By Raynard Jackson
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) describes itself as “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” According to the dictionary, conscience is the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives. Notice that the root of the word conscience is the word “con,” which is exactly what the CBC has turned out to be.
They have conned the American people into believing that they represent the values of the Black community; and nothing could be further from the truth. They have sat silently by as President Barack Obama has put forth policies that have decimated the very people they claim to represent – the Black community.
This con was put on public display last week in the aftermath of the senate election in Mississippi. Incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s successful reelection was credited to Black Democrats crossing party lines to vote for the six-term Republican incumbent.
This led to the headline in online site Politico: “Congressional Black Caucus to Thad Cochran: You owe us.” I was flabbergasted. The article contained several quotes by members of the CBC demanding that Cochran reward the Black voters of Mississippi by pushing forward their liberal agenda in the U.S. Senate.
According to the article, “The wish list is filling up with ideas like maintaining funding for food stamps, beefing up programs that help poor blacks in Mississippi and even supporting the Voting Rights Act.”
CBC members were adamant.
Rep Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio and chairman of the CBC).hat some CBC: “Absolutely we have expectations. Mississippi is the poorest state in the union. I think he [Cochran] is a very decent man. I also think there comes a point in time where every single elected official has to do what’s best for the people he represents, and his state is 35 percent minority and poor.”
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.): “My hat is off to Sen. Cochran for being as desperate as he was, to actually go out and, up front, go out and ask for those votes. Those votes were delivered, and I’m hopeful he will be responsible and responsive to the voters that pushed him over the top.”
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.): “What I hope happens is that he [Cochran] comes to the realization that African-Americans are the reason I have this final six years and therefore I’m going to try and be more responsible than I have been.”
And NAACP Mississippi State President Derrick Johnson added, “Two things that we think should come immediately after the election [are] his support of the Voting Rights Act … free of any provisions that would allow for voter ID and, second, to get the presidents of the Black colleges to ask for his offices for help to make sure the [missions] of those institutions are carried out.”
As “Pookie” in the ‘hood would say, let’s keep it real. Blacks are 36 percent of the electorate in Mississippi and accounted for about 10 percent of the vote for Cochran; but yet members of the CBC are “demanding” concessions from Cochran.
But they don’t hold Obama to the same standard. In 2012, Blacks were 15 percent of the national electorate and Obama received 93 percent of that vote. In 2008, Blacks were 11 percent of the national electorate and gave Obama 96 percent of that vote.
Despite these numbers, the CBC has never demanded anything from Obama that would be of special interest to the Black community. They have made feeble suggestions to Obama, they have sent nice letters to Obama, they have even sent White people to inquire of Obama on their behalf (because he frequently refuses to meet with them); but they have never found the guts to “demand” anything from him.
Why? Because he is Black.
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo. and then-chairman of the CBC) said in 2011,”If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem [Black unemployment], we probably would be marching on the White House… As the chair of the Black Caucus, I’ve got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the president. 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.”
In another interview, Cleaver was asked what he would say if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, instead of Obama, had been elected president and the Black unemployment was double digits? He said, “As much as I love Sen. Clinton, I would have been all over her on 14 percent unemployment for African-Americans. I would have said, ‘My sister, I love you, but this has got to go.’”
Let’s back up a moment. Cochran, a Republican, gets 10 percent of the Black vote. So, the CBC demands action from him, even if that means offending the 90 percent vote total Cochran received from conservative White s in Mississippi. Yet, Obama, a Black Democrat, gets nearly 100 percent the Black vote, and feels he doesn’t “owe” African Americans anything. Even worse, Black leaders don’t demand anything from him.
This pulls back the cover on the so-called ‘conscience” of Congress. This race-based hypocrisy on the part of the CBC proves they have no conscience.
Raynard Jackson is president and CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.