The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic

Chris Hedges, truthdig, May 16, 2011

The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. {snip}

{snip}

[West] did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

“When you look at a society you look at it through the lens of the least of these, the weak and the vulnerable; you are committed to loving them first, not exclusively, but first, and therefore giving them priority,” says West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University. “And even at this moment, when the empire is in deep decline, the culture is in deep decay, the political system is broken, where nearly everyone is up for sale, you say all I have is the subversive memory of those who came before, personal integrity, trying to live a decent life, and a willingness to live and die for the love of folk who are catching hell. This means civil disobedience, going to jail, supporting progressive forums of social unrest if they in fact awaken the conscience, whatever conscience is left, of the nation. And that’s where I find myself now.

“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there.

“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “{snip} I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he [Obama] might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

West says the betrayal occurred on two levels.

“There is the personal level,” he says. “I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. {snip} And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

But there was also the betrayal on the political and ideological level.

“It became very clear to me as the announcements were being made,” he says, “that this was going to be a newcomer, in many ways like Bill Clinton, who wanted to reassure the Establishment by bringing in persons they felt comfortable with and that we were really going to get someone who was using intermittent progressive populist language in order to justify a centrist, neoliberalist policy that we see in the opportunism of Bill Clinton. It was very much going to be a kind of black face of the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council].”

Obama and West’s last personal contact took place a year ago at a gathering of the Urban League when, he says, Obama “cussed me out.” {snip}

“He makes a bee line to me right after the talk, in front of everybody,” West says. “He just lets me have it. He says, ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I’m not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?’ I smiled. I shook his hand. And a sister hollered in the back, ‘You can’t talk to professor West. That’s Dr. Cornel West. Who do you think you are?’ You can go to jail talking to the president like that. You got to watch yourself. I wanted to slap him on the side of his head.

“{snip}

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me.

“This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment,” West laments. “{snip} I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone.

“{snip}

“We have got to attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful,” he says. “It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream. In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire. I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties.

“{snip}”


Cornel West, a Princeton University professor and leading black intellectual, is harshly criticizing President Obama, a candidate he once supported but now calls “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

West, a former Harvard University professor, said during an interview with the website Truthdig posted yesterday that the president has not been true to his race.

{snip}

Republicans have questioned Obama’s origins–to the point where he felt compelled to release his long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii–but West also uses Obama’s past to draw into question the president’s racial bearings.

“Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive,” West said. “He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

West is a professor at Princeton’s Center for African American Studies and is the author of “Race Matters.” He was a professor at Harvard, but left in 2002 amid quarrels with then-president Lawrence Summers.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    If Obama is smart he fears black men. I know I do. Everytime I am downtown after 10PM, in a movie theater where they can’t help but talk to the characters on screen, whenever three or more of them are gathered in one place, whenever there is a football or basketball victory in an urban area. Yes, if Obama was afraid of black men it would be one of the few intelligent things he has ever done.

  • Question Diversity

    If I didn’t know any better, and if my eyes had skipped a few words in this article, I would swear up and down that Cornel West and I were long lost twins. We certainly think in a lot of the same ways.

    I knew Obama was a phony, and all this talk about “for the people” and his fake populism was a fraud, when he voted for TARP. I also know that in that famous “clinging to their guns and religion” rant he delivered in San Francisco in the spring of 2008, the part of that speech, in fact, that controversial line, which got lost is that immediately after he accused rural whites in PA and other states of “clinging to their guns and religion,” he then took a swipe at them for embracing protectionist trade policies. Yeah, Axelrod had to run slick ads that fall to convince all those working class whites Obama hates so much that Obama was against free trade — but politicians do have to win elections from time to time. All the while those ads were running, Obama had to wink in the direction of Beijing and Mexico City, to assure them that it was all an act.

    Dr. West: You seem to slobber all over Paul Krugman. Why would someone who draws a paycheck from the New York Times be any less of a phony populist than President Obama?

  • Recessive

    The article refers to Cornel West as “the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University.”

    Wikpedia claims West was born in 1953. If he were actually Class of ’43, he’d be about ninety now. But maybe he graduated from Princeton at age two, so he’s only seventy.

  • GetBackJack

    He’s just another black who thought Obama was the Messiah. Of course, there were just as many white fools who thought that, too.

    West uses more adjectives than nouns when describing brothers and sisters. But the real joke was this: “brilliant African father” to describe Obama’s father. What??? There is no such thing as a brilliant African. Period. An intelligent one is extremely rare.

    Like Maya Angelou, black “intellects” need constant reminders of just how great they are. The kicker is, they do most of the self-congratulatory praise themselves.

    I wonder if Henry Louis Gates remains in the Obama court?

  • sbuffalonative

    What the left wants is a dictator in shining armor.

    The ‘progressive’ left is profoundly disappointed in President Obama. Everyone, such as Michael Moore, is shaking their head at his failure to save the US and the world from the evils of capitalism and racism. They had expected that he would, by now, have set things right; no more wars, no more poverty, no more inequality.

    Watch for them to seek out even more extreme positions and policy makers.

  • Eric

    I honestly don’t know what these blacks expected. A couple of white slaves and a Cadillac? I know West is smarter than that, right? One one hand this sounds like a personal grudge and on the other hand it sounds like he wanted Obama to install an American version of the African National Congress.

  • Eva

    Had Brother Cornel received a ticket to the inauguration he wouldn’t now be self-righteously blabbering.

  • BO_Bill

    Former Harvard University Professor, current Princeton University Professor, Moral Philosopher, Teller of Truth, Author, and Leading Black Intellectual Cornell West’s first hint should have been that Barack’s blood brother still lives in a hut without electricity or running water.

  • EmbRACIST

    I have to say that I like SOME of what Cornel West was talking about. He feels that Wall Street extremists should be reigned in, & middle class workers should have more of a voice and make more $. With that being said, Obama is no where near the Robin Hood that they were hoping for. He hasn’t reigned in Wall Street economic terror tactics, he hasn’t ended any wars, he hasn’t appeased any regular everyday black folks(which is fine with me). If anything, this guy has governed for the ELITE blacks & Whites, not a big percentage of AmRen readers, myself included. Where’s my bailout Obama (& Bush for that matter)

  • Anonymous

    “The article refers to Cornel West as “the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University.”

    Wikpedia claims West was born in 1953. If he were actually Class of ‘43, he’d be about ninety now. But maybe he graduated from Princeton at age two, so he’s only seventy.”

    That just means that the Princeton Class of 1943 gave the money to endow the professorship that he currently holds.

  • Question Diversity

    3 Recessive:

    Many tenured professorial positions are sponsored, usually by some well-to-do alumnus/alumni that hit it big. For instance, you might read about the “John T. Whatchamcdoogle Professor of Astrobiology,” or so on and so forth. The sponsorship pays the professor’s salary and makes some money for the university. In the case you cited, I think Dr. West’s position is sponsored by Princeton’s Class of 1943 in toto.

    I’m guessing the c/o ’43 at Princeton was a pretty lackluster one on average.

  • E Pluribus Pluribus

    “He [Cornel West] bitterly describes Obama as ‘a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.’”

    “Black mascot of Wall Street” is about right. Snippet below from a McClatchy news service report:

    “Goldman’s connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows . . . Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist, said that ‘almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.'”

    SOURCE: “Goldman’s White House Connection Raise Eyebrows,” McClatchy news service, April 21, 2010:

    http://tinyurl.com/27u3r7k

    “Has become head of the American killing machine” is also about right. Obama took over Bush’s two wars in the Middle East and started his own with Libya, tripled drone attacks in Pakistan, and killed Bin Laden.

  • Anonymous

    I guess there’s no punishment for betraying any kind of impartiality for americas educated class. West will probably win some kind of award.

  • Robert Binion

    Dr. West is unaware that President Obama is a symbol of racial equality and must be protected at all costs, that apologists must sacrifice that which to them is most dear, their precious intellect.

  • Anonymous

    “moral philosopher Cornel West”

    That’s comedy gold right there, doesn’t matter who you are.

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Cornel West is just a quasi-intellectual black guy who likes to use big words that he picked up at White ivy-league schools. Every few years this huckster cons Princeton and Harvard into a pissing match to see which will pay him more, to steal him away from the other. He takes advantage of gullible Whites who grovel at his feet and think he is some kind of black oracle. What a joke…

  • Anonymous

    I knew everything I had to know about Obama when I read his book “Dreams of my Father.” His total hatred of Whites and America came through loud and clear.

    Being the child of communist parents, I realized right away that his Mother and maternal grandparents were communists, reds just like my parents. There are just certain things, like the Burl Ives and Weavers records my parents had. I’m sure Obama’s grandparents played those same records. I’m sure they subscribed to the Nation, New Republic and New Masses.

    Obama is more communist manchurian candidate than American black.

    I watched MSNBC and some of the other anti White channels and read some of the standard commie magazines like the Nation. I think those people were really upset that Bin Laden was captured during the Obama administration. The anti White elites, despite the fact that their financial citadel was destroyed like Bin Laden and his muslim fanatics just as they loved the Russian communists during the cold war.

    Obama and the liberals love whoever is against America at the moment. If Genghis Khan invaded from Canada or Mexico, the liberal elites would love him.

  • ghw

    [West] now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed.

    He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.

    …………………

    Just a puppet? Just a front? Well, of course he is. Most of us here at Amren always knew that.

  • Anonymous

    Someone should explain to Prof. West that his president likes being president more than he likes blacks. The proof is his commitment to massive Hispanic immigration which destroys job opportunities for (economically) weak and vulnerable black brothas & sistas. He is sure of massive black vote, so he concentrates on maxing the Hispanic vote. Perhaps Prez Obama is also motivated by his dislike for white men, an attitude got from his mother. In any event, the position of non-immigrant blacks in the U.S. may get worse, but it won’t likely get better.

  • John Engelman

    Criticism of President Obama from the left is irrelevant. The United States is a center right country. No one to the left of the President can be elected to the White House.

    President Obama’s mistake was to address health care before pursuing policies that reduced the unemployment rate. Before doing what some Americans wanted him to do, he needed to achieve what nearly all of us desire. This was a tactical mistake, rather than an ideological betrayal.

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    This & all similar whines are FAKES! These people know that Obama is the most leftist president in US history; they are creating these “doubts” for the media so those gullible ones will write about “tension”. That would make Obama seem less leftist to the regular Americans.

    I’m sure there’s a name for this strategy. Someone educated in political science (not me!) might know it.

  • Anonymous

    West says “We got to tell the truth…about the worst things in the American empire”. Sounds a lot like ag Holders’s comments–America has been cowardly about race. These bitter hatemongers want Obama to declare war on Whitey and use their bully pullpit to do so.

  • olewhitelady

    West is like a buffoon from an old race film, all full of bluster and nonsense. He’s an Affirmative Action hire who was fired from Harvard because he wouldn’t show up to teach. He’s got this line about oligarchs and plutocrats that he apparently uses every time he talks now. He’s so unintelligent that he blathers about how Brother Barack dissed him and got him all mad–and then proceeds to criticize him.

  • Bernie

    “I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “{snip} I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he [Obama] might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do.

    After listening to this buffoon would you return his calls?

  • Anonymous

    As unreasonable and as reality-challenged as Cornel West is, I still welcome his attacks on his (former?) “brother” Barack Obama. Anything that sows dissent among Dhimmicrats is OK by me.

    That said, what exactly was Cornel West (and Michael Moore et al) EXPECTING from this administration? Seriously: were they expecting the President and his A-team to go running through the top floors of Wall Street office buildings with pick-axes, chopping up fax machines and PCs the way Carrie Nation and her Temperance crusaders used to chop up barrels of whiskey? Were they expecting Washington to expropriate white-owned farms and hand them over to random blacks like in Zimbabwe? Did they really think that by now newspapers would be publishing front-page photos of the heads of their capitalist enemies on pikes?

    Cornel West’s problem seems to be that Obama isn’t enough of an American Mau-Mau for his tastes. For an impatient man like the professor, Brother Barack’s program of destroying of America on the installment plan isn’t fast enough. Apparently, what West wants is for Obama to go “The Full Mugabe.”

    Brother Barack needs to assure Brother Cornel that these things take time; that, as the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.”

  • WHC

    I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Cornell on TV recently. It seemed he was being interviewed by the MSM on a weekly basis when he was a big supporter of Obama. Now that West is criticizing Obama, the TV networks are no longer interested. It is highly likely that Cornell West did believe that Obama would transform America, in much the same way that another of his heroes, Hugo Chavez, has transformed Venezuela into a socialist utopia. Cornell viewed Chavez’s nationalization of industries and imprisonment or killing of political opponents as a great “democratic awakening taking place”. Cornell West is an academic fraud. He would have never obtained his multiple degrees, without the help of liberal whites who lowered academic standards to accommodate him. Our universities used to be about the dispassionate examination of knowledge. West is completely out of place in such a venue. But our universities today see their sole purpose as the promotion of leftist multicultural ideology. West is perfectly suited as their circus barker.

  • zizlack

    Cornell uses so many words to convey a simple message ,the time honored “Yo,can a Brotha get a hook up?”. Always expecting special consideration any time another Black is in charge of anything whether its at McDonald’s or even the “President”.

  • Question Diversity

    20 John Engelman:

    That is why I sometimes wonder if rants like these on the part of black extremists like Dr. West are secretly coordinated directly from the White House, in order to create the fan dance impression that Obama is a “moderate.”

  • Anonymous

    Reading his bio on Wikipedia, (where he’s reverentially described as “an American philosopher”) and his impressive resume of illustrious universities competing for his services (University of Paris!) I am amazed how people of this type are sponsored, mentored, promoted by someone, somewhere, from mysteriously within the system.

    If he (just like Obama) were not a black communist, he would still be washing dishes somewhere. And if he were a white man, he wouldn’t even have gotten the application form for Princeton or Harvard. But as a black Marxist “philosopher”, his words are hung on as if divinely inspired.

    What a joke. We are being led by fools.

  • Bud

    Who cares what Cornel West “thinks?” He’s the very embodiment of racist tokenism in out higher education system. The Departments he’s worked for are the modern Liberal equivalent of race chairs in Nazi universities. Unable to find enough qualified blacks to fill real subjects, and unwilling to risk devaluation by putting tokens in those real positions, they shuffle blacks into fields like literature where there are no real objective criteria or, worse, create “ethnic studies” programs for creatures like Cornel West that are nothing more than sinecures for professional white-hating racists. They get black faces for their brochures, we get death in the street. And make no mistake, there is a direct connection between the white-hating racism being spewed by these universities and racist violence against whites on the streets, and if you put a microphone under the nose of any black thug you’ll get a bowdlerized version of the hate puked on the university campus.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Were they expecting Washington to expropriate white-owned farms and hand them over to random blacks like in Zimbabwe?

    YES!! White owned property and treasure too! Such as (even more) White pay checks converted into EBT cards for black use at strip joints.

    Or in the words of Peggy the Moocher:

    0bama is gonna pay for my gas and mortgage!

    As for Cornel “The Professor” West:

    Would YOU buy a used rap record from this man?:

    From the heights of rich African humanity

    to the depth of sick American barbarity

    In the whirlwinds of White supremacy

    black people preserved their sanity and dignity

    No other people in the modern world have had

    such unprecedented levels of unregulated violence

    against them.

    According to Larry Elder in his book What’s Race Got to Do With It?

    West left Harvard in a huff because Harvard’s then new president, Lawrence Summers dared to chastise West for grade inflation (90 percent of students in his Introduction to African-American studies course received As). West considered it “racist” that Summers dismissed his rap CD and the time he spent advising Al Sharpton as non-scholarly. So he trucked off to Princeton.

    Still… black internecine warfare? Bring it on!

    Bon

  • Tom Jefferson

    It’s a verifiable fact that blacks on average have a 60 to 80 IQ level. In a white man this is considered (mental retardation)

    It is a verifiable fact that blacks have never invented a thing of value, their invention claims are all very east to disprove.

    It is a verifiable fact that blacks commit more crimes including the RAPE of over 45,000 white females every year. The percentage of whites raping blacks is so low it is reported as Zero.

    It is a verifiable fact that blacks feel white are very afraid of them and this idea grow larger in their heads everyday.

    You have to search on the internet but EVERYDAY there is a story of 4 or 5 blacks beating some defenseless white person many time to death.

    You won’t read about this in your local paper or see it on TV but it is out there provided by reputable news sources.

    In my hometown it was never reported how those blacks beat the transgender (white) into a convulsion.

    It was NEVER reported when those people in Knoxville TN tortured and raped and killed the young white boy and girl.

    Had the story been “White person accidentally steps on blacks toe,” it would be front page news here for months and then even more months After The Claim Was PROVEN To Be False.

    Yes whites need to fear blacks because for some reason they don’t understand that in most states Deadly Force can be used to protect yourself from assault but in most cases it isn’t..

  • patthemick

    This is simply a political trick to distance Obama from the more ghetto voting base for the 2012 election. He is looking to get a smaller white vote and needs to shore up whatever votes he can still get from the sleeping whites.

    To me it’s transparent.

  • jdavis

    It is illusory to believe that blacks will ever think of whites as equal…ever.

    “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name”, that pertains to Christian teachings, however, when applied to blacks, run and run fast trouble is coming and right now. Get out.

  • AlmostMusicPhD

    If ever there was a reason to demolish the entire American Education system, and revert back to church-sponsored education using vouchers, where parents say both WHAT and HOW children are to be taught, all the way up to PhD studies…..

    This man is the living embodiment for the abolition of American Education.

  • BAW

    This is yet another reason why your kids shouldn’t go to Harvard, or any other Ivy League school, for that matter. An Ivy League education is no indicator of wisdom and common sense; witness the mess Ivy League graduates have made of our country.

    Do you want your kids exposed to these kinds of people?

  • Anonymous

    What’s really discouraging is that a black “intellectual” like Cornell West was so easily and readily taken in by a fake as obvious as obama in the first place. It’s also sad.