The Corner

Does Obama Take the Black Vote for Granted?

Reverend William Owens of the Coalition of African-American Pastors says “yes.” (His website has a petition that black voters and allies can sign calling on President Obama to evolve again on gay marriage.)

From CNN:

Rev. William Owens is president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a group that has been openly critical of the president.

“He can have the gay pride celebration in the White House, he can have Lady Gaga in the White House, and he’s in the White House today because of the civil rights movement and the price that was paid for civil rights,” Owens reportedly told McClatchy Newspapers. “He has met with the Latinos; he meets with everything except for the people who put him where he is.”

That’s not entirely true.

The president has and does meet with African-American leaders. Later this month, he will speak to the National Urban League, a business-minded civil rights organization.

Still, political experts understand the criticism.

“Black voters support him fervently. . . . And quite frankly, unlike the other constituencies, black voters, black advocates haven’t asked the president — at least publicly — to do anything,” Harris said.

“The crucial difference, compared to the gay and lesbian community and the Latino community is that they have pushed the president on issues they think are important,” Harris said. “And the African-American community has, in many ways, focused on protecting the president from the right wing rather than pressuring him into action around issues that are particular to their community.

“[The other groups] have kept the president’s feet to the fire on things he’s promised; black leaders and black voters haven’t done that. And so that allows the president or the campaign to not view black voters as a top priority.”


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