Black Conservatives Chime in on Jobs Bill

Project 21 says jobs rhetoric from Obama and supporters is too “radical” to achieve common ground.

Posted: 10/19/2011 10:03 AM EDT
Project 21 says jobs rhetoric from Obama and supporters is too “radical” to achieve common ground.

President Obama has been dubbed “compromiser in chief” and has faced criticism from both sides of the political spectrum for his inability to adopt a hardline persona, but now, a group of conservative African-Americans says that the president needs to calm down his campaign to pass his jobs bill, because they say his “radical” stance is dividing the country.

Members of the conservative Project 21 Black leadership network have spoken out against the president's campaign to promote the American Jobs Act, charging Obama and his supporters with undermining bipartisan progress with divisive and radical rhetoric. In particular, the group cites Obama’s use of racial themes in his speeches, a tactic they feel divides the country and muddles the true nature of the issues at hand.

"The president's remarks are disgraceful and dangerous. At a time when so many Americans are mired in the failing agenda of the Obama administration, it is shameful to see the President peddling the divisiveness of race and class warfare," said Project 21 spokesman Jerome Hudson. "The president should be preaching a message of inspiration and American exceptionalism — not victimhood and racial antipathy."

Project 21 is an “initiative of The National Center for Public Policy Research to promote the views of African-Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility has not traditionally been echoed by the nation's civil rights establishment.” Project 21 says that its mantra of ”personal responsibility” is one that should lead the president’s agenda on jobs or any other social welfare issue.

"The behavior by Obama and his supporters is a slap in the face of the independents and conservatives such as Colin Powell who bought into Obama's purported message of hope and change in 2008 with no regard to what he looked like," said Project 21 spokesman Stacy Swimp. "Until there is a revolution of values in which citizens take personal responsibility for the conditions of their communities, things won't change no matter what the government does."

Project 21’s displeasure with Obama’s jobs talk isn’t the first sign of an African-American break with the Obama administration. Poll numbers released late summer showed that African-American approval of the president’s handling of the economy dipped considerably, despite garnering overwhelming support from African-Americans in the past.

Meanwhile, whatever the content of his message on jobs, the president is still having trouble getting Congress on board with a plan that will save Americans from the clutches of chronic joblessness. He now must contend with Senate Republicans who unveiled an alternate jobs proposal that they claim would create 5 million jobs after Obama’s original plan was unable to garner the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward. Now, the president will attempt spoon-feeding the bill to Congress in "bite-sized pieces” in efforts to make the proposal more palatable to opponents.

(Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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