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Obama: Talking loud and saying nothing

PLENTY TO SAY: President Barack Obama

AS I watched the Democratic convention which took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was totally mesmerized. But not for the reasons you might think.

For starters, I am obliged to tip my hat to the Democrats. They put on one of the best, if not the best, convention nights I have ever seen in my 20 years of political consulting. The stagecraft was nothing short of miraculous. As a public relations executive, I found the messaging phenomenal. For anyone involved in my industry, this was like the Super Bowl of public relations.

Every speaker’s speech flowed right into Michelle Obama’s address, which was nothing short of spectacular. She gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard or seen. The opening night of the Democrats’ convention was everything the Republicans’ was not: staged wonderfully, exciting, thematic, and was great TV.

But what mesmerized me more than the production values was how oblivious the Democrats are to the state of things on planet Earth. I am tired of all the problems facing this country being put at the feet of George W. Bush and the Republicans.

Barack Obama has had three years to apply his remedies to all the problems facing America and the best he and the Democrats can do is continue to blame the GOP and a president who left office nearly four years ago? Have they forgotten that the Democrats had a veto-proof Senate and a majority in the House during Obama’s first two years in office? Republicans took over the House as a direct result of the voter’s disaffection with the President’s first two years in office.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Bush left us with about US$4 trillion in debt. Under Obama, that debt is now US$16 trillion. When Obama became President, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. Now it’s 8.3 percent. These are facts.

So, are Bush and the Republicans responsible for the quadrupling of the national debt or the White House’s inability to lower the unemployment rate?

Obama has proven to be a much better candidate than president. He would give Bill Clinton a run for the money when it comes to raw politics. Obama and his campaign team know how to pull on your emotions to the point that you become irrational.

But as an African American, I’m confounded as to why we continue to have blind loyalty to a President that has overseen an economy that is mired in a 15 percent black employment rate.

How can you vote for this President when there is no public record of him meeting with any prominent black businessmen? How can you vote for Obama after news broke in Politico earlier this year that his campaign was so short on black campaign workers that his field staff had to scramble to find “qualified blacks” for their get-out the vote effort?

DISSONANCE

The American electorate, especially blacks, is suffering from cognitive dissonance. In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the inability to see what you don’t believe.

I’m sure there are some who will say: Obama cares about us, but he can’t do anything specifically for blacks because whites will think he is trying to be President of Black America. But there are other core Democrat constituencies that have benefited from the President’s attention: the gay community received a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and a Presidential endorsement of gay marriage. (Time magazine went so far as to label Obama the first gay president). And another core constituency, Hispanics, have received similar Presidential attention: he has given them back-door amnesty. But for African Americans, he’s given us speeches.

So, let me make sure I understand this psychosis: if Obama ignores blacks in his first term because he doesn’t want to be viewed as a black President (though he is), that’s ok because if there is a second term, he will then pay attention to black voters because he then won’t mind being viewed as a black President?

I have a headache.

Raynard Jackson, a registered Republican and political consultant, is president and chief executive of Raynard Jackson & Associates, a Washington-based public relations firm.

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