had a white president we'd be marching around the White House. ... The President knows we are going to act in deference to him in a way we wouldn't to someone white."
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called the black unemployment rate "unconscionable." But at a jobs town hall forum in Detroit, Waters told the predominately black audience that she did not intend to criticize Obama. "We're politicians," noted this original member of the CBC. "If we go after the President too hard," she said, "you're going after us. When you tell us it's all right and you unleash us and you're ready to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation."
For many blacks, Obama as president represents someone who clearly, genuinely cares about the black community. Is there any doubt that Obama wants what he thinks is best for the black community? Comedian Chris Rock was not doing stand-up when he said President Obama is like "the dad of the country."
Well, the results are in. And they are not good. The median income of black households declined more than twice as much as the income of white households under Obama's tenure. Blacks have lost their homes to foreclosure at a higher rate than whites. By taxing the "rich," placing health care under federal oversight and spending $1 trillion on "stimulus," Obama's policies have produced the worst recovery on record.
But President Obama cares -- truly, madly, deeply.
Washington Examiner Columnist Larry Elder is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.