How Michele Bachmann has 'failed' black America

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Michele Bachmann wants to let people of color know that she cares about our plight.

During a speech at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans over the weekend, the Minnesota congresswoman discussed the disproportionally high unemployment rates for blacks and Latinos. The Tea Party crusader took shots at President Obama, arguing, “This president has failed the Hispanic community. He has failed the African-American community. He has failed us all when it comes to jobs.”

If there were any place where I’d love to hear a Republican talk about black failure it’s in the city of New Orleans. Unfortunately, hers was conspicuous message issued out of convenience. As nice as the thought of a high profile Republican running for president finally speaking on high minority jobless rates is, Michele Bachmann has some nerve feigning interest in black unemployment while simultaneously laying the blame for it squarely on the president.

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Bachmann voted against the stimulus package that arguably saved even more jobs from being lost. Of course, she’s also the same person who asked for the money she voted against for her own district but I suppose what’s hypocrisy amongst colleagues?

Speaking of Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, the population of blacks hovers around a whooping 1 percent. She has very few black constituents to pay lip service to; however, there’s plenty of criticism to go around in her own home state.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics placed Minnesota’s 2010 black jobless rate at 22 percent. That figure is 3.4 times the white rate of 6.4 percent, giving the state the largest gap in the country. Moreover, The Star Tribune reported that in a 2009 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute that the Twin Cities — where much of the state’s black population is concentrated – had the biggest gap between white and black employment.

She can target President Obama on the nation’s piss poor stats about joblessness among minorities, but she’s kept mum about the even sadder figures with the neighbors in her own state. That’s not to say Bachmann hasn’t completely shied away from past comments about matters pertaining to race, though. Michele Bachmann is no stranger to race talk, only it’s typically in the form of racially tinged language that many have considered flat out racist or at the very least, factually deficient.

She has a habit of defending Tea Party members from accusations of racism while making auspicious claims about non-white Americans at Tea Party rallies. In February, Bachmann told the National Press Club at a Tea Party Express Forum that, “Other than Native Americans who were here, all of us have the same story.”

Bachmann’s remake of American history says that we are all descendants of “a risk-taker from their home country, doesn’t matter what the country is, but they took a risk, and they came here.” Those risk-takers “knew when they came here they weren’t coming for a welfare state.”

A month prior she made the erroneous claim that America was founded on racial and ethnic diversity. Yes, slavery existed, “but we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

When she’s not giving American history teachers reasons to cry, she’s angering people with declarations that Barack Obama is anti-American — a charge that’s as xenophobic as it is stupid.

Legislatively, Bachmann drew controversy after she blamed the economic crisis on minority lending at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in 2008. Bachmann took aim at the Community Reinvestment Act, which was passed to fight the banking industry’s discriminatory lending practices, In Bachmann’s view the CRA made it to where “loans started being made on the basis of race, and often little else.” In response to deserved criticism, Bachmann quipped, “It does not mean that I’m a racist…because I’m critical of that bill.”

No, just dishonest. The same can be said of her dismissing the landmark $1.2 billion settlement compensating black farmers for decades of discrimination as “fraud.” Though she claimed they were looking or a handout, her own family accepted federal farm subsidies, essentially making her the welfare queen her ilk like to complain about all the time.

There is room for Obama criticism about high black unemployment, but not from Michele Bachmann. We are not her priority, just a ploy for political points. I can’t knock her completely for trying, but she has a better shot at hosting the 2012 BET Awards than she does convincing me to embrace her newfound “concern.”