It’s Day Two of President Obama’s economic bus tour.
President Obama and members of the White House Rural Council will attend a rural economic forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, where Obama will deliver remarks.
The president will unveil a new jobs initiative for rural America. In a statement, Obama said:
These are tough times for a lot of Americans – including those who live in our rural communities. That’s why my administration has put a special focus on helping rural families find jobs, grow their businesses, and regain a sense of economic security.
But what about those who live in urban communities? Where is the special focus on helping urban families?
The lack of administration attention to the jobless crisis in black urban America is fueling a black family feud.
Longtime journalist William Reed writes:
“Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are doing a so-called poverty bus tour under the guise of highlighting that issue … check their records [and] you will see that they have done a lot of poverty-pimping through book sales, TV appearances, speaking fees and promoting the ‘woe is me mindset’… this has been their hustle for a long time.’’ That’s Steve Harvey’s rant in the most recent round of Black American disc jockeys and broadcasters’ battle to brook no criticism of Barack Hussein Obama.
Conscientious Black Americans would do well to compare Harvey’s rhetoric to Obama’s results as president before arbitrarily choosing sides in this public spat. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are being pilloried and made out to be “pariahs” by Black jocks because they’ve made negative comments about Obama’s presidential performance. But Black American DJs seem to be dodging the fact that America’s economy is in free-fall; the country’s deficits, debt and government spending are at a record high, and our credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history. In spite of these obvious presidential shortcomings, Urban Contemporary broadcasters continue “praising Caesar” and pummeling his critics. As other American groups lament America’s economic plight, Black Americans, whose lifestyles and conditions are the worst of all, still defend Obama’s lackluster job performance.
Similarly, Newsweek reports:
Never mind the slings and arrows of Tea Partiers. The most politically problematic criticism of Obama these days is coming from his base. And there’s no question that there is a deep reservoir of frustration, confusion, and even rage among many in the African-American community for [Cornel] West to tap into. With unemployment hovering near 17 percent for African-Americans (the national average rate is 9 percent) and 11 percent of black homeowners facing imminent foreclosure, African-Americans have ample reason for anxiety about the coming budget cuts that Obama reluctantly signed into law this month. The Congressional Black Caucus chairman called the recent debt deal “a sugar-coated satan sandwich” that will do little to help communities already struggling.
West and his longtime friend, radio host Tavis Smiley, have taken their criticism of Obama to the streets, launching a two-week, 15-city “poverty tour,” aimed at forcing the powers that be to once again focus on the “least among us” and getting the president to “wake up.” Their efforts are increasingly stoking fears among some African-American leaders that West and Smiley could discourage black voters from turning out when the nation’s first African-American president stands for reelection in 2012.
Read more: The Black War Over Obama
UPDATE: At a breakfast with small business owners, President Obama announced his new jobs initiatives for rural America.