A friend said he reminds her of a husband who doesn't buy his wife a birthday or anniversary present because, as he says, "Those material things don't matter. I don't have to buy you things to prove my love for you."
Many African Americans feel like neglected partners who simply want to be shown by the President that they really matter, that he really cares about them. They want to hear him say he appreciates what they did for him, and he feels their pain, what with their disproportionately high unemployment rate.
President Obama doesn't say much about African Americans as a group one way or another. He appears to be afraid that his detractors will hold it against him. The problem is, his detractors don't like him, have never liked him, and will continue to find ways to destabilize, and some of them say, destroy that which he has spent so much time trying to accomplish for everyone, including them. One would think he would have gotten the message by now but no such luck. He did make a direct appeal for support at the annual Congressional Black Caucus dinner last weekend.
In an unfortunate way, President Obama knows that most African Americans are going to vote for him no matter how poorly they feel he is treating them. But that is not a decent way to treat one's most loyal and supportive constituency. No one wants to be taken for granted.
The President's strategy is what's called the institutional approach instead of the more targeted residual perspective. The idea is that good policies will have universal applicability, and will help everyone including blacks, other minorities, and the poor. Hence, greater access to health care will benefit blacks without calling them out by name. This might sound like good public policy go but this indirect approach doesn't work with real live human beings who poured their blood, sweat and tears, not to mention their money, into the President's election campaign. They simply want him to acknowledge their existence.
They want to hear him say they matter in an important way.
They want him to realize that without them he would never have been elected.
They are tired of him treating them like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.