AP – Washington, D.C.
They call themselves “legally enhanced professionals,” “diversity lawsuit insulation assets” or just “EEOPeeps.” But whatever the term, they’re just one more part of President Barack Obama’s political base registering unhappiness with his administration.
In an event today at the National Press Club, members of the affirmative action-enabled community announced that, unless the president meets its demands, it would be working for Obama’s defeat in 2012.
Affirmative Action Hires for Oval Office Justice was formed this fall to combat what they say is the negative image the president is projecting onto all who’ve attained their places through affirmative action, racial or sexual quota hiring, or because their employer couldn’t buy off Jesse Jackson with a lucrative beer distributorship.
“The fact is that the great majority of affirmative action hires go on to have perfectly mediocre careers,” said AAHOOJ President Bob Flanks, an African-American middle manager at a Dulles, Virginia software developer. “But President Obama, in rising so far, so fast, and exhibiting what we can only call ‘breathtaking incompetence,’ is having a chilling affect on the hiring of otherwise poorly qualified black, Latino or female candidates. If we don’t defeat Obama in 2012, I’m afraid his appalling incompetence will destroy everything we’ve worked for … or, haven’t worked for. Destroy everything we’ve sort of been handed, really …”
AAHOOJ is asking the president to “raise his game, just a little,” said Flanks in a prepared statement. “Members of the AAH community pride ourselves on buttressing the status quo, reinforcing organizational inertia and, when absolutely necessary, competently executing our responsibilities. We expect the same from our president. We’re not asking for five percent unemployment or a really strong dollar. But the suck-fest must end, for our sake and the sake of the country.”
AHOOJ member Fernando Diaz, an assistant bank branch manager from Atlanta, expressed a common sense of disappointment in the president. “I volunteered for his campaign even though I had misgivings. I really thought he had the makings of a so-so president, and if it had worked out that way, it would have been worth it.”
Diaz said he thought Obama should have at least served a full term in the Senate to establish himself as “a typical Washington empty suit – you know like Joe Biden.” Obama’s failure then wouldn’t have reflected back on the AAH community. “But to put himself out for President when he’d only been Senator for a cup of coffee, well, people are gonna look at his failure and say ‘that’s what happens when you hire somebody just cause they’re black or Hispanic – whatever’.”
Ruby Johnson, a 29-year-old human resources assistant vice manager for a large hotel chain, said that while she sympathizes with Obama, he’s not making life easier for people like her. “Look, I graduated bottom of my class from a good state school. I mean, it wasn’t community college, you know? And when I landed a job I thought I’d be all set. You know, the lawyers would never let them fire me.”
But three years into the Obama administration, Johnson has an uneasy feeling. “He’s just so in the weeds that people are going to have to react. And then it’s a return to the bad old days of meritocracy.”
Flanks, for one, doesn’t want to relive those days. “We’ve overcome so much, all of us. Not just those of us who are AAH-enabled. What about all those unimpressive white kids who’s dad knew the head of sales? If you got the VP of Finance’s daughter knocked up, you stand to lose in a best-man-for-the-job environment too.”
Unless President Obama can convince AAHOOJ that he can be the mediocrity they’d once hoped, he may stand to lose legally-enhanced professionals in a difficult reelection campaign.