The new book Double Down: Game Change 2012 claims President Barack Obama does not have “patience” for what his advisors say he calls “professional blacks.” The book also says Obama dislikes the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) as much as he despises the Tea Party movement.
“Obama had little patience for the ‘professional left,’ and vanishingly close to zero for what one of his senior African American aides, Michael Strautmanis, referred to as ‘professional blacks’ (as opposed to black professionals),” authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann wrote on page 39 of the book. “Apart from Georgia congressman Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Obama had nearly as much contempt for the CBC as he did for the Tea Party Caucus.”
“New York’s Charlie Rangel he derided as a hack; Jesse Jackson Sr. was effectively banned from the White House,” according to the authors. “Obama remembered all too well a conversation with [Cornel] West in 2009, in which the professor used the precious time to complain about his seating at the inauguration.”
The passage comes in a section that details the aftermath of the 2011 Budget Control Act. The debt ceiling grand bargain reached with House Speaker John Boehner ultimately resulted in the sequester. The time frame was during the summer of 2011, as Obama’s re-election campaign began to heat up and as Mitt Romney was emerging as the Republican nominee to face off against him the following year. At that time, many leftist organizations came after Obama, arguing he was not liberal enough for their tastes.
“He [Obama] returned to Washington in a foul mood that would quickly turn rancid as the criticism being heaped upon him intensified,” the authors claim. “Obama had sought a big deal with Boehner because he believed it was the correct thing to do, but also to get right with the monarchs of high capitalism. He had cut the small deal to avert an economic conflagration.”
“Here he was that Monday, August 8, facing the cameras in the State Dining Room, addressing the downgrade, citing Warren Buffett, articulating an obvious truth: ‘No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.’ And still the stock market kept on falling– 635 points that day, 200 while he was speaking,” the book notes. “Then there was the ululating of the left, now aimed less at the deal than directly at Obama.”
The authors cited several members of the “professional left” and “professional blacks” as having gotten under Obama’s skin because of their criticism of him.
“On the op-ed page of The New York Times the Sunday he was at Camp David, liberal psychology professor Drew Westen gutted him in a jeremiad that was burning up the blogosphere: ‘Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama… believes on virtually any issue,'” the authors wrote. “California congresswoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and the rest of the CBC were shelling him mercilessly. The African American TV talk show host Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West, on a sixteen-city poverty tour, were doing the same. ‘Too often [Obama] compromises, too often he capitulates,’ West told ABC News. ‘I think the Republicans know that. I think they laugh when he’s not around.'”
Obama, according to the authors, has struggled with the left and the black community. “One day in the spring of 2011, as he sat with some staffers preparing for a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Obama rattled off a list of his policies,” the authors note in the same passage. “Cracking down on predatory lending. Education reform. Student loan reform. Most important, health care reform. All with an outsize impact on African Americans. All achieved at a time when half of the GOP believed he’d been born in Kenya . Obama threw up his hands. ‘After all that,’ he said, ‘am I still not black enough?'”