It seems incredible that only one in three white voters approves of President Obama’s performance.Or is it? From Konrad Yakabuski:
The President’s overall approval rating has been boosted by overwhelming support from black Americans. Only one in three white voters approves of his performance. Hence, they’re getting all the attention. “We don’t put pressure on the President because y’all love the President,” Ms. Waters told the audience in Detroit (a city that’s 82 per cent black). “We’re supportive of the President, but we’re all getting tired.”
The first black president seems to go out of his way to avoid being a champion of the race he checked off as his own on his 2010 census form. In decades hence, historians and biographers will delve into Mr. Obama’s complicated personality and personal history to explain his cool cucumber shtick. But his failure to show that he feels the pain of black America is a missed opportunity for him, and the country….
Interestingly, his visit to Whiteside County was marked by a speech on a farm claimed to be worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting. The President’s film crews were busy shooting footage of a rural paradise of end of summer Americana for campaign ads. The metaphor with Rockwell is a crucial one; Rockwell’s figures are sociable, warm and welcoming and Rockwell placed himself square in the center of middle American values, the insider of a large audience alienated by other art currents of the day. However, Rockwell’s paintings defy simple deduction. They are darker and given to multiple interpretations; more so than the viewers themselves are ready to admit.
Rockwell’s world does not deny or try to conceal poverty or the problems of the elderly or young, but, its a world that is reassuring and comfortable in that it conveys a sense that things are not as bad as they appear. Contemporaries of Rockwell such as Hopper, painted the opposite, almost a dystopic culture buried under a disatisfaction of modern life with a sense of perplexing disquiet for the viewer. Its normal that Obama’s political operators like David Axelrod should try to invoke Rockwell with Obama among white voters. Call it a bit of a whitewash since the innocence of Rockwell implies innocence as a choice not to know something, -fitting into the vague promises of political rhetoric- since the choice must be based on some intuitive basis,or understanding we already comprehend.
This is the Obama Heartland strategy: Innocence as a pretense of ignorance,to be pardoned in so “human” a President. Ultimately, this innocence is staged, choreographed, not so much for others as does inform ourselves. So, the 2012 campaign is shaping up to be a battle over innocence. And innocence, as we can conclude is created through a process of disavowal which is an unwillingness to own up to or acknowledge what one already understands, or thinks or desires. All the pretenders to the throne are operating on the manipulation of disavowal: a refusal to acknowledge those things of darkness that are ours. Or, perhaps they are simply in the grip of forces they do not understand.
…Black Americans have suffered disproportionately from the Great Recession. The net worth of the median black household shrank by half, to a dismal $5,677, between 2005 and 2009. The median white household, while down 16 per cent, is now 20 times wealthier. Indeed, on almost every data point, blacks as a group are losing ground relative to whites, while inequality among blacks increases….
Life expectancy in Mississippi’s Holmes County, which is 83 per cent black, is 15 years lower than in the white and Asian enclave of Virginia’s Fairfax County, outside Washington. Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/the-pain-of-black-america-just-got-worse/article2135640/
How would you summarize the presidency of Barack Obama as of now? Is he doing fine?
Noam Chomsky: Obama is a man of absolutely no principles. He has two constituencies. One of them is the popular constituency, the people who voted for him. For them he is doing essentially nothing. He has another constituency: the people who financed his campaign, the financial institutions. And they are getting rewarded. Obama came in the middle of the financial crisis so the first issue was what to do with the economic crisis? Well, he put together an economic team to deal with it but take a look at them….
…The business press went through the appointments and pointed out that these people should be getting subpoenas and should not be fixing the economy. They are the people who wrecked it. Nevertheless, they were picked by Obama to put bandages on it. I can go through the individuals if you like, for example Robert Rubin crew. They basically rescued the financial institutions, something that had to be done, but in fact they are now richer and more powerful than they were before. In the last weeks, Obama was attacking federal workers and imposed tax increase on them by freezing their salaries. Read More:http://europeancourier.org/test/2011/03/13/noam-chomsky-on-obamas-presidency/
Our president fears that if he appeals too strongly to the narratives of inclusion, hope and redemption he will lose even more of the conservative white vote. He is forgetting that voters are fearful-hopeful hybrids who love nothing so much as a good story. Present the corporate community as a brave band of risk taking, job-creating, entrepreneurs and Americans will cut their taxes even if it leads to the financial meltdown we are confronting today. Paint that same community as pampered, self-centered opportunists and voters will demand they pay their fair share. In fact, most Americans respond positively to both stories; it’s just a matter of which story is being told most often and with the greatest passion. Read More:http://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/obamas-problem-with-white-folks/a