The Congresional Black Caucus meeting with a president is ordinarily no big deal, although there were not a lot of sit downs with President Bush during his two terms. But, this particular conversation is different. The CBC has been somewhat petulent with the president and they didn’t quite fall over themselves in support of their fellow member during the 2008 primaries. We watched with some interest as CBC Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA) stopped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and chatted aggressively in her ear for more than a few leisurely moments right before the President’s unofficial State of the Union te other night. What was that all about? And, was it an attempt by the CBC Chair to somehow play the Clinton hand in an effort to push Obama’s buttons?
Still, President Obama doesn’t appear to be the vindictive sort, so the meeting may ease any tension felt. The creation of the urban affairs office by the president may also ease some concerns, but Black Members of Congress have to realize that the president has a much broader constituency. His ultimate success benefits them currently and may benefit their longer term ambitions. That all said, we notice that the CBC has yet to produce a definitive agenda for the 111th Congress. Not stimulus package response points; an actual point-by-point agenda that lays out a specific plan beyond the usual reactionary pose.