Cornel West vs. Barack Obama

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Cornel West may be a big man on campus, but Barack Obama is the president of the United States.

West might have been wise to consider this pecking order before calling the president “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” Such epithets hurled against Thomas Sowell or Allen West will boost their speaking fees. But tugging on the Chosen One’s cape is no way to ingratiate yourself to academia, Hollywood, the media, and other drivers of West’s gravy train who clearly value the president more than the professor.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West explained in an interview earlier this month. “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.”

Indonesia? Hawaii? The South Side of Chicago? They don’t exactly have the “white context” of say, Princeton, New Jersey, do they?

West questions not only the president’s racial heritage, but his mammalian status (“he lacks backbone”). The former transgression prompted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart to blog that “West is no better than a birther.”

West’s tirade has left some on the Left perplexed.’s Joan Walsh characterized the celebrity intellectual’s rant as a “tragic meltdown.” She posits that “maybe this is the way that identity politics has to end, not with a bang but a whine. Dizzying racial and personal insults have come from all directions, and they’re beginning to lose their meaning.”

Whereas the “meltdown” sparked in Walsh an epiphany about the identity politics she has so long embraced, Stanley Crouch maintains that West’s ugly outburst just confirms the conception of West that black thinkers have long held—but kept to themselves. “Serious black intellectuals privately dismissed West many years ago as no more than an academic loudmouth with a good show business game,” tartly claimed Crouch, who dubs the Princeton professor a “pompous, educated fool, drowning in narcissism.” The New York Daily News columnist wrote Monday: “Publicity, not scholarship, is his true tradition.” Ouch.

The outrage isn’t about the tactics. It’s about the target.

Such racial vituperation has been a staple West’s rhetorical arsenal for years. When West ridiculed Clarence Thomas’s “claims to black authenticity,” or dismissed him as a token, the Left didn’t merely tolerate this. They cheered wildly, making Race Matters a runaway bestseller. Now that a liberal African American president, rather than a conservative African American Supreme Court justice, is the focus of such ugly abuse through a racial lens, the Left is shocked, shocked.

It is strange that West’s appearance in two of the Matrix movies, or his reinvention as a rapper, didn’t prompt dismissals of him from Stanley Crouch as “an academic loudmouth with a good show business game.” Criticizing Barack Obama did. We do not know what Crouch thought privately about West. We do know that the public disavowals of West came only after he lambasted Obama.

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  • flyingtiger

    I have seen this before. Race baitor Jesse Jackson hated Harold Washington. Getting white people to vote for you causes you to lose your blackness

    • Dispozovdaburka

      Why would ANYBOY
      Yin their right mind
      listen to anyone
      who looks like
      Might as well be listening to Muslim convert to Christianit;y, like
      Rev. Wright.
      As my husband says
      "Everyone has an opinon
      just like everyone has an
      "something" else.

  • Jim

    Funny I agree with West about Obama being a puppet of corporate interests.
    But then again isn't most of congress also puppets for corporate interests.
    It isn't government regulation of business that is the problem
    ;it is business regulation of government.

    • G Carson

      Obummer is a puppet of the Bilderbergers, the New World Order people who will eventually form a one-world government. That's why Obummer doesn't care about the US-Mexican border problem. To him, failure of border security isn't a problem, it's an achievement.

    • Jim_C

      "Corporate puppets"–The problem is you need huge amounts of cash to be taken seriously as a candidate. This is why any average American will hear the sensible truth coming from third party candidates, but never actually consider voting for same. I always recall a discussion between Nader and Buchanan, after they lost, that was one of the most refreshingly candid and common sense things I'd heard. These guys act as kind of a release valve. Meanwhile, we are all to some extent "corporate puppets" in that we have much less say in the process.

      Conservatives are essentially right about excessive regulation. But by far the biggest problem is the revolving door between the business, regulating agencies, Congress and K street–there is no will to enforce, and much incentive to not enforce regulations. If regulations were enforced, certainly, you'd need fewer of them.

    • sky

      put the rothschilds,rockefellers,goldman sachs,JP Morgan,citibank and the other banks in other countries first. 6 million hits in 4 days patriotactionnetwork

  • Barbra Fortman

    West is getting more flack now because of this current target's position. Our president is extremely important and to have a loud mouth denigrate hilm is revolting. Who is he to say who is black enough, to say Barack lis afraid of black men?

    • Roger

      If Herman Cain earns the Republican nomination, America shall see how Obama reacts to, as Cain himself put it, competition from a "real" black man.

  • kenneth

    West is living proof that, an education does not make one smart and that, blacks can be racist!! That's what I think of MY BROTHER Cornell West.

  • Chezwick_mac

    A clarion exposition of liberal hypocrisy.

    • Jim_C

      Quite true, I admit, though many of us have never liked this guy.

  • jacob

    Paraphrasing and old proverb, THEY ARE WHITE AND CAN TAKE CARE OF IT BY THEMSELVES…

    Precedent ??

  • geez

    It must be horrible to live in a hate filled black and white world.

  • Truthtale

    Mr. West and President Obama make a very nice couple and Cornel is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    If there is anyone with a brain melt down than most ceranly it wil be the brains of
    Barack Hussein Obama.

  • Yekcim

    I watched one of those PBS specials hosted by Tavis Smiley and they had all the liberal "African Americans" on it and Mr. West was on the panel. They introduced them all like a WWF event and Mr West's opening salvo was so convoluted it was impossible to understand beyond the invective and pomposity. However, it could be I could not understand because of my pigmentation disorder.

    • scum

      Perhaps it was your lack of intellectual acumen…

      • USMCSniper

        I thought it was just another "hating whitey" rant from a man with an inferiority complex.

  • test

    "Crouch is not at heart a conservative, but defines himself by opposition to the destructive pieties which he sees coming from the Left. As a result, despite his pose of unsentimental high-mindedness, he can be distressingly soft-headed about right-wing platitudes.

  • G Carson

    Industrialists, bankers and weapons manufacturers control everything. Every president since Kennedy has been a puppet of the New World Order people. Yes, I will use the word 'conspiracy' since it's all done behind the scenes. It doesn't matter now who you vote for or who's in power. It's the same all over the free world. I believe communist China is the only exception and that's because the government there defends itself against foreign influence. It's like this: if the president of Monsanto wanted a bill passed into law and backed it up with economic consequences if his request was not granted, do you think the government would refuse?

    • HoR_Emperor

      Conspiracy fantasies have no place in grown-up discussions. Go peddle your malignant nonsense somewhere else.

    • John

      Sounds like you and West might have alot to talk about. You should give him a call and go have a beer together. I seriously doubt you'll solve anything but it will be a complaining session you'll remember for years to come.

    • sky

      END THE FED,End The WTO,&IMF and rid of the UN.They are the corrupt elitist.

  • 2cent

    This is another example of selective hearing that always highlights the wrong quotes and focuses on the least important aspect of a conversation. Barack is catering to wall st. which is something he must do, but 95% of black able voters had the presidents back, he should be addressing poor and working poor black issues on the basis that they represent a very, very large part of his votes. Black poor ppl do not have a voice at the white house, al sharpton has his on agenda. Cornel West is a truth speaker whether you like it or not, he don’t say what ppl wanna here, and he makes ppl uncomfortable which is a good thing. All these ppl are millionaires including the president, say they understand the struggles of poverty stricken ppl, but how can you really understand if you spend most of your time with your millionaire friends, instead of those who don’t have food at night.

  • tagalog

    Look at the photograph of Cornel West at the top of this commentary. Does he look like the kind of intellectual we want to be setting our cultural boundaries?

    • scum

      He looks alot like Horowitz did at Brooklyn College – seething, spitting…

      • HoR_Emperor

        You look like a troll. Snarling, sniping…

      • tagalog

        I suppose it would be too much to expect you to answer my question.

    • Robert

      If you take 500 pictures of anyone making an impassioned speech (or delivering a sermon for that matter), it is easy to find a few shots that make the person look like Hitler or the Joker or whatever.

  • Jim_C

    "Suddenly discover?" I've known Cornell West was an a-hole from the minute I first heard him "my brutha" his way through a load of malarkey.

  • theleastthreat

    This may siganl the beginning of West's re-education. Remind him not to be so counter-revolutionary.

  • scum

    So now you're saying a birther is bad? LOL LOL

  • BLJ

    This guy looks like Grady from Sanford and Son. The only difference is Grady was funny and not a commie scumbag.

    • Jim_C

      "Good goobledy goo, Fred!"

  • Questions

    Cornel West looks and talks like a Black Panther throwback. He's a professional black whose entire Ivy League career owes itself to his racial grievance-mongering. That the Wachowski Brothers gave him about 10 seconds of speaking time in "The Matrix Unloaded" still doesn't make him cool.

    • Questions

      Ah, that would be "The Matrix Reloaded" — my street cred is on the line.

  • av m

    I liked his book till I imagine grading it as a term paper. 6*-“!

  • cruypticguise

    “…pompous, educated fool, drowning in narcissism…" suggests Stanley Crouch. I think that is giving this affirmative action pseudo-intellectual CLOWNtoo much credit.


    STAY FOCUSED! It does not exclude the fact Dr West raises. The fact that President Obama MUST address the needs of the poor and suffering people in our country. (If he is to remain President of the United States)

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Cornel West, Barry Obama and Rodney King, one out of three just
    want's to get along, the other two can not put down their intellectual
    larceny, graft, corruption of all things good and true. I have more
    respect for Rodney who has some modicum of pity coming……….William

  • Maxie

    Cornel West is the poster boy for white liberal guilt-assuagement via affirmative action in Academia. Wests' schtick is delivering polysyllabic gibbersh which has to be applauded by the guilty as if actually made sense. Hypocritical Lefties got what they deserve and they're stuck with him. West epitomizes the whole of counterproductive, perverse Leftism. Live with it Lefties.

  • Ex Leftist

    Obama is a buffoon, West is an imbecile.

  • Mike in VA

    Brilliant article! Mr. Flynn made an observation that struck me the moment West shot off his big, stupid race-baiting mouth:

    "Indonesia? Hawaii? The South Side of Chicago? They don’t exactly have the “white context” of say, Princeton, New Jersey, do they?"

    If West were half as "authentic" as he claimed to be, he wouldn't be teaching at a lilly-white Ivy League institution such as Harvard – he'd be teaching at a traditionally black university such as Virginia Union. But, as a friend of mine pointed out, West wouldn't be "special" if he taught at a school like VUU…

    • Mike in VA

      Correction: I meant to state if West were half as "authentic" as he claimed to be, he wouldn't be teaching at a lilly-white Ivy League institution such as Princeton. Harvard is the OTHER lilly-white Ivy League institution that provided Mr. West a platform to spew his racist demagoguery…

  • Questions

    Call me elitist, but I have no problem with "lily-white" colleges and universities. Those are ones in which learning flourishes best. (Were that Ivy League schools were that exclusive, as they once were.) Would you really want your kids to attend a place like Virginia Union? I wouldn't want mine to attend.

  • JD Rose

    Look at West's hate filled eyes. Looks like an ayatollah to me.

  • lmferg

    Now Obama knows how that Cambridge cop felt during one of Wests' tirades.

    • lmferg

      Sorry. That was Henry Louis Gates. Somehow I conflated the two.

      • rdb3

        Six in one hand, half of a dozen in the other. Gates and West are almost the same.

  • BS77

    Only in modern day academia can such an idiot be called a "professor", get tenure, appear on television panels as an "expert" or intellectual "authority. Pathetic.

  • AB7

    Seeing West on C-SPAN I was always reminded of the Oswald Bates sketches from the often very funny Living Color comedy show.

    From Wikipedia – Oswald Bates – Damon Wayans plays an eloquent prison inmate whose vocabulary is full of malapropisms, more often than not misusing anatomical terms and words for bodily functions. "Unfortunately, we could not impregnate everyone. It is simply beyond our colonic threshold." "I believe it was Plato…No, excuse me, I mean Play-Doh…who stuck to the wall when he said one must not put one's transvestite in jeopardy if one is to become a cunning linguist".

  • PAthena

    Cornel West is at Princeton University, which hired him after the president of Harvard brought him to task for not doing academic work.

  • osho 2x

    Talk about obama's policies and we need to say to NO more!
    Wall St. booming and main street looking for another low
    paying job. Just look at your own family, why you probably
    have kids at home yourself.



  • aspacia

    Academia will turn on him, and expel him just as they expelled Ward Churchill.