Your morning jolt: A ‘small depression’ among black voters could devastate Obama, says Atlanta mayor

Polls out today, including one from the Washington Post and ABC News, show President Barack Obama in dire re-election circumstances.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, according to the Post/ABC survey:

The sense of deflation is particularly apparent among Democrats, with nearly two-thirds saying things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track. The percentage of Democrats saying things are headed in the right direction has cratered from 60 percent at the start of the year to 32 percent now.

Among those trying to stem any panic – and tamp down criticism from Obama’s left – is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. From an interview last week with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, on the topic of African-American disaffection:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Said Reed:

”We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president because of the historical nature of his presidency to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people.

“But I hope that that’s a political trap the president won’t walk into.

“If the president were to start speaking directly to African-Americans about what he’s doing for them, what he has done for them, as the first African-American president, that during a general election campaign, that could have very adverse results. And I believe that black people understand that….

“I’d also like to talk to my friends in my own community who are raising these issues, to make the point that if you weaken President Obama in the black community, you seriously hamper his chances of being re-elected. A small depression among the African-American electorate could be devastating for this president, and I think that black people understand that.

“And I’d also like folks on the other side of this conversation to tell me who the alternative is that’s going to do such a better job for black people. Will it be Michele Bachmann? Will it be Mitt Romney? Will it be Rick Perry?

“Are those the individuals who are going to feel so much more deeply about the African-American people? So it’s time to start having a conversation when we compare the policies of President Obama to the alternatives. We’ve been comparing this president to the Almighty long enough.”

***
Both Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston will show up this weekend at a coastal gathering of the Legislative Black Caucus, reports Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News. However, Peterson says the governor and the speaker will be gone by the time African-American lawmakers take up the recent redistricting session – a hot topic among Democrats.

***
Also in the Savannah Morning News today is an op-ed piece in which U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who was drawn out of his district during the special session of the Legislature, discovers a new phrase for ruling Republicans in the state Capitol:

In town hall meeting after town hall meeting, folks all across our state told the Atlanta powerbrokers that they wanted to see legislative and congressional districts that made more sense. You told them that you wanted new districts that were drawn clearer, with understandable lines that kept communities together and prioritized local concerns.

Well, it doesn’t take a political scientist to see that these requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Instead of listening to you, the Atlanta legislators used their computers to draw maps based on the best political outcome for them. It’s no excuse that the other side did it when they were in power, because at the end of the day, it’s the American people who suffer from this ongoing game. Instead of districts that represent communities as a whole, we have districts that represent the extremes of both political parties.

***
A last vestige of the administration of Gov. Sonny Perdue is headed for the scrap heap, notes Walter Jones of Morris News Service:

It was called the 65 Percent Solution because it required local school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budget on classroom instruction.

At the time Perdue borrowed the idea from the founder of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, the average Peach State district allocated 63.3 percent to the classroom.

Conservatives liked the idea because it was a way for them to support increased classroom spending — to rise to 65 percent — while not boosting taxes. It seemed the only detractors would be administrators who would be forced to defend bureaucratic overhead.

It was one of the few specific proposals Perdue campaigned on, and when he won handily, the General Assembly passed it into law.

Now, a panel of lawmakers and educators has voted unanimously … to abolish the spending minimum. Even the lawmakers who had originally voted for Perdue’s 65 Percent Solution wound up supporting its repeal.

Of Georgia’s 180 school systems, only 56 met the requirement, while just 14 percent earned exemption because of superior student performance. The rest of the districts enjoyed annual waivers from the State Board of Education.

The panel that recommended dumping the 65 percent solution is a subcommittee of a commission making revisions to the state’s formula for funding public education. The subcommittee was chaired by State School Superintendent John Barge, whose 2010 GOP campaign for the nomination wasn’t supported by the exiting Perdue.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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59 comments Add your comment

left/right, i care

September 6th, 2011
10:04 am

you have covered so much… i am only commenting on Reed’s statement right now: the President is AA, mixed, whatever. he is not the saviour of the AA race. he is responsible for the country as a whole. it is not enough that repubs are making this a contest based upon color? the dems do not need to do the same. if you are voting for Obama because of his color, you are voting for him for the wrong reason.

Conyers Guy

September 6th, 2011
10:14 am

I must also say that if you are not voting for Obama because of his color, you are not voting for him for the wrong reason.

eatmotacos

September 6th, 2011
10:20 am

The African American vote is becoming less and less relevant as they migrate South. They are moving from states where their votes count to states where their votes are lost in a sea of ultra conservatives. Look at Ga., SC, Al, for example, where the electoral college system will award all of their votes to the Republican candidate.

findog

September 6th, 2011
10:28 am

The President’s numbers look bad only because he is being compared to some knight that is all things to his detractors; once he has an opponent with actual proposals to solve our problems he will look much better.

left/right, i care

September 6th, 2011
10:32 am

exactly, tacos. one would be surprised as to how many non AA’s voted the President in and will vote for him again. sometimes things do come down to straight politics: dems vs repubs

Fed Up!!!!

September 6th, 2011
10:33 am

I’m an African American male living in Atlanta. I’m well versed on economic and politcial issues. Elected officials at any level are stewards of our tax dollars only! We are responsible for taking care of our own interests. Until we stop waiting for politicans to “do for us” we will continue to be left behind. Wake up people!!! If, collectively, we are unhappy with the job being done. Let’s hire someone else. When you are “doing for yourself” and not looking to political leaders to change your condition the world looks alot different. Keep it in persepctive….

Centrist

September 6th, 2011
10:35 am

The administrative portion of education has blown itself up layers of bureaucracy which will never be undone. This is more about jobs, salaries, and perks than about education.

Captain Midnight

September 6th, 2011
10:37 am

Obama is under qualified. Blacks voted for him 100%. He will still be under qualified in 2012 and blacks will vote for him 100%. That’s a given. What he wont have is the support of the independents that fell for the hope/change gimmick in 08′. Independents decide elections. America elected a black guy President, Yay, been there,done that. Now it’s time to get back to business and an under qualified candidate (incumbent or otherwise) will not be elected or re-elected President.
Play time is over.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

September 6th, 2011
10:37 am

I see a growing parallel between LBJ and 60’s civil rights legislation and Obama’s Presidency.

In the 60’s, there was an intial sense of elation and relief at the enactment of the civil rights legislation, but it gradually changed in tone and in ‘leadership’. MLK (nonviolence) was supplanted by Malcom X (black power and supremecy).

Civil Rights Legislation – which is, in effect, legalized discrimination of a sort – not only against individuals but also entire states (e.g. Voting Rights Act) – has alienated non-blacks and driven what was overt discrimination into covert and whispered discrimination.

End result – the Civil Rights Legislation was not the 2nd coming of the Saviour after all, and the realization angered many in the black community.

Fast forward to the Obama administration. Initial reaction is elation and relief. Just like Clayton County a few years ago – “Now It’s Our Turn”. But the gradual realization that Obama is not the 2nd coming of the Saviour is a bitter pill to swallow. One can blame Bush, blame the fates, blame the evil republcans and evil rich corporations, but to no avail.

In the 60’s – the progression was…elation…reality…frustration…anger.

In current times – elation…reality…frustration…anger.

One could argue that Obama’s long term popularity might well be served better by being defeated. He could then embark upon a life long world tour as the “victim” of all that is non-black and evil in the world. If, on the other hand, he wins….what will the black community do when the realization keeps deepening that the existence of one of their own as President doesn’t solve all of their problems overnight?

Who cares...

September 6th, 2011
10:37 am

…Reed on thin ice himself. Neither party is doing all that well right now. The only body doing worse than the POTUS is Congress. Maybe a change would be good? I voted Obama, but will probably change my vote in 2012 if things don’t improve soon.

td

September 6th, 2011
10:54 am

It is not the AA’s that elected Obama. They will come out again and vote for him around 96% again. It is the white suburban married women that put him in office and this same group will either re elect him or throw him out of office next year.

pn

September 6th, 2011
10:56 am

I believe that Obama’s nature is to be pragmatic and moderate, and to try to solve problems and find reasonable compromise if at all possible. Yet it is impossible to compromise with terrorists, bullies and anarchists, and he seems know that, and is now constantly backing down and ceding ground to the extreme right crazies.. There has got to be a reasonable explanation for his retreat from all the things he stood for. I now believe that the far right is capable of anything, and has probably conveyed to him that if he doesn’t cooperate and cave to their agenda he will be in dire jeopardy. I hope I am wrong.

TSA on the way to second base

September 6th, 2011
11:00 am

there is a great divide in our country; those who believe food stamps help the economy and those that believe private sector jobs are better

it seems whomever is advising the president on the economy has not a clue…

to solve our economic woes is really very simple: GROW the economy starting with the energy sector (guess how Texas is doing it); couple drilling new oil sources with better fuel efficent cars/trucks; reduce our dependence on overseas oil will have two effects; our markets go up, and those that are using OUR money to arm themselves go down (iran , etc…)

freeze government spending return to a clinton era budget;

taxes; close some coporate loopholes so GE pays a little tax on the billions they earn; national 1% sales tax

wow easy stuff but seems DC cant get anything right

carla roqs

September 6th, 2011
11:04 am

i hope not as well @pn. he is not making anyone happy right now. @td– do not forget his dems that are in office and trying to keep their offices as well as those who are running for new spots– those politicians are preaching a “one ticket” theory to their bases: vote a straight dem ticket, everyone wins. do not think it is just white sub women, some white movers and shakers are in agreement as well.

td

September 6th, 2011
11:07 am

pn

September 6th, 2011
10:56 am

How can a person with the highest progressive voting record in the US Senate be considered “pragmatic and moderate”? It is the radical left that passed “Obama care” in the middle of the night making up their own rules. Now tell us again how the conservatives are the problem?

BIg Hat

September 6th, 2011
11:09 am

“That’s a given.” Nothing’s a given in politics or anything else in life, except those who are prone to say “That’s a given.”

findog

September 6th, 2011
11:10 am

CM, candidate Obama did not get 100% of the AA vote, could have been a butterfly ballot issue I don’t pretend to know why, he did not get any votes from the last vestiges of the triple-k, unless there was a similar confusion with a ballot

td

September 6th, 2011
11:12 am

carla roqs

September 6th, 2011
11:04 am

“some white movers and shakers are in agreement as well.”

You are absolutely correct. Those are the White liberal plantation owners that have convinced the African Americans to stay on the plantation and work for their cause for scraps since the 60’s. These are the true evil ones in society. I will never forget about them.

findog

September 6th, 2011
11:17 am

td, they passed that legislation based on the rules that all legislation is passed on; the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 however were passed using special rules that only required a simple majority in the senate, with the VP casting a tie-breaking vote in 2003. Now go ahead and say the candidate Obama promised to bring bipartisanship to DC; but if one side plays defense for political gain that can’t happen, just like candidate Bachman claiming she will make gas prices drop below $2 – unless China completely stops burning oil it ain’t gonna happen

Captain Midnight

September 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Blg Hat, Obama’s approval rating among blacks is still over 90%. Yes, I’d say unanimous support among blacks for their savior is a “given”. Maybe 100% was an overstatement but black folks are gonna be behind their guy lock step. @ Gov Maddox, good post.

Eli

September 6th, 2011
11:44 am

I am curious when people will start remembering that the President does not control the economy.

Another interesting bit of information, probably more important in terms of the presidential election next year, is that most Americans blame the current economic problems on Obama’s predecessor. While the 2012 election will likely be another “Its the Economy, Stupid” theme…while the President’s approval on the economy is not good, it may be better than the GOP nominee’s, regardless of whether it is Rick Perry or Mitt Romney.

Rick Perry is politically too divisive to win several of the socially liberal/libertarian battle ground states, whereas Romney probably can not win Ohio, Michigan or Pennsylvania given his strong opposition to the Auto-Industry Bailouts (which saved upwards of 2million jobs in those states) and Romney’s private sector history of mass layoffs in those states (downsizing and outsourcing brought to you by Bain Capital LLC).

As far as Mayor Reed’s remarks, those states with the largest African-American populations (the South) will not award their electoral votes to any candidates with a (D) next to their name. It does not matter if Obama polls at 45% or 10%, he receives 0 electoral votes either way.

carla roqs

September 6th, 2011
11:47 am

tell them again, eli.

jimmy Kayj

September 6th, 2011
11:48 am

Obama is a terrible president, unless of course you are the president of a too big too fail bank or other large corporation like AIG or General Motors, then of course Obama is your go to guy and is probably the best president we have ever had.

It’s all a matter of perspective, if you are not a corporation, you probably don’t like Obama, and Obama probably doesn’t like you and will act accordingly. Obama is a corporate tool, he realizes corporations own the means of production, the capital, and the justice system and therefore they are truly the owners of the country and the rightful persons he should represent.

If you are black and own a corporation, Obama will help you, he is not a racist or a marxist or a communist, he is a corporatist. Obama is bent on giving the country back to its true owners, the corporations and the robber barons who own them.

If only J.Paul Getty and John D. Rockefeller were alive to enjoy this spirit, this entitlement, this magnificient moment in our glorious national history. This gutting of America as it is divvied up among the truly wealthy and powerful.

Mr Chips

September 6th, 2011
11:57 am

It’s the economy, bro. The Bush gambit in Iraq has strangled our growth with the weeds of debt as all Democrats predicted and warned that it would. Obama inherited and then, in a vain bipartisan attempt to lead, perpetuated that same Bush Economy. If inflation rears it’s ugly head now, we’re finished. Pray people. Pray against the demonic inflationary cycle. Is captialism itself to blame for our human suffering? Maybe. Think about this.

A buffalo can manufacture sustenance for a population of low-tech nomadic earthers simply by being buffalos. Capitalism can manufacture sustenance for a population of high-tech stay-put polluters simply by disquising itself as a flag or as a hard-won byproduct of a nation’s particularly-pleasing founding poetry. Lets compare the buffallo to capitalism’s work-ox, the car.

Capitalism has had one hundred solid years to perfect the car. The car remains imperfect. Why? Because capitalism doesn’t see the car’s mission as providing transportation to the masses. Instead, capitalism sees the car as a profit center. Look at the car, one hundred years in: an unreliable, polluting death-trap that is barely superior to the horse drawn carriage. Top-heavy and thus prone to roll over. Uncomfortable, noisy and hard to steer. the idea of the wheel was invented by the fourth engineer from the left on the evolutionary chart, man. Lets take another look at the wheel. Is it really a geometric dictate?

Or is the wheel the wrong footing upon which to build a transport? I say the wheel blows. We need another geometry-free solution to the point of contact between the surface of the earth and the transporting vehicle. Just because the buffalo has four legs doesn’t mean the car should have four wheels. Does it? The road noise that accompanies all car riding experiences is dulling mankinds’ existence, man. We’re turning into stupified zombies ignorant of the mission we inherit as a species when we are born. We have to turn the radio up so loud to get our rock buzz fix that we have no chance at the meditative state we need to be in to enact our earthly destinies as spirtual beings.

Capitalism, then, is the devil himself. Communism is the devil’s angel, serving as the lesser of two evils. Like we’re supposed to believe that there are only two paths a socio-economic military regime can take.

Morons…….ALL!!!

JSH

September 6th, 2011
12:19 pm

I thought Obama was one-half white. What about us?

Jimmy62

September 6th, 2011
12:21 pm

I love the racism inherent in both this column and many of the comments. Basically many of y’all are implying that black Americans are too stupid or ignorant to vote for Obama because they are all being tricked by those evil Republicans. I prefer to think they are intelligent people who have seen through Obama’s facade to the empty suit underneath, and unlike their patrons and protectors in the media, they’d rather vote for someone who would make a good President rather than vote for someone just because they are black.

findog

September 6th, 2011
12:26 pm

jimmy, dude too big to fail was the last administration, keeping the auto industry as a whole viable is the current management. Hating the help to union labor out of Detroit blinds many to the fact that most of the jobs saved at support companies, and southern manufacturing plants that rely on them, are non-union.

GaBlue

September 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

Mr. Chips @ 11:57,

Hear, hear! Nicely explained, Sir.

left, right? i care

September 6th, 2011
12:30 pm

Mr Chips September 6th, 2011, 11:57 am—-ummmm, ummmmmm, ummmmm, you are a politician arent you? not too many other people can spout off what you just did.

Cammi317

September 6th, 2011
12:31 pm

People across all walks of life are unemployed at the moment, so I don’t know why he felt the need to single out African-Americans. African-Americans make up 13% of the overall population and a lesser amount of the voting population in this country. Our votes did not make or break Obama in the last election.

This African-American voter is not depressed. My financial situation has remained stable and I am still employed in the same capacity as I was prior to Obama being elected. I am thankful everyday. If people were foolish enough to believe that because Obama was being elected they were going to be handed “40 acres and a mule,” I guess when reality kicked in they became depressed.

Kasim Reed is an idiot. It is people like him who keep African Americans down by further perpetuating false hopes of hand outs and reparations. It is not going to happen, so let’s move on. Hardwork and perserverence is the only way that any of us are going to get anywhere.

findog

September 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Think of what destroyed the USSR, unrestrained military spending without a tax base to support and limit Stalin’s plans
Think of what destroyed our economy, two wars accompanied by tax cuts and no shared sacrifice
Who’s the communist now?

honested

September 6th, 2011
12:54 pm

It is time for the President to stare down the teapotties in the House.
Even if they win in more meaningless votes, he will have accomplished some small victory in pointing out he is attempting to do that for which he was elected.
Pretending bush-league policies would work was not why he was elected.

left, right? i care

September 6th, 2011
12:55 pm

@ cammi- ‘i want whats mine’, ‘why doesnt the President look out more for AA’s’ ? etc, etc, etc. you have the right idea: go to work, be thankful for your job and pray that others will get one, just not yours. then end.

Marlboro Man

September 6th, 2011
12:58 pm

The republicans will do anything to rid themselves of the president.

honested

September 6th, 2011
1:07 pm

findog,

Nail on the head!

JD

September 6th, 2011
1:44 pm

I do not know what the GOP wants. They go out and claim that the President’s high tax policies are preventing hiring…but taxes under the Obama administration are actually lower than under GW Bush.

Have they stepped back and looked at the market data? The economy has grown over the last 2 years (albeit slowly), corporate profits are hitting record highs, but unemployment is still at 9.1%. Perhaps it is time to consider the fact that corporate America over speculated the job market and the natural unemployment rate is somewhere between 8% and 11%.

Economic markets and political markets are two different things. Economic markets only want: money/profits. Political Markets want other things…like low unemployment and affordable healthcare.

Personally, I do not want to live in the conservative America where my rights will be dictated by quarterly profit statements. I want to live in the Liberal America where I have the Constitutional Rights we have enjoyed for centuries.

jodie heard

September 6th, 2011
1:46 pm

It doesn’t make a difference who is or would had been the President of U.S. Economy is bad and thats not President Obama fought! The President is doing his BEST!! The President is not JESUS OR THE LORD and thats the only way this could had been corrected!

Chip in N Ga

September 6th, 2011
1:51 pm

“And I’d also like folks on the other side of this conversation to tell me who the alternative is that’s going to do such a better job for black people…. Are those the individuals who are going to feel so much more deeply about the African-American people?”

Mayor Reed is a blatant racist. Sorry, folks, but the election isn’t about which candidate is going to give more of Uncle Sugar’s goodies to black people… it’s about which candidate is going to help make America work for ALL Americans, REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR.

How absolutely unbelievable that the Mayor of Atlanta can make such incredibly racist statements and not be called out on it. How unbelievable that the Mayor can showcase the very entitlement mentality that has almost destroyed this country (and may yet do so.)

But, I guess for some, it’s all about “gettin’ back at Whitey.” How sad.

TP4U

September 6th, 2011
2:01 pm

I listened to Sarah Palin in Iowa yesterday tell the tea party folks that America’s solutions to our challenges should come from them. She said “the solutions should come from you.” That tells me she has no solutions to offer–just more rhetoric. The entire speech were stringed together superficial rantings. The right wing candidates have no solutions–just NO to Obama. Palin may not be a candidate now, and quite frankly doesn’t have to because she already has national exposure. The other GOP candidates don’t have the visibility and name recognition Palin enjoys. Nonetheless, Reed is right. The alternatives are just too scary. Finally, I don’t care who doesn’t like my commentary!!!!

  

September 6th, 2011
2:02 pm

I believe that Obama’s nature is to be pragmatic and moderate, and to try to solve problems and find reasonable compromise if at all possible.

You believe wrong.

That’s the biggest bunch of gobbeldygook I’ve ever read.

Obama is hardly being “intimidated” by “radicals or terrorists” as you implied.

If you could stop hallucinating for a moment, perhaps you’d realize that sometimes a person simply is not doing a good job.

Class dismissed.

  

September 6th, 2011
2:05 pm

The President is doing his BEST!!

If that’s his best, I’d hate to see his worst.

Ga Values

September 6th, 2011
2:14 pm

Kasim Reed just took care of the Jackson Family’s finacial interest by having the airport bids cancelled. Got to take care of the people that bought the election for you. I’ll be voting NO for the TSPLOST, Reed & the Jackson Family are skimming enough out of the air port.

findog

September 6th, 2011
2:22 pm

” ” who are you?
hard to debate an enigma
unless you’re a communist plant…

findog

September 6th, 2011
2:40 pm

must be watching the race

November 6, 2012

September 6th, 2011
3:38 pm

I could stand a little devastation :)

joe

September 6th, 2011
4:15 pm

Well said, Cammi…kudos.

honested

September 6th, 2011
4:20 pm

JD

Agreed. Life is about being a well rounded healthy person, not a slave to a bad economic theory.

Rock'yell

September 6th, 2011
4:30 pm

”We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president because of the historical nature of his presidency to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people.”

That’s code for ‘he is too paragmatic and he doesn’t seem interested in creating new federal welfare programs for us’. Article in yesterday’s AJC pointed out that the unions are starting to bail on Mr. Obama also.

I have thought since the last presidential campaign, and still do, that BHO is nowhere near the lib idealogue many on the right (and left) believed him to be.

shindig in Sandy springs

September 6th, 2011
5:51 pm

BHO has come face to face with the problem MANY naive, unexperienced, and unqualified “politicians” have faced before. Now that he’s gotten the ultimate prize (voted into office) he can’t do the things he really beleives in because those who got him into office demand that he protect their interests! He naively thought that he could outsmart the very people who put him into office. The player got played! Whether his “actual” hope, change, and big ideas were any good or not is irrelevant…..he isn’t able to implement them! He wasn’t able to figure this fact out before he got into office…..so based on that major “fail” – I have to assume his ideas for hope and change were likely short sighted failures as well. Race aside, as it should be, he hasn’t done much to improve ANYONE’S situation since being in office, especially his own. His term is simply BAD POLITICAL BUSINESS AS USUAL. Politicians and lobbyists WIN….you and I lose!

American Patriot

September 6th, 2011
6:02 pm

The President is there to represent all Americans,not just blacks. Why is K Reed making this a race issue. MLK would be rolling over in his grave.