On October 2nd Sean Hannity played a video on Fox News of a speech from June 2007 given by then-Senator Barack Obama at Hampton University. You can watch the unedited video here.
This video confirms what many of us on the right have known for most of Obama’s time in the public arena: he is a racial huckster who panders to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to scare Black people into voting for him. He tries to convince Black people that the government doesn’t care about them. He makes completely preposterous racial claims.
In referring to the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina in comparison to the response to 9-11 and Hurricane Andrew, Obama said,
“when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.”
When it comes to Katrina, Obama claims that the government treated them differently.
“What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”
There are two infuriating aspects of this speech. 1) Obama is playing on the fears of the Black community that White people spend all of their time trying to short change them. He wants them to think that Blacks are inferior and are not well thought of in this country. 2) Obama is lying in order to accomplish this. He claims that the Stafford Act was not waived for Hurricane Katrina relief, but in fact, a document titled “CRS Report for Congress” with the date of September 13, 2005 seems to indicate otherwise. The summary of this document says:
Federal agencies have waived a number of regulatory requirements and extended the deadlines for certain reports and applications to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina and to ease the economic effects of the storm. Most of the actions were permitted by agency or program-specific authorizing statutes. More generally, though, Section 301 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act permits agencies to modify or waive administrative conditions for federal assistance in the wake of a major disaster upon the request of state or local authorities. This report identifies some (but not necessarily all) of those Katrina-related waivers and extensions, and will not be updated.
So it appears Obama’s claim that the Stafford Act was not waived for Hurricane Katrina is false. More bad news for Obama’s claim, according to the Daily Caller, who obtained the tape (emphasis mine):
By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11. Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.
All the evidence is showing that Obama is a liar. Obama was a United States Senator when all of this money was sent to New Orleans. My bet is that he voted for all of that spending. But he used this occasion to tell Black people their government hates them. His entire speech is racial huckstering at its worse, an appeal to the lowest common denominator, and very unbecoming of the American tradition. He claims that we need the federal government to make Black communities whole. He says,
“We need additional federal public transportation dollars flowing to the highest need communities. We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs.”
He goes on,
“We should be investing in minority-owned businesses, in our neighborhoods, so people don’t have to travel from miles away.”
This doesn’t sound like the Obama who delivered the keynote speech at the Democrats’ convention in 2004. Remember he said then, “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” That’s a bit different from the Obama that we are hearing in this June 2007 speech.
He then puts on this pretense that liberals adopt where Black people are stupid and incapable of functioning on our own. Here’s an example: “We can’t expect them to have all the skills they need to work. They may need help with basic skills, how to shop, how to show up for work on time, how to wear the right clothes, how to act appropriately in an office. We have to help them get there.”
As a Black man, I am beyond insulted by the entire tone and content of this speech, most specifically the last part I outlined. I know too many Black people who can do all of these things. And the implication that those who can’t need to have the federal government (or any level of government) come in and do these things for them is an outrage.
If Black people want to have better outcomes, we have got to break out of this mold of looking to the government. We have got to stop presuming that every slight that happens to us is racial and that the government has an obligation to get even for us. We can’t rely on affirmative action and set asides. We can’t take the easy way out and whine that America is a racist nation that is out to get us when things go wrong. We can’t put racial solidarity over competence and national unity. Obama has shown in many ways amidst campaigning that he is not interested in unity. He is also incompetent as shown through his imploding foreign policy and his collapsing economic policy. Too many Black people put race over their own interest as Americans.
If the content of Obama’s speech doesn’t outrage you, if the points I have made about Obama’s appeals to racial solidarity don’t ring true, then listen to Obama saying those words and ask yourself, “Why is he talking in a dialect and a cadence that he doesn’t normally use? And why does he only talk like that when he is standing before Black audiences?”
If you answer that honestly, then you will have a hard time explaining a second vote for him.