Call it Baracklash: so far, Barack Obama isn't helping many people who voted for him in high percentages when he was elected president eight months ago.
According to exit polls, Obama beat John McCain for the vote of those under the age of 22 by 66-30 percent. He also generated a lot of enthusiasm among teenage volunteers below the voting age. But in June, unemployment encompassing this group --16 to 19-year-olds -- hit 24 percent, that's up from 20.6 percent at the end of George W. Bush's second term.
Ninety-five percent of blacks voted for Obama. As of June, black unemployment stood at 14.7 percent, up from 11.1 percent when Bush left office. Obama won the Hispanic vote by a 66-31 percent margin. Unemployment for Hispanics in June was 12.2 percent, an increase from 8.8 percent upon Bush's departure.
But it's not only black and Hispanic adults that Obama has so far failed to lift up. It's also their children. Nationwide, only 55 percent of black students and 58 percent of Hispanic students graduate from high school (versus 78 percent for whites). Yet Obama refuses to fight the teachers unions or his fellow Democrats in Congress to enact school choice. In fact, both groups oppose it. Meantime, many minority parents are begging for school choice to get their children out of unsafe, failing schools.
A high school graduate earns $600,000 more over a lifetime than a dropout and high school graduates live up to seven years longer than dropouts. A high school dropout is five to eight times more likely to go to jail than a college graduate. And it's estimated that if the racial gap in American education could be closed it would have led to a 2 to 4 percent increase in GDP in 2008 -- translated into real money that works out to between $310 and $525 billion dollars!
Obama knows that. Nonetheless, he sends his daughters to a private school that he'd shut Washington's minority kids out of. He praises the mother of his Hispanic Supreme Court nominee for working six days a week to pay, in Obama's words, to send "her children to a Catholic school called Cardinal Spellman out of the belief that with a good education here in America all things are possible."
Seventy-eight percent of the Jewish vote and 62 percent of the Asian vote went to Obama. This is despite the reverse discrimination many of their high-achieving children suffer because of the affirmative action quotas Obama favors in college admissions and employment.
Further, while Obama tried to solidify his pro-Israel credentials when he was courting the Jewish vote, since his election he has made far tougher demands on Israel than on its Palestinian and Arab enemies. Last month, in his much-touted address in Cairo to the Muslim world, Obama singled out only Israel for criticism for its settlement policies in the West Bank. His administration has given the impression that Israel's settlement expansion and military self-defense is preventing America from stopping Iran's nuclear buildup.
On July 3, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who supported Obama for president, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "Many American supporters of Israel who voted for Barack Obama now suspect they may have been victims of a bait and switch. Now, some of them apparently have voters' remorse."
What will it take for more of Obama's staunchest backers to join other Americans who have reached that conclusion?
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.