Dr. Boyce: Even Maxine Waters is Happy with President Obama’s Jobs Plan

11 Sep

maxine waters says she is going to support President Obama's jobs plan



by Dr. Boyce WatkinsScholarship in Action

Rep Maxine Waters, who has been quite critical of the Obama Administration as of late, has come out to express her support for the jobs bill proposed by President Barack Obama last week. Waters told TheRoot.com that she believes that the bill holds promise and should be supported.

I think it holds a lot of promise, and it was more than many people expected. I’m very pleased, the closer I look at the details of the plan, to see the impact on African Americans and the economy. I’m looking at an additional document [pdf] that the White House put out, which focuses on that. We’ve asked for targeting to the areas that have the most need, and basically they have responded with some of the targeting that we wanted them to do.

Gaining the support of Waters is an important step in shoring up the black base for the Obama Administration as they prepare for the 2012 elections.  Waters has been one of the most vocal challengers to the administration for policies that have been racially exclusionary to-date.   As a result of this political neglect, African Americans have the worst jobless rate of the last 27 years.

The "For the People" jobs tour was a huge success for the Congressional Black Caucus.  The caucus had lost a bit of "swag" over the last three years, as they remained silent out of fear of stepping on the toes of President Obama.  The massive, unconditional love that many African Americans showered on the president only served to make things more difficult for those who really wanted to get things done in the black community.  While many of the president’s protectors consistently screamed that Obama is the "president of all of America, not just black folks," they were unduly harsh toward those willing to do the work that President Obama was not being asked to do.

Waters, by stepping out from under the president and touring the nation to advocate for African American issues, immediately positioned herself as arguably the most active and progressive political advocate for black America during a time when our community needs it the most.  Her courageous and candid reaction to one of the greatest black economic tragedies in American history is a reminder that the black community must open the door for strong female voices in our struggle for Civil Rights.  I’ve personally met dozens of young Maxine Waters-like black women all across the country, and it is my belief that we should give them a chance to shine as much as the men.

The fact that Waters has come back to support President Obama’s plan after being critical of the administration also serves as a political lesson for the rest of us.  Waters reminds us that critiquing the Obama Administration and being vocal about the needs of our community is not treasonous or "Uncle Tomish" (as unconditional Obama-ites like Steve Harvey might believe). It is actually Democratic, patriotic and most likely to lead to your needs being met.  Silent wheels don’t get oiled and I can guarantee that Waters’ passionate, yet calculated outbursts had a direct impact on the structure of President Obama’s plan.

At the same time, I am hopeful that strong Obama critics like Cornel West and Tavis Smiley will get behind the plan, as did the Rev. Jesse Jackson earlier this week.  If one earns the right to criticize the president when he makes mistakes, they must support him when he appears to be trying to do the right thing.  West and Smiley do, however, still have a legitimate concern that President Obama’s jobs speech made almost no mention of the poor in America.  Black people from all economic backgrounds do not necessarily have the same agenda – a complexity that is often overlooked, but serves to complicate our collective political ambitions.

Once again, I say what I said last week:  Hooray for Maxine Waters.  The political emergence of President Barack Obama, in contrast to what many believe, is not an excuse for us to kill off those who righteously advocate for the African American community.  If anything, we need politically-independent and progressive black leadership now more than ever.  We must be careful not to confuse Obama’s access to federal power with some kind of post-racial liberation for the rest of us.  Obama’s fate and the fate of our community are NOT usually one and the same.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


15 Responses to “Dr. Boyce: Even Maxine Waters is Happy with President Obama’s Jobs Plan”

  1. BuckwheatsMomma September 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm #


    How nice of Maxine!

    Now, what has she done (locally) to help move folks along?

    • Eric Wright (@ewright637) September 12, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      Are you serious? Only elected official to bring the CIA to Watts to answer to the covert drug operations. You know with free way Ricky Ross. Only authored legislation to ensure city contracts were set aside to minority and women. I could go on. People need to stop trying to tear down Obama’s black critics. There not coming from the BS Tea Party racist point of view.

  2. Special September 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    So anyone who dose not sing the total praises of Obama is an enemy. Shameful.

  3. Jeri Barnes-Allen September 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm #


    How does the song go: What has she done for us lately?

  4. Leroy Avery Jr September 12, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    The problem is there is no plan just a speech, nothing on paper and we all know the devil is in the details. Obama always says one thing and does another. Dems are good at hinding things under what all thinks is a good bill. When americas are hurting to tell us we must wait two weeks for his job plan after his vacation, then to only give us a speech, then tell us we must wait two more weeks to get the details is so arogant and disrespectful of all americans that is says it all to me. Obama does not care about americans and our problems, for Ms. Waters to say she goes with Obamas speech with nothing in writing says that the CBC is a joke along with the NAACP.

    • PghRich September 12, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      How can you say there is not plan when the president stated he will give detail in two weeks.
      To show how un-informed you are …When he gave the speech he had endding his vacation already so he did NOT ask america to wait until he endded his vac..

      You Obama heater will go to nay length to tru to unseat this President.

      I hope you enjoy your thirty Pieces of silver.

      Please let the African American Community know when you folks in the Tea Party have a better Plan

      PEACE to you

      • Leroy Avery Jr September 13, 2011 at 12:43 am #

        This is the problem with many black people politically uneducated. I wish what Obama does was good for all americans but it does not help us, and I must say so. I can not just sit in the back of the church clapping my hands and saying yes.

  5. PghRich September 12, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    nay length should read any….. and try to un-seat

  6. Rea Perry September 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    My hat is off to Ms. Maxine Waters!!!
    I am proud that she has the integrity and courage to stand for what she believes in, and calls it as she sees it. Positive results is what we need; political postering will get us nowhere. Let’s get real people! “Together we stand, divided we fail”. When will we ever learn?? Read ‘The Willie Lynch Letter’ on google. This is a no-brainer!

  7. Anonymous September 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I have no problem with black critics, just black critics who give dumb criticism. A black person who is smart would know that Obama just did Maxine’s job for her. Why is that? Because it is Congress’ responsibility to come up with a jobs plan, not the President.

    That ‘s one of reasons why she is sooooo happy with the plan, it releases her and the CBC from the responsibility of having to come up with one. Let’s see if she and her colleagues can get it passed, as is. In which, I have serious doubts about it happening. My question is, who will you all blame then? Well, of course, Obama will be the blame, for some cockamamie, bullshit reason, right?

    Give me a break Boyce, this doesn’t absolve Smiley, West, et’ al from their idiocy. They are still just as idiotic they were before.

    • Roosevelt Thompson September 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

      Congress pass president sign. the black caucus do not have the power to get a jobs bill passed and the democratic party will not support a jobs for the black community
      and the unions are totally against it,we must bring pressure to bare on the democratic
      party. you must protect our interest, or lose our support. end of story.

      • Roosevelt Thompson September 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        congress pass president sigh. the black caucus do not have the power to get a jobs bill passed,and the democratc party will not support a jobs bill for the black community
        and the unions are totally against it. we must bring pressure to bare on the democratic
        party and let them know,you must protect our interest or lose our support. end of story!

      • rudyabdul September 13, 2011 at 12:14 am #

        They together can write and sponsor a jobs bill, then work to persuade other members of Congress to support it. Key word: WORK.

  8. Leroy Avery Jr September 13, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    For over two and a half years the dems had the house, the senate and the white house they could have passed any jobs bill they wanted, but their forcus was not on jobs but on control and power and thats it.

    • rudyabdul September 13, 2011 at 1:25 am #

      Yeah Avery, you’re right, Dems did have control of the House and Senate, however, things are not as simple as you think it is, especially in this present political climate.

      The Democrats had “Blue Dog Democrats” who voted with the Republican Party 98% of the time. The Senate had Republicans who filibustered every major Democratic bill until it died, never making it to the President’s desk. The Democrats had some of their issues but ultimately, the GOP was a huge hindrance to getting things done in Washington.

      Now if you think that those issues didn’t matter, that the Democrats could somehow magically get things done, then you are not being realistic.

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