Black Pundits Are Going Easy On President Obama

by Greg Pollowitz

So says Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post:

Because of the deep affection for the first black president, as Waters noted, constituents didn’t want to hear anything that remotely came close to criticizing Obama or his administration. It’s an emotional response, to be sure, especially when you recognize that those same folks agree with every knock on the president and the administration on policy grounds. But to criticize Obama was to ask for a beat-down. (Trust me, that threat extends to African American pundits who dare to say something negative.) This, in turn, caused black members of Congress to pull their punches or go mute on important issues for fear of riling up the folks back home who would view them as disloyal. Or as a friend put it to me yesterday, the relationship between Obama, black members of Congress and their constituents is like that of children of divorced parents. Congress is the mom. Their constituents are the kids. And Obama is the father who’s seen only once in a while. Mom won’t say anything bad about the father in front of the children because they’ll shout back: “Don’t talk bad about my father!”

All that changed at that in Detroit on Tuesday. The people shouting down Waters at that CBC town hall signaled an end to the idea that having policy disagreements with Obama and having love or admiration for Obama are mutually exclusive.

Here’s something for black pundits to consider: maybe staying silent for three years just because of the color of the president’s skin wasn’t the best strategy. And to those networks who employ/ed said black pundits who were, buy Capehart’s description, virtual cheerleaders for President Obama, I hope you feel you got what you paid for.

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