President Barack Obama is running for a second term on the strength of his health care reform, his foreign policy initiatives, job creation, the auto industry bailout, banking industry reform and passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Among many African Americans, his healthcare reform was the signature accomplishment of his administration—providing care at a lower cost; allowing children to remain covered on their parents’ insurance plans up to the age of 26; and covering people with preexisting conditions.
On foreign policy, Obama gets high points for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, setting a timetable for the troop drawdown in Afghanistan and for tracking down and killing the elusive coward and Sept. 11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.
Obama says he needs another term to fulfill the promises of his first campaign. He says his efforts to elicit change were crippled by the blinding debt and other problems he inherited from George W. Bush—the wars in the Middle East and what he characterized in the Oct. 22 debate as “record deficits and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Obama says he will:
• continue to focus on education, ensuring that every student with a desire to go to college has the opportunity to do so;
• continue to continue to focus on education, ensuring that every student with a desire to go to college has the opportunity push for education reform in primary and secondary education that will ensure that our young people are prepared to succeed in college once they get there;
• continue to insist that the wealthiest among our nation’s citizens “do a little more” and will push to bring back to America the manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas;
• drive down energy costs by taking advantage of domestic sources like oil and natural gas. He supports offshore drilling done responsibly;
• as stated in the October 22nd debate, “maintain the strongest military in the world…and go after those who would do us harm,”while whittling away at waste in military spending; and
• continue to support our nation’s veterans and troops by, among other things, working with the private sector to urge businesses to hire them, a program he started in his first administration.
We are not surprised that Obama hasn’t fulfilled a number of his 2008 promises. The mountain of uncooperative, disrespectful—at times insulting– tactics, schemes etc., he has been subjected to, almost since the inception of his term, exceeds anything any other President in recent memory has had to endure. The frequency of these incidences make it clear that the mere presence of this Black man as the head of this American government has been a clear source of irritation to many (mostly in the Republican Party) on Capitol Hill.
We recognize that once re-elected, this environment will not likely change—at least immediately. However, we believe that a 2nd term itself will be a mandate that it is his vision and actions the American people support as opposed to those championed by the intractable conservative Republican blockade currently in Congress.
While Obama has been criticized by some African Americans for not moving faster to address our concerns—the staggering 14 percent Black unemployment rate, to name one—we believe him to be more sensitive to these issues. We realize that in spite of his hands being congressionally tied in addressing our community’s specific issues, Obama nevertheless represents a far better chance for these concerns to be addressed then would be the case were Britt Romney our President.
It is for all the above reasons the AFRO overwhelmingly endorses Barack H. Obama to be the clear choice for President of the United States.
Following his re-election, we encourage President Obama to quickly move to:
• address the Black unemployment rate;
• continue to empower the Department of Justice to seek out and prosecute those who would tamper with voting rights;
• work with the Department of Education to demand that states fund educational systems proportionately and shut down efforts to close off close off educational opportunities for college-bound minority student by whacking away at race-minority based scholarships and set asides which even the playing field; and
• work to reduce the deficit.