Obamaland, Where Right Meets Center-Right

A Black Agenda Radio commentary

The First Black President just gave birth to an unmistakably Republican budget - and everybody knows who that ugly baby's daddy is. For the past two years, Barack Obama has been making out quite publicly with George Bush's corporate friends. But that shouldn't be a scandal; after all, Obama has always told everyone in range of his voice that his main goal in life is to forge a grand consensus with the GOP, a bipartisan understanding between the Right and the Center Right.

The result is an Obama budget that is all sliced up, like the loser in a knife fight - only, Obama and his corporate executives-on-loan at the White House did all the cutting, themselves. Obama is showing such extraordinary talent for obliterating poor and working class programs across the board, he's making Republicans look redundant and obsolete.

From community block grants to Section 8 housing vouchers to child care to Pell Grants to home heating oil for the poor, Obama has preemptively savaged all that decent people hold dear in the social safety net, and is in enthusiastic, principled agreement with the Republicans that the big cuts are still to come, in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Obama has arrived in his element, and he has nothing to be ashamed about. Way back on the campaign trail, he told everyone willing to listen how much he admired President Reagan. So, why be surprised when you get a Reagan-type budget?

No, the shame is not Obama's. The people who should be scandalized by the president's budget are the enablers on the Left who abrogated their political responsibility to the people - and to Truth - by inventing an Obama that did not exist, back in 2007 and 2008. The shame of the proposed 2012 budget rests on the heads of those Blacks and progressives in leadership positions who chose to mis-lead their constituencies in '07 and '08, who refused to make even one demand, or even a mild request of Obama, the candidate - and thus rendered Blacks and progressives politically irrelevant. As we at Black Agenda Report and honest analysts like Paul Street pointed out all along, Obama has always been a dangerous, corporate creature. But like the frog that allows the scorpion to hitch a ride on his back across the swollen river, Black and progressive misleaders act shocked and hurt when Obama stings them with his deadly budget halfway through his term. But the frog should have known the nature of a scorpion. Obama's corporate character was no secret to anyone except those who wished not to know.

Despite being dazzled by Obama's skin color and charm, there is still a consensus among Black Americans on issues of social justice. With his draconian cuts, President Obama is violating that consensus so sharply, it cannot be papered over for the sake of racial pride. We were pleased to learn that Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has dramatically distanced himself from Obama's budget priorities. The heads of traditional Black organizations would be wise to do the same. African Americans are watching their Obama-dreams turn into nightmares. Sometime soon, they will demand an accounting from those who misled them into the lair of the scorpion.