Monday, September 26, 2011

Obama at CBC speech: "stop complaining"

Over the weekend, Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The transcript of the key part seems pretty horrific. The video, here, makes it more unclear exactly what Obama is talking about, and you can hear the audience continues to applaud. And the context of the whole speech makes it seem somewhat better. Maybe.

This was the ending:
I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We've got work to do, CBC.
I'll divide this into two parts:

1. the "stop complaining" part. The most charitable interpretation you can give is that Obama didn't mean this to CBC members specifically, but as sort of a general call. That's pretty generous to interpret it that way. Even if you do, who is the President accusing of just "complaining?" That doesn't seem accurate. Nor does it seem like a good idea to be saying.

Black unemployment is at 16.7%. Is there someone specific the President would like to accuse of "complaining" rather than being productive? The President has rejected nearly every single policy proposal from the CBC. These haven't been complaints. They've been... policy proposals.

2. the "We are going to press on. We've got work to do" part. Makes it sound like they're on the same team. The whole point, as everyone knows, is that Obama has, in fact, not been on their team.

More from Lauren Burke, Courtland Milloy.


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