Misinformed pundits; misinformed public
The pundits couldn’t be more wrong about President Barack Obama’s standing with the American people, the Kansas City Branch of the NAACP was told at its Freedom Fund Banquet.
Les Payne, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, explained to the audience of hundreds of people at the Westin Crown Center Hotel that Obama when running for president in 2008 could not convince the majority of white America to vote for him. Polls are showing that 55 percent of the public disapproves of Obama’s performance as president, said Payne, who has retired as a columnist and manager at Newsday and is finishing a book on Malcolm X.
The news media and pundits report that represents slippage in Obama’s popularity. Payne, a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, responded, however, that so-called drop is about the same percentage of people in this country who could never accept a black man in the Oval Office running the country.
“It’s not the tea party,” said Payne, who met recently with Obama in a White House meeting with the Trotter Group of black columnists. “It’s white America.
“It’s cement. Nothing has changed. Nothing.”
This core is more than a little afraid and angry about the loss of their elective power, Payne said at the 43rd Annual Freedom Fund luncheon of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Payne said that the good news in Obama’s election and the hope for the midterm election on Tuesday is that young whites supported Obama and the change the president has been able to forge.
Payne told me that Obama said he thought he had accomplished about 70 percent of what he had hoped to do in his first two years in office. That has included health care reform and financial reform.
Obama has revived the economy, gotten millions of Americans back to work, brought the war in Iraq to a near close and put the war in Afghanistan on a better path. Obama is rebuilding the infrastructure of the country.
None of it is minor in this economy. But the Republicans, the tea party crowd and others who don’t accept Obama’s leadership are working up public anger and fear with their negative spin on Obama’s progress. Payne said he saw hope in the younger generation of Americans. They just have to vote on Tuesday.