West begins with a bit of historical revision. West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel West’s “dear brother” Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley’s annual State of Black America. – Cornel West v. Barack Obama, by Melissa Harris-Perry
Isn’t it time people quit whining about Obama’s alleged “deception”? The only people deceived by Candidate Obama were those who wanted to be part of the incredible wave of landing the first African American political phenom in the White House. It was a worthy goal.
There was plenty of information to know he’d govern just as he has, which is center-right. Republicans helped Obama move their way by continually calling him a “socialist,” giving him cover, which would be clever considering Obama’s rightward tilt if they did it on purpose, except Republicans actually believed the far left drivel. So people can be suckered, letting emotion rule their vote. I’ve been writing and talking about this for 15 years, battling “Obamabots” every day. What else is new?
Certainly nothing coming out of Cornel West.
He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. – The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic
If Cornell West had compiled a list like this I’d be all ears, but he didn’t (h/t Peter Daou).
Deceived? Manipulated? Betrayed? Good God, no wonder our democratic republic is going through so much angst. We The People has turned into a cry for a king.
“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.
Now that’s actually worth discussing: The responsibility of supporters of politicians, which should include losing the blind idolatry to a person, replacing it with allegiance to policies and Democratic ideology that makes government more effective.
Did Cornel West just discover that any national candidate, no matter the party, is beholden to Wall Street and the financial movers and shakers?
Did West miss it?
Obama told George Stephanopoulos that he’d never been a leftist, but could find a way to bring people together. Translation: he’s a mediator, a compromiser in chief.
Obama had virtually the same voting record on foreign policy, except that he ducked the tough vote on Iran when he was running for president to hide the evidence.
Candidate Obama raised more money from Big Banks and Wall Street than any other candidate, but all presidential candidates do this dance.
All Mr. West proved by unloading to Chris Hedges is that a “moral philosopher” can be as petty as anyone else, especially once we get to the foundation of the grievance, which is always the last to surface.
“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. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. 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.”
Note to all: Don’t ever be seduced into believing there is ever a personal level of connection between you and a candidate. It’s pure fantasy located only in your mind.
Tavis Smiley got mad because Candidate Obama didn’t make his annual State of Black America back in early 2008. Smiley was justified. It was odd Obama ducked it, but considering he did a flyover of the first Democratic debate in Carson City, which I attended and reported on, it wasn’t surprising, at least not to me. But then nothing Obama has done has come as a surprise to me. If you’re not going to get the first viable African American candidate for president to give a crap about the state of “the Black Union” what’s the point?
Interestingly, women certainly didn’t feel this way about Hillary Rodham Clinton. So another part of this conversation that might be interesting is why Smiley and Cornell West feel it’s imperative for Barack Obama to kiss their rings, but women didn’t feel any compelling reason to support the first viable female candidate in U.S. history.
This puts Cornell West’s whining into perspective.
Dear supporters, politicians never pay you back for your loyalty. The extent to which they continue to give a damn about what you want, think or feel is directly related to your ability to cause them political pain.
Cornell West, through Chris Hodges, is sending up a flare that he can cause Obama reelect damage. It’s pontificating puffery for the insider crowd, because no one in the country cares about this fraternal man fight.
Melissa Harris-Perry is having none of it:
I have many criticisms of the Obama administration. I wrote angrily about his choice of Rick Warren to deliver a prayer at the inauguration. I have spoken on television about my disagreement with drone attacks in Pakistan and been critical of the administration’s initial choice to prosecute DADT cases. I worked for more progressive health care reform legislation and supported organizations that resisted the reproductive rights “compromises” in the bill. I’ve been scathing in public remarks and writings about the President’s education policy. My husband leads a non-profit that is suing HUD for its implementation of a discriminatory formula in the post-Katrina Road Home program. The president has never called me. I got my ticket to the inauguration from Canada! (Because Canadian Broadcast Television who gave me a chance to narrate the day’s events.) But I can tell the difference between a substantive criticism and a personal attack. It is clear to me that West’s ego, not the health of American democracy, is the wounded creature in this story.
Few in new media started any earlier than I did researching and delving into Barack Obama’s record. Few have stayed on his case more closely, now going on four years. On foreign policy, Pres. Obama has been as scatalogical dart thrower, with no clear through line, which I’ve outlined step by agonizing step. His decision to go into Libya was a colossal blunder. I’m all ears for his speeches on the Middle East, then to AIPAC, but both seem like horrible missteps. However, I’m not going to get seduce into joining West’s ridiculous side show.
West even plays the Barack’s Not Black Enough card, which is so 2007.
“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.
Can Dr. West be this clueless about American politics? Evidently, but that he’s so willing to unpack it for all to see is stunning.
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. [...]
Nice closer, but doesn’t comport with reality, as we have a two-party duopoly that isn’t going anywhere as long as people rail at politicians instead of working to abolish the Electoral College. This is what really unmasks West’s emotionally unhinged attack on Pres. Obama. If he could put his own self-aggrandizing grievances aside and get to a path that leads people to empowerment that would be one thing. But instead West is gnashing his teeth for attention.
But you’d at least think a brother would give the boss some credit for the decision he made on the gutsy Seal Team 6 mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Tough crowd.