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Frank writes: "Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way."

Cornel West. (photo: Albert H. Teich via Shutterstock.com)
Cornel West. (photo: Albert H. Teich via Shutterstock.com)


Cornel West on Obama: "He Posed as a Progressive and Turned Out to Be Counterfeit"

By Thomas Frank, Salon

24 August 14

 

ornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.

I first met him nearly six years ago, while the financial crisis and the presidential election were both under way, and I was much impressed by what he had to say. I got back in touch with him last week, to see how he assesses the nation’s progress since then.

The conversation ranged from Washington, D.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, and although the picture of the nation was sometimes bleak, our talk ended on a surprising note.

Last time we talked it was almost six years ago. It was a panel discussion The New Yorker magazine had set up, it was in the fall of 2008, so it was while the financial crisis was happening, while it was actually in progress. The economy was crumbling and everybody was panicking. I remember you  speaking about the financial crisis in a way that I thought made sense. There was a lot of confusion at the time. People didn’t know where to turn or what was going on. 

I also remember, and this is just me I’m talking about, being impressed by Barack Obama who was running for president at the time. I don’t know if you and I talked about him on that occasion. But at the time, I sometimes thought that he looked like he had what this country needed.

So that’s my first question, it’s a lot of ground to cover but how do you feel things have worked out since then, both with the economy and with this president? That was a huge turning point, that moment in 2008, and my own feeling is that we didn’t turn.

No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.

That’s exactly what everyone was saying at the time.

That’s right. That’s true. It was like, “We finally got somebody who can help us turn the corner.” And he posed as if he was a kind of Lincoln.

Yeah. That’s what everyone was saying.

And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.

When you say you got hit hard, are you talking about the personal confrontation you had with him?

I’m just thinking about the vicious attacks of the Obama cheerleaders.

The personal confrontation you had with him is kind of famous. He got angry at you because you were saying he wasn’t progressive enough.

I just looked at him like “C’mon, man. Let the facts speak for themselves. I’m not into this rhetorical exchange.”

Is there anybody who thinks he’s progressive enough today?

Nobody I know. Not even among the progressive liberals. Nobody I know. Part of this, as you can imagine, is that early on there was a strong private-public distinction. People would come to me and say privately, “We see what you’re saying. We think you’re too harsh in how you say it but we agree very much with what you’re saying in private.” In public, no comment. Now, more and more of it spills over in public.

There’s a lot of disillusionment now. My liberal friends included. The phrase that I have heard from more than one person in the last year is they feel like they got played.

That’s true. That’s exactly right. What I hear is that, “He pimped us.” I heard that a zillion times. “He pimped us, brother West.” That’s another way of saying “we got played.”

You remember that enthusiasm in 2008. I’m from Kansas City. He came and spoke in Kansas City and 75,000 people came to see him.

Oh yeah. Well we know there were moments in Portland, Oregon, there were moments in Seattle. He had the country in the palm of his hand in terms of progressive possibilities.

What on earth ails the man? Why can’t he fight the Republicans? Why does he need to seek a grand bargain?

I think Obama, his modus operandi going all the way back to when he was head of the [Harvard] Law Review, first editor of the Law Review and didn’t have a piece in the Law Review. He was chosen because he always occupied the middle ground. He doesn’t realize that a great leader, a statesperson, doesn’t just occupy middle ground. They occupy higher ground or the moral ground or even sometimes the holy ground. But the middle ground is not the place to go if you’re going to show courage and vision. And I think that’s his modus operandi. He always moves to the middle ground. It turned out that historically, this was not a moment for a middle-ground politician. We needed a high-ground statesperson and it’s clear now he’s not the one.

And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.

The rule of law, oh my God. There’s one law for us and another law if you work on Wall Street.

That’s exactly right. Even with [Attorney General] Eric Holder. Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all. The same is true with the Robert Rubin crowd. Obama comes in, he’s got all this populist rhetoric which is wonderful, progressive populist rhetoric which we needed badly. What does he do, goes straight to the Robert Rubin crowd and here comes Larry Summers, here comes Tim Geithner, we can go on and on and on, and he allows them to run things. You see it in the Suskind book, The Confidence Men. These guys are running things, and these are neoliberal, deregulating free marketeers—and poverty is not even an afterthought for them.

They’re the same ones who screwed it up before.

Absolutely.

That was the worst moment [when he brought in the Rubin protégés].

We tried to point that out as soon as he became part of the Rubin stable, part of the Rubin group, and people didn’t want to hear it for the most part. They didn’t want to hear it.

Now it’s six years later and the search for the Grand Bargain has been fruitless. Why does he persist? I shouldn’t be asking you to psychologize him…

I think part of it is just temperament. That his success has been predicated on finding that middle ground. “We’re not black. We’re not white. We’re not rich. We’re not poor. There’s no classes in America. We are all Americans. We’re the American family.” He invoked the American family last week. It’s a lie, brother. You’ve got to be able to tell the truth to the American people. We’re not a family. We’re a people. We’re a nation. And a nation always has divisions. You have to be able to speak to those divisions in such a way that, like FDR, like Lincoln, you’re able to somehow pull out the best of who we are, given the divisions. You don’t try to act as if we have no divisions and we’re just an American family, with the poor getting treated in disgraceful ways and the rich walking off sipping tea, with no accountability at all, and your foreign policy is running amok with Israelis committing war crimes against precious Palestinians and you won’t say a mumbling word about the Palestinian children. What is history going to say about you? Counterfeit! That’s what they’ll say, counterfeit. Not the real thing.

Let’s talk about Ferguson. All I know about it is what I’ve been reading in the newspapers; I haven’t been out there. But I feel like there’s a lot more going on there than this one tragic killing.

Oh, absolutely. I mean, one, we know that this is a systemic thing. This thing has been going on—we can hardly get a word out of the administration in terms of the arbitrary police power. I’ll give you a good example: Carl Dix and I, three years ago, we went to jail over stop and frisk. We had a week-long trial and we were convicted, we were guilty. While the trial was going on, President Obama came into New York and said two things: He said that Michael Bloomberg was a terrific mayor even though he had stopped and frisked over four and a half million since 2002. Then he went onto say that Ed Koch was one of the greatest mayors in the last 50 years. This is right at a time when we’re dealing with stop and frisk, arbitrary police power, and Bloomberg is extending stop and frisk and proud of it. At least Bloomberg is honest about it. Bill De Blasio is just trying to walk a tightrope in this regard. At least Bloomberg was honest about it. He was glad that stop and frisk was in place. When we went to jail he said, “Y’all are wrong. If stop and frisk is stopped, then crime is going to go up…”

I just give you that as an example in terms of arbitrary police power because in Ferguson we’re talking about arbitrary police power, and this particular instance of it has been going on for a long time. The Obama administration has been silent. Completely silent. All of a sudden now, you get this uprising and what is the response? Well, as we know, you send out a statement on the death of brother Robin Williams before you sent out a statement on brother Michael Brown. The family asked for an autopsy at the Federal level, they hold back, so they [the family] have to go and get their own autopsy, and then the federal government finally responds. [Obama] sends Eric, Eric’s on the way out. Eric Holder’s going to be gone by December.

Oh, is he?

Yeah, he’s already said, this is it. He’s concerned about his legacy as if he’s somehow been swinging for black folk ever since he’s been in there. That’s a lie. He’s been silent, too. He’s been relatively silent. He’s made a couple of gestures in regards to the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex, but that’s just lately, on his way out. He was there for six years and didn’t do nothing. See what I mean?

I see exactly what you mean, but I look at the pictures at Ferguson and it looks like it could be anywhere in America, you know.

Absolutely. It looks like it could be New York, Chicago, Atlanta, L.A. It’s like they’re lucky that it hasn’t hit New York, Chicago, L.A. yet, you know.

When they rolled out the militarized police, it frightened people. Something is going on here. It’s not breaking down the way it usually does. People are reacting to this in a different way.

That’s true. It’s a great moment, but let me tell you this though. Because what happens is you got Eric Holder going in trying to create the calm. But you also got Al Sharpton. And when you say the name Al Sharpton, the word integrity does not come to mind. So you got low-quality black leadership. Al Sharpton is who? He’s a cheerleader for Obama.

I haven’t followed him for years; I didn’t know that.

He meets with the president regularly.

I did not know that.

On his show on MSNBC…

I knew he had a show, I just…I guess I don’t watch it enough.

You gotta check that out, brother.

That’s the problem with me, I don’t watch enough TV.

It’s probably good for your soul but you still have to be informed about how decadent things are out here. But, no: MSNBC, state press, it’s all Obama propaganda, and Sharpton is the worst. Sharpton said explicitly, I will never say a critical word about the president under any condition. That’s why he can’t stand what I’m saying. He can’t stand what I do because, for him, it’s an act of racial traitorship to be critical of the president. There’s no prophetic integrity in his leadership.

I understand that. I think a lot of people feel that way. Not just in a racial sense but because Obama’s a Democrat. People feel that way in a partisan sense.

I think that’s true too. You have had some Democrats who’ve had some criticisms of the president. You’ve got some senator that has been critical about his violation of civil liberties and so forth, and rightly so. But Sharpton, and I mention Sharpton because Sharpton is the major black leader who is called on to deal with arbitrary police power. So, Trayvon Martin, what did he do? You got all this black rage down there calling for justice. Has there been justice for Trayvon Martin? Has the Department of Justice done anything for the Trayvon Martin case? None whatsoever. The same is true now with Ferguson. They call Sharpton down. He poses, he postures like he’s so radical. But he is a cheerleader for the Obama administration which means, he’s going to do what he can to filter that rage in neoliberal forms, rather than for truth and justice.

One last thing, where are we going from here? What comes next?

I think a post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression. Because the levels of disillusionment are so deep. Thank God for the new wave of young and prophetic leadership, as with Rev. William Barber, Philip Agnew, and others. But look who’s around the presidential corner. Oh my God, here comes another neo-liberal opportunist par excellence. Hillary herself is coming around the corner. It’s much worse. And you say, “My God, we are an empire in decline.” A culture in decay with a political system that’s dysfunctional, youth who are yearning for something better but our system doesn’t provide them democratic venues, and so all we have are just voices in the wilderness and certain truth-tellers just trying to keep alive some memories of when we had some serious, serious movements and leaders.

One last thought, I was talking to a friend recently and we were saying, if things go the way they look like they’re going to go and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and then wins a second term, the next time there’ll be a chance for a liberal, progressive president is 2024.

It’d be about over then, brother. I think at that point—Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.

I know, I always like to leave things on a pessimistic note. I’m sorry. It’s just my nature.

It’s not pessimistic, brother, because this is the blues. We are blues people. The blues aren’t pessimistic. We’re prisoners of hope but we tell the truth and the truth is dark. That’s different.


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+101 # angryspittle 2014-08-24 13:04
I've said it for several years now, Obama talks the talk but he is a damn paraplegic.
 
 
+35 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-24 22:30
Speaking of hope. Ben Franklin:"he who lives on hope will die farting." No, I did not make that up. I'm not smart enough to compete with Ben Franklin's intellect.
 
 
+41 # ritawalpoleague 2014-08-25 00:08
Yep, angryspittle. I've renamed him Pres. Oh Bomb Ah, and labeled him the Disappointment of the Century.

Time we dumbed down sheeple wake up, and refuse to be conned again by yet another sham whom I've renamed Hill the Shill. Makes me want to puke, each time I read it or hear it: Hillary Clinton is the inevitable Dem. candidate for pres. in '16. Ugh.
 
 
+27 # Douglas Jack 2014-08-25 06:15
What Cornell speaks to is the shallowness of colonial America's liberalism, progressives, Democrats, whatever we might want to call ourselves. 350 years since invading & destroying 10s of 1000s of years of 1st Nation heritage & the amazingly productive biosphere Polyculture Orchards they nurtured, all we can do is make phoney amends for people from a sister continent we also colonized. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-indigenous-welcome-orchard-food-production-efficiencies

Life goes much much deeper & we're going the lifeless way of planets Mars & Venus, while false colonial 'progressives' dither in the land of self-image. "When Narcissus sees his reflection in the water of the pool he falls hopelessly in love—with himself. Unable to capture his reflection, Narcissus stays by the pond until he starves to death."

If progressives are going to leave a living planet not destroyed by the nuclear war being shoved into Russia's face on Ukrainian soil by western trillionaire oligarchs, to even the next generation, then its essential that we get our act together. Its about plugging into our pre-colonial 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') cultural worldview, recapturing the souls we check into the hat-lady everytime we walk into the institutions which possess us. If we can't re-appropriate mutual-aid among ourselves & get off the back of the world, we've cooked the planet's future. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/2-mutual-aid
 
 
+9 # dquandle 2014-08-25 12:43
Not paraplegic. Criminal.
 
 
-21 # Caliban 2014-08-26 00:16
After reading West with considerable attention, I'd say he's fast with the opinions but slow with the facts. He seems to believe that moving the country to the center from the Bushian right is nothing; that working hard to end the Bush wars is nothing; that sending the Attorney General to Ferguson is nothing. Sorry, Cornel, it's your critique that is nothing--except hot air, maybe.
 
 
-8 # Caliban 2014-08-27 23:03
Don't like Obama? Then join up with Cornell West and Mitch McConnell (see the McConnell piece elsewhere here)--birds of a feather on that issues. Shame on both of them.
 
 
+50 # cymricmorty 2014-08-24 15:13
This is the first time I've heard of Cornel West, and I would like to hear more from him.
 
 
+45 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-24 22:32
He appears from time to time as a favorite on Bill Maher's show, "Real Time With Bill Maher." Cornel West is tuned in and smart. And no, I'm not black. If I were black, my thoughts toward him would be as sincere. I do think Obama will be remembered for his efforts and success in reigning in the horribly savage, unbelievably corrupt insurance industry. What we have is a start toward a more compassionate (by law) and not by choice of the insurance industry executive bastards.
 
 
+11 # cymricmorty 2014-08-25 08:53
Thank you. I got rid of cable and several months later find I am not even watching TV.
 
 
+5 # restore2america 2014-08-28 06:59
I cannot understand how Obama has reigned in the insurance industry. That would require single payer, which we desperately need. Insurance should never be a for-profit business because it becomes extortion and fraud when it is. And Obama did nothing to rein in the insurance and financial company theft of millions of home owned by the middle class and poor. IMO Obama will be remembered as the turncoat who continued Cheney's war on We the People, who helped corporations and the rich take more, and who finished Cheney's attack on our civil rights.
 
 
-36 # secular 2014-08-25 13:58
A little of Cornel's schtick goes a long way. Brother this. Brother that. Precious Palestinians. Justice for Trayvon.
Maybe Zimmerman was overzealous in patrolling his neighborhood, but Trayvon Martin punched Zimmerman, broke his nose, and was beating his head against the cement walkway and threatening to kill him before he was shot. A jury unanimously acquitted Zimmerman.
Cornell West has his nose out of joint because he wanted to be a go-to advisor for Obama and is bitter because it didn't work out for him.
 
 
+31 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-25 14:12
You say, "Maybe Zimmerman was overzealous in patrolling his neighborhood..........."
Sounds like Zimmerman was a high school loser who wanted to take his place in a police department to strike back @ society.
Oh, by the way, did you mention Zimmerman killed someone? Well what the hell. He was just overzealous. Can't blame Zimmerman for "normal" behavior in a "right to kill" state. Trayvon was desperately trying in protect himself against a whaco who had a gun. Trayvon's crime was he was black and wearing a hoodie and he was pursued by a maladjusted individual filled with hatred. The jury forgot those details. Former president Jimmy Carter said "the jury made the right decision based on the presented evidence." Which is to say, not all the evidence was presented.
 
 
-14 # secular 2014-08-26 16:03
No, Eldon, I didn't forget anything. I actually read the trial testimony, which you obviously did not.
Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman, punched him in the face, and was beating his head against the cement before he knew Zimmerman had a gun. Trayvon wasn't "desperately trying to protect himself." He was the aggressor. The jury - that heard the evidence - reached the correct verdict based on what was before them.
 
 
+9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-27 06:46
Thanks, but I see lots of "Fairy Dust" in your assessment of what actually happened. Interesting how a pseudo cop who had a gun was not the aggressor. Subsequently,Zi mmerman threatened his wife with a gun. She divorced him. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Former president Jimmy Carter summed it up, "the jury made the right decision based on the presented evidence." What Jimmy Carter was saying, "not all the evidence was presented."
 
 
+4 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-27 15:18
Like you say, "....based on what was before them." Jimmy Carter said the same thing. What do you know about the prosecuting attorney? If you were a father with a daughter about Zimmerman's age ,would you permit Zimmerman to date her? Your testimony is a joke. Why would a person punch someone in the face and as you say "beat his head against the concrete" if he was not being fearful for his life. You know, if I were threatened by someone with a gun, I would fight back if I could before that person shot me.
 
 
-165 # photonracer 2014-08-24 16:05
Cornell West, all hot air. Why doesn't Cornell get funding and become an elected people's representative? Cornell is just another jabbering head who sucks resources to promote his own elitist consumerism. Worthless as tits on a boar hog.
 
 
+116 # PeacefulGarden 2014-08-24 20:19
Did you spit tobacco juice into an old dixie cup after your wrote the bit about the tits on boar hog? And then scratch some fuzz of your belly, and burp, and then fart, and then call your mama and tell her you need some money, and then put up a Confederate flag above your bed, and then go to a gun show.... and then go buy some beef jerky, and start all over again.
 
 
+65 # Majikman 2014-08-24 23:54
Peaceful...I can't breathe for laughing.
 
 
0 # cwbystache 2014-08-25 07:28
How eerily like an old poster I'd once seen, made by the Nazis, pointing out those telltale physical clues you'll need to compare to your neighbors' faces so you can tip off the authorities that they're Jews.
 
 
+17 # PeacefulGarden 2014-08-25 10:36
I am struck by the Nazi/Jew comparison? I am also utterly confused by it. Are you calling me a Liberal Nazi because I quickly identified the low social status of the "tits on a boar hog" line?

I pause, here.... and think.... and I still don't get it. Can you please clarify?
 
 
-75 # Rain17 2014-08-24 21:52
The more serious point is that Cornel West can sit out there from his ivory tower in academia and criticize Obama, knowing that West himself will never have to face the voters, let alone take office, and enact an agenda over an intransigent opposition who has no intention of working with him on anything.
 
 
+38 # alanvance 2014-08-25 09:29
Why should it be necessary to run for office - because that is the meaning of "face the voters" - to achieve credibility? Mark Twain never ran for office. Dorothy Day never ran for office. Noam Chomsky and Gloria Steinem never ran for office. All were or are persuasive. All were or are regarded by substantial numbers of people as worth listening to. Of all the academics, from those in Harvard to those at Panhandle State U, Cornel West is among the least vulnerable to the charge that he dwells in an ivory tower.
 
 
0 # Cappucino 2014-08-25 09:58
YOu're right, but you're not going to get very far around here...
 
 
+23 # phrixus 2014-08-25 07:15
A classic example of shooting the messenger.
 
 
+8 # kalpal 2014-08-25 11:52
When one has the ovesized ego to contemplate the pain of running for president, one must be minutely examined for insanity and chronic lying.

I find it laughable that any critic of Obama is accused of lacking the cojones to run for president and correct our national ills.

Probably less than 1000 Americans in all of this nation's history have effectively competed for the office. Less than 4 dozen have succeeded.

The trouble with the silly accusations is that their underlying assumption is the president can behave like a typical dictator and act without much if any congressional input.

Perhaps a civics class should be mandatory before anyone can spout twaddle and drivel no matter exceptional an American they believe themselves to be.
 
 
+114 # Capn Canard 2014-08-24 16:32
Cornell West nails it...
 
 
-71 # Rain17 2014-08-24 21:50
And the other reality is that Cornel West, from his perch in academia, can sit here and blame Obama for failing to bring Nirvana, knowing that West himself will never have to face the voters, let alone win an election, take office, and actually have to implement an agenda.
 
 
+57 # Floe 2014-08-24 22:57
Maybe that's not in him to do, that's for others. He's just someone who has wisdom and perhaps we should take note. Others can concern themselves with votes. You can't use your brain for running and being a political observer at the same time.
 
 
+71 # modernjacobin 2014-08-24 23:47
Agreed. Cornel West is more like a Thomas Paine or Malcolm X--i.e., a visionary--than anything else. (And speaking of West and Paine, there is an excellent video of Hedges and WEst discussing Paine at the most recent Left Forum.)

At any rate, we need our radicals and progressives, whether politicians or not. Without them, there would have been no American revolution. Labor rights. Women's rights. Someone has to be out there pushing the envelope, prodding our establishment politicians who, alas, are all too satisfied with appeasing the status quo in order to maintain their own .01% lifestyles.
 
 
+13 # tswhiskers 2014-08-25 09:26
I would agree with modernjacobin if Obama was still in his 1st term. But since he is in his 2d term I am more and more disappointed that Obama hasn't felt freer to act the liberal without constraint. West is an academic without a political constituency and so able to afford to speak his mind. Obama has done a lot of good esp. in his 1st term; but I suspect that the term "Eisenhower Republican" is probably an accurate description of his real politics. Even so, by those lights he is still called a socialist by the far right wingnut crowd.
 
 
+28 # modernjacobin 2014-08-25 11:16
Personally, like others here, Obama began to disappoint me when he appointed Geithner and Summers (who sought to get rid of West at Harvard)--and then when he turned around on the subject of a possible investigation and prosecution of GWB, saying we must look forwards, not backward." I lost any enthusiasm I had when he refused to push the public option hard enough (according to Reid). By the time he let the Bush tax cuts continue, I was no longer surprised: how sad it was that it was left to others like Sanders to wage an 8 hr. filibuster. Not to mention O's appointment of the clueless "superteam" (whatever) of 1%ers to recommend austerity.

Obama--unlike West--is your typical elite graduate who has decided that he just wants to be one of the "cool" people. Just as he once wanted to be a model at Harvard (hey, looks and brains too!), he wanted to become the next Clinton: which is all about pretending to be egalitarian while pandering to the 1%. It's the type that wants the glamorous life (cue in Sheila E's 80s' hit!), glamorous wife, kids in private schools, Martha's vineyard vacays, the right friends--i.e., Wall Streeters. while pretending that equal opportunities do exist for all. Hence, his cautious backing of Henry Louis Gates in "beergate," his distancing from Scott Walker's Dem opponent in 2012, and Ferguson. All different scenarios, but all indicating a patent disregard for the 99%. Actions speak louder than words.
 
 
+16 # modernjacobin 2014-08-25 11:21
Just wanted to add: the Repugs will call Obama any name in the book just because they hate his color. That's where their hatred begins and ends--apart from the fact that they regard the Democratic party as the party of minorities (welfare cheats, as they call them). G-O-Pee/Flea party opinions would be real joke were it not for the fact that they have dangerous repercussions on the rest of us.
 
 
+2 # alanvance 2014-08-25 09:33
This is a silly critique. Changing the subject is no defense of that which you clearly hope to defend.
 
 
+69 # PeacefulGarden 2014-08-24 20:12
"It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin." Now that is the quote of the year.

I love you Cornel. You can come to my house for dinner anytime. We brew our own wine too, from our own vineyard.

I miss the days of John Coltrane. Yeah, Obama has dollars signs in his eyes, like Kenny G's music.
 
 
+6 # indian weaver 2014-08-25 05:54
Anyhow, Kenny G's music is perfect for the beach life in San Diego. That's what made him $millions. That is end of story. He's only a musician. We need Neil Young' "Looking for a Leader" as our "theme song" now (hear it on Young's video - his best driving, blues song ever.)
 
 
+7 # Jackiet 2014-08-25 05:58
The best line in the piece for sure, KennyG indeed!
 
 
-2 # Caliban 2014-08-27 23:26
Funny but false.
 
 
+8 # Cassandra2012 2014-08-25 13:55
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
"It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin." Now that is the quote of the year.

I miss the days of John Coltrane. Yeah, Obama has dollars signs in his eyes, like Kenny G's music.


Maybe what he has in his eyes are pictures of JFK's corpse and blood all over Jackie's pink Chanel suit? He has two little girls, and who knows what threats the 'shadow gov't. has made?
 
 
-45 # Rain17 2014-08-24 21:49
I guess that I should care about what Cornel West has to say; but, after he aggressively pushed for Nader in 2000, I don't. He helped elect President Bush, who did absolutely nothing for black people.

Obama has had to face a political opposition who refuses to work with him on anything. Given these obstacles, although I think he wasted too much time on "bipartisan" the first two years, I think he has done as good of a job as anyone could realistically expect.

I agree that Obama has not been perfect, but let's be honest. Very few Democrats who could actually win an election would ever satisfy some people here at RSN. Some people here just demand the politically impossible and then sulk and either threaten to vote third party or not vote at all whenever any Democrat falls short of those unrealistic demands.
 
 
+61 # Floe 2014-08-24 22:59
Boy you're really blind! Obama didn't have to continue the Bush tax cuts, and he could have stopped the Keystone Pipeline by now. Both those things had nothing to do with the Republicans. And if Obama couldn't handle his foes, why did he run for a second term. Sure looks like he's having a hard time figuring how to deal with Republicans when he goes golfing so much. Wake the hell up dude.
 
 
+35 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-08-25 08:32
& Obama didn't have to give the Torturers a Get Out of Jail Free card, too.
 
 
+32 # cymricmorty 2014-08-25 09:01
Or throw whistle-blowers under the bus. Or offer Social Security chained CPI to the repubs. Or...
 
 
+26 # Saberoff 2014-08-25 09:05
Yes Kootenay, & Obama didn't have to let the Bush Crime Family off the hook after he promised accountability!
 
 
+37 # glyde 2014-08-25 00:02
If Gore had campaigned in his home state of Tennessee, and won its electoral votes, he would have won the WH without Florida. Nader was not the cause of his "defeat" but he himself alone.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-08-25 21:24
I'm sorry but I am sick of the Nader apologists who continue to rationalize their role in the disaster that was the 2000 election. West knew Nader had no chance of winning and that Bush would do nothing for blacks. Yet he pushed for Nader anyway.
 
 
+17 # glyde 2014-08-25 00:04
If Gore had bothered to campaign in his home state of Tennessee and won its electoral votes, he would not have needed those of Florida, and he would have been elected easily. Don't blame Nader.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-08-25 21:31
I will blame Nader. He intentionally ran to defeat Gore. And he even said as much in interviews.
 
 
+39 # Jackiet 2014-08-25 05:59
No, Florida and the Supreme Court elected Bus, not Nader and West.
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2014-08-25 21:31
Without Nader there would have been no Supreme Court case.
 
 
+28 # WestWinds 2014-08-25 08:46
Quoting Rain17:
I guess that I should care about what Cornel West has to say; but, after he aggressively pushed for Nader in 2000, I don't. He helped elect President Bush, who did absolutely nothing for black people.


--- I don't agree. Jeb Bush calling the 2000 election, followed by Katherine Harris (then Sec. of (FL) State) hiding over 2,000 ballots in her office closet for over two years, together with the Supreme (Right-wing) Circus of the United States (SCOTUS) stopping the vote counting in Floriduh had much to do with the results of that election.

All this blaming Nader is the Right-wing drawing attention away from the fact that then Governor of FL, Jeb Bush LIED by telling his cousin, John Prescott Ellis (a Fox News consultant) to go ahead and call the election for Dubya KNOWING it was a BIG FAT REPUBLICAN LIE!!!

So, please get off the Nader riff. That's just a diversionary tactic to draw fire from the REAL Right-wing snakes in the grass.
 
 
0 # brenda 2014-08-25 09:05
I agree with you, Rain17, Barack Obama is the best President we've had for a long time. Being involved with LGBT human rights, Obama is as Progressive as he can be. So much so that the Repugnicans want to impeach him. I still have his back.
 
 
+17 # alanvance 2014-08-25 09:46
Al Gore could have won if he had carried his home state. Al Gore would have won if he had insisted upon a full recount in Florida. Al Gore could have won with a proper understanding of Social Security and a determination to defend it. Blaming Nader for Al Gore's inadequacies is silly. As for your third paragraph, Democrats willing to emulate the New Deal in energy and solidarity with the majority of voters west of Wall Street could have won many elections from the 1960s on.
 
 
+1 # BeamMeUp 2016-01-21 10:06
As it was, Gore scored over 1/2 million more (popular) votes than Bush. Since a 'democracy' should reflect the wishes of the majority, the electoral college should be abolished and every election decided by the popular vote. Period. Imagine what the world would look like today if GW had never set foot in the WH.
 
 
-4 # pegasus4508 2014-08-25 12:58
Rain, you hit that nail on the head. I have held that against Cornell West for years. Guess hindsight 20/20 after all. He is no different than the rest of us. Obama has too much GIVE in his spirit. He needs to understand how to bend folks to his will, not the other way around. Pity, what a waste of talent.
 
 
+6 # shawnsargent2000 2014-08-26 14:04
If Nader had won. You mean if Nader had ben allowed to debate, then he would have won in 2000.
Then we wouldn't have had Bush, and this story would be different.
Obama is an appeaser, and I am thoroughly disgusted with him on a number of issues.
The two most important; No Trial for War Crimes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the lot, for an illegal war in Iraq, and No trials or prosecutions held for the Banksters that nearly destroyed the World Economy.
No Cornell hit it right on the nose, Obama has "pimped us all" and it will take a long time before we can right this ship.
The truth is hard to take; but it needs to get out, and then we need to decide what to do with the information we have been given, and act on it.
 
 
+23 # torch and pitchfork 2014-08-24 21:58
Obama reminds me of the matchbook drawings of the 98 pound weakling who keeps getting sand kicked in his face. He's a gentle man, well meaning, but we needed a street fighter. That being said, the Republicans and the collective ignorance of our population will take the blame when the history of this sorry decline is etched in stone.
 
 
+41 # modernjacobin 2014-08-24 23:54
Actually, it's a problem that is common to the vast majority of our Democrats: always happily wagging their tails in canine fashion in the presence of the fatcats on Wall Street and the rabid Republican rats. (Maybe that's how these Dems got the "Blue dog" moniker?) And when in doubt, play dead! I'm referring to those who cringe at the word "liberal" and pretend that the way to win is to reject all that the Democratic party has embraced. Utterly disgraceful.
 
 
+20 # tigerlillie 2014-08-25 08:09
'Obama a gentle man who keeps getting sand kicked in his face.'

Are you nuts? The man who bragged that it turns out he is good at killng, who compiles weekly kill lists, who has no regard for numerous civillian deaths as a by product of the drone assassination program he thinks is so great...? No, he is not a gentle man. He is a corrupt man.
 
 
-4 # Caliban 2014-08-26 09:16
Foolish lies.
 
 
+29 # lorenbliss 2014-08-24 22:21
"A brown-faced Clinton"? That would surely be an improvement over what we actually got: a brown-faced Richard Milhous Nixon. Otherwise I am in complete agreement with Mr. West.
 
 
+13 # tigerlillie 2014-08-25 08:11
Oh please, Nixon was infinitely preferable to Obama. The corruption of the Nixon era doesn't even compare to the corruption of the Bush-Obama era. At least the courts still functioned...mo re or less.
 
 
+5 # lorenbliss 2014-08-28 02:40
Apparently you weren't around when Tricky Dick was president. I was; moreover I was at that time still part of the working press.

Read a non-revisionist history of the era, you'll discover Nixon intended to do everything Obama has done -- that is, fulfill the intentions of the original Bankers Plot conspirators and turn the U.S. into an openly fascist imperial state.

The Bankers Plotters attempted a military coup that would have made us the fourth partner in the Rome-Berlin-Tok yo Axis.

Nixon actually contemplated suspending the 1972 elections.

The infinitely sneakier Obama -- a white Republican neo-fascist hiding in the body of an African-America n Democrat -- has totally and irrevocably nullified the Bill of Rights.

Ruling Class methods change even as the goals and objectives -- capitalism's inevitable transformation to fascism -- remain the same.

Thus has Obama cleared the way for the fascist tyranny the Republicans -- the overtly fascist half of the one U.S. Ruling Class party of two names -- will impose after their landslide victories this fall and in 2016.

Thus too will the sons and grandsons of the original Bankers Plotters -- the hereditary One Percent -- make their ancestors' evil dream become our species' terminal truth.
 
 
+12 # WestWinds 2014-08-25 09:01
Corruption is corruption and none of it is good. None of these people have/had the best interests of the country as a whole at heart. Each in his own way has been a greedy, narcissistic "counterfeit", as West would say. Each one of these men Clinton, Obama, Nixon were/are in it for themselves to line their pockets and grab off as much money and as many perks as they can without a single thought that what they do effects other people; other people don't even exist to them. These men are true sociopaths and that's the best that can be said for them. (And I cringe at the thought that s Hillary Clinton is going to round out this rat pack with her brand of neoliberalism and The Family theocracy.)
 
 
+10 # modernjacobin 2014-08-25 11:28
Couldn't have said it better. The key word really is narcissism: all part of the Ivy "best and brightest" schtick. No wonder Obama turned around on CEO compensation in 2010 (when the coast was a little more clear), saying that "talent deserves to be rewarded." Yeah, even if this "talent" resulted in foreclosures and job losses for everyone else. It takes a rare man like West to escape this BS.
 
 
0 # brux 2014-08-25 14:13
> "talent deserves to be rewarded."

Yeah ... is screwing the people and the economy considered talent?

Between the world Cornell West lives in and the world Obama lives in are a multitude of lies and deceptions ... but that is all happening a sea of lies and deceptions that make any honest meeting of these two worlds - impossible.
 
 
+30 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-08-24 22:46
"There is infinite hope. But not for us". --- Kafka
 
 
+16 # cymricmorty 2014-08-25 00:12
I'll make a needlepoint pillow of that if I can ever retire while I can still move.
 
 
+25 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-24 23:27
When El Presidente Farack welcomed in his "Economic Team" (early 2008 or late 2007), I knew we'd been had. I'm never going to try to believe again. I wasn't exactly a sap at that time either, but I just didn't know what to do. Do you not vote? Vote for someone who will get 3,000 votes? Whatever. This time I'll vote Socialist, Green, Communist--anyo ne but a Democrat. I won't even vote for Elizabeth Warren. Let her start a new party... Oh, and before I shut up, let me tell you that it's pretty obvious that Farack all the time blamed everything on Republican Obstructionism and Farack's silly supporters bought it. They're still buying it. How very convenient for Farack to blame his empty presidency (complete empty of meaning) on the Repubes. Get real. What a phony man. As bad as Bush. Disgusting.
 
 
+8 # indian weaver 2014-08-25 05:58
Not that it makes any difference, but you too can write to the Democratic Nat. Committee and tell them what you think, and that you'll never again vote Democratic (let alone Republican). I wrote them about 6 years ago that very thing, having recognized within weeks of Obama's stepping foot into the evil black house that he is a shill and liar. Nothing will change if you write, but someone there will read it, same as writing to the black house.
 
 
+4 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-26 21:41
Of course. I know that. I'm desperate, as are most Americans. There is no voice for us in our "democracy." In other words, no problems get solved--ever.
 
 
+1 # WestWinds 2014-08-30 08:36
Quoting Erich_von_Dalkenshield:
Of course. I know that. I'm desperate, as are most Americans. There is no voice for us in our "democracy." In other words, no problems get solved--ever.


--- I don't know why all of the discontents with the Democratic Party don't move to the Green Party and fill out its ranks. If all the unhappy Dems moved to the Green Party, we'd have our fighting machine instead of just sitting around complaining and wondering what to do. And you can believe I won't be voting the DP either if they put up sHillary Clinton to run in 2016; and I'll be done with Elizabeth Warren if she doesn't run.
 
 
+14 # Douglas Jack 2014-08-25 09:00
Eric, RE: "start a new party". Its worse than you think. In the midst of Israel's last genocidal murder of 1000s of Palestinians & Israel's ongoing starvation of Gazans, all Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken & Sherrod Brown in fact all 100 Senators of Congress, could do was bow to the AIPAC sponsored bill to show our absolute support of Israel for its ongoing Semite (Arab) genocide.

Israel in power has the option of engaging a country-wide 'debate' (French 'de' = 'undo' + 'bate' = 'the-fight') but choose INTELLECTUAL COWARDICE. Peace, prosperity & Civil-rights require 'dialectic' ('both-sided') exchange. Open both-sided, equal-time, recorded & published debate enables all sides to speak truth to our wider communities & whole world for reason, the court of public opinion to decide & contribute to. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/both-sides-now-equal-time-recorded-dialogues Intellectual-co wards use violence instead of openly presenting their facts, & perspectives equally with perceived opponents. Mohandas Gandhi, "I can imagine a fully armed man to be at heart a coward. Possession of arms implies an element of fear, if not cowardice. But true non-violence is an impossibility without the possession of unadulterated fearlessness." Yes we have a right to bare arms, not to bear arms. All humans have the right to live without fear of jerks who choose abuse over truth.
https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/9-right-to-bare-arms
 
 
-1 # Caliban 2014-08-27 23:35
Re Erich_von_Dalke nshield--"The Dalkon Shield was a contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD) developed by the Dalkon Corporation and marketed by the A.H. Robins Company. The Dalkon Shield was found to cause severe injury to a disproportionat ely large percentage of its users". (Or readers?)
 
 
+27 # Barbara N Shabo RN 2014-08-25 00:28
Whenever I hear Professor West or read something that he wrote, I think of my father. My father, who was so wise, could cut through the baloney and get to the truth. My father's favorite quote from (Will Rogers) was, "If you send a fool to college, you get an educated fool."
 
 
-4 # Caliban 2014-08-26 09:19
Like West, you mean?
 
 
-26 # FDRva 2014-08-25 04:11
Dr. West lacked the testicles to denounce our unduly pro-Wall Street President when it mattered --in an election year.

He would not be the first Harvard Professor to serve as a political whore.
 
 
+36 # Carol R 2014-08-25 05:16
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Cornel West. I worked very hard to get Obama elected by doing phone banking, standing on street corners with signs and door to door knocking.

I do like Cornet West's message. We do not need a 'middle of the road' President at this time in history.

I'm not in favor of Hillary...Eliza beth Warren or Bernie Sanders would provide the leadership the Democratic party needs. The media wouldn't promote them because they would shake up the system. Both are currently pounding heads in Congress over subjects which need to be rectified.
 
 
+1 # Caliban 2014-08-26 09:22
A "middle of the road" president may or may not be what we need right now, but the center is infinitely better than what we will get from the other side of the fence.
 
 
-7 # RCW 2014-08-25 05:49
I certainly agree with many of Prof. West's comments, but I am also suspicious of his underlying self-promotion.
 
 
+28 # obx1212 2014-08-25 06:02
I seldom add to comments but this time I can't resist the "I told you so." My realization and disillusionment occurred shortly after Obama's election night speech in 2008. I had worked for his nomination and election with considerable hope and enthusiasm. The prospect of an African-America n president was too exciting for a super-annuated student of the 1960's. However, as soon as he designated his national security team (Gates, Clinton and Jones) and his economic team (Geitner, Sommers and the other ghosts of Rubin) it became clear that Obama was no progressive. Talk about buyer's remorse!
 
 
+20 # indian weaver 2014-08-25 06:05
Yep, we've needed FDR since 2006 or before, someone with vision and wisdom enough to understand this country was going down. With FDR's fireside chats, at least We the People knew he understood what was happening to We the People. We appreciated his honesty, even when truth was ugly. We wanted and needed to hear from a leader who was one of the people, at least in spirit and backbone. Nothing like any honesty ever came from Obama, but just the opposite. Just once I'd love to hear Obama say something real. He's unreal, a vapid dolt bred and raised on Wall Street, and still living there. FDR was the only president ever to face JP Morgan and back him down, the original, living Morgan, not his bank, but the creator and owner of it. FDR is a rarity. Obama is a low-level, cowardly hack. Obama - the joke with no credibility domestically and internationally . Everyone worldwide has stopped listening to him. I just roll my eyes if he turns up, and I turn him off in disgust. I will not listen to Obama, and maybe our entire government, ever again. I see no leader in our future, ever again. The money is the motivation, but more importantly the fear of assassination by our CIA is a bigger motivator.
 
 
+1 # fredboy 2014-08-25 06:18
My corporate and Republican friends laugh that Obama is simply their "boy." One smirked that every time Obama shows up to "chat with" corporate types he looks like he's carrying a shoe-shine kit.
 
 
+16 # Tazio 2014-08-25 07:20
Your Republican friends are losers.
And, if you repeat their smirking cracks, then you are their boy too.
 
 
+5 # tigerlillie 2014-08-25 08:14
Fred is making a legitimate point. What is there to object to, unless you are pro-Obama? In that case, just say so. Because you are shooting the messenger otherwise.
 
 
+20 # Sweet Pea 2014-08-25 06:31
Beware! Michigan Democrat voters became disillusioned with Obama during his first term and didn't bother voting in the Gubernatorial election. A Republican won the election and they are now paying a large price for their indifference.
 
 
+6 # Tazio 2014-08-25 07:27
If you don't vote for the Democratic candidates, the Republicans win.

That's all there is to it.

Don't be a 100% pure liberal or you will never find a perfect candidate.
 
 
+14 # fredboy 2014-08-25 18:08
That is sad.
Either-or...
It is called polar reasoning, a fallacy of logic.
There has to be a better answer, because I can no longer tell the Ds and Rs apart--and it's not my eyesight.
Both are corporate shills.
 
 
+1 # Tazio 2014-08-26 07:56
Polar reasoning?
There are only two political parties (in the real world) and
you have to choose one of them.
Or you can opt out and and fail to vote, or just play around by voting for an irrelevant third party in order to "send a message" (that will never be sent).
You're right that both parties are corporate owned, but that's our imperfect world today.
It's still better to vote Democratic than Republican. If you still want to switch from the Dems to a third party, you will have the blessings of the GOP because they fund many of those 3rd party organizations.
 
 
+23 # walt 2014-08-25 06:42
As always, Dr. West gets it all right.

Obama was a smooth, intelligent, well groomed politician propped up by the establishment to talk a good line. However, as West states, Obama turned out to be a "counterfeit." He's owned and operated by the neocons and Wall Street and he has proved it every time over the last six years. And, as West also states, if Hillary Clinton is elected, she will be even worse.

It's all very disappointing for those of us who trusted Obama. Maybe the answer is that we need to abandon both parties and get a new one. The two we have don't represent he people, and the people are totally disgusted with government! And for very good reasons!
 
 
+5 # modernjacobin 2014-08-25 11:32
Amen! Let's not forget that the party that abolished slavery--yes, the Republicans--wa s actually a 4th party that had branched off from the Free Soil party.
 
 
+7 # DavidtheLiberal 2014-08-25 06:45
I too had bigger hopes for Mr Obama, but I believe Mr West is perfectly happy to allow his idea of the perfect to drive out the good that a middle of the road Democrat can do. Would he prefer the "gentlemen" that Mr Rawmoney would have appointed to the Supreme Koch? Would he like to have a 7 to 3 majority of conservative kooks on the that august body?
 
 
-4 # fredboy 2014-08-25 07:10
We needed a Churchill; we elected a Chamberlain.

Sadly, Obama's legacy will be summed up with one word: Yowsa.
 
 
+17 # phrixus 2014-08-25 07:17
"No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free."

Truer words were never spoken.

BTW: Here's a six page list of Obama's broken promises. Certainly there are more.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-broken/
 
 
+19 # Citizen Mike 2014-08-25 08:05
I originally thought Obama was a weak president who lacked the courage to follow his convictions with action. But it has emerged that he was all along a man of wrong convictions who misrepresented himself to get elected.

All the people who voted for Obama hoping for real change must now find a genuine liberal to support and not accept Clinton as "the lesser evil."
 
 
+18 # phrixus 2014-08-25 08:17
Quoting Citizen Mike:
I originally thought Obama was a weak president who lacked the courage to follow his convictions with action. But it has emerged that he was all along a man of wrong convictions who misrepresented himself to get elected.

All the people who voted for Obama hoping for real change must now find a genuine liberal to support and not accept Clinton as "the lesser evil."


I completely agree. In regard to Hillary, she is part of the problem - not the solution. Perhaps someone like Elizabeth Warren is needed.
 
 
+14 # tigerlillie 2014-08-25 08:16
Obama: just another opportunist. No shit. We need to move past what a loser the guy is.
 
 
+7 # pegasus4508 2014-08-25 12:53
Move past to WHAT? Rand Paul? Hillary Clinton? Who? Ted the Canadanian Cruz?
 
 
+2 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-26 21:46
At least delegitimize them by not voting. What if the Presidency was won with a mere 20% of the votes? Or, better yet, do a "write-in vote" for Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, or Elizabeth Warren.

Even now, they have no legitimacy, their numbers are through the floor. Make those numbers go lower. Get real. Nothing will change unless the electorate demands change and will not tolerate the sos (same old...)
 
 
+11 # StuBones1960 2014-08-25 09:34
What we need to do is change our media. There are stacks of other parties, but our media never talks about them, which means they never get members, which means they never get traction. They will look at a wealthy independent, especially if he's nuts. They will occasionally look at the Greens to show they're "fair." The result is just enough liberals and progressives will vote Green instead of Democratic to boost the GOP, or enough conservatives will vote for the wealthy independent to boost the Democrats. Nobody else can get a seat at the table.
 
 
+10 # fredboy 2014-08-25 10:04
Was an award-winning investigative journalist with two degrees in journalism and a law degree focusing on the 1st Amendment. Know a tad about the news media. And it's dead.

Saw the first cracks in its hide after Watergate, when good, objective, unknown journalists were being replaced by egomaniacs who wanted to "be somebody."

Then along came "community journalism" which was a lame excuse for caving into local and national advertisers. Want to test the theory? Find a newspaper or TV news team willing to investigate local auto dealerships and their 'bait and switch' new car price advertising.

The last shove was 9/11. The media took a huge, permanent wimp pill that morning.

Now there is no news media--no watchdog. We are on our own.
 
 
+9 # modernjacobin 2014-08-25 11:39
So true: we need more organs like The Guardian, not the Tweedledee and TweedleDUM of the NYT and WSJ. Both cater to the 1% w/ their increased emphasis on style and real estate. (As if everyone could buy a 10 million villa in Provence while lounging in their $400 shirts, $200 jeans, and $600 custom fitted shoes.) When the NYT applauded rate cuts, deregulation, and supported the war in Iraq in 2003, you knew it was going downhill.
 
 
+11 # fredboy 2014-08-25 09:50
Legacy Obama YouTube video: Championing natural gas fracking during his state of the union address, rubbing it in the faces of his environmentalis ts supporters...
 
 
0 # Caliban 2014-08-26 09:31
Actually, he was rubbing Nat Gas in the face of the coal interests--the biggest polluters of all.
 
 
+1 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-26 21:47
"El Presidente, Farack Obama."
 
 
+9 # Phillybuster 2014-08-25 10:01
You need remember only one thing: It's all about USD* not USA.

*USD meaning U.S. dollars of course.
 
 
+12 # margpark 2014-08-25 10:16
Sweet Jesus. This from the left and on the right they are still saying Obama is a Socialist. I see that message from relatives and friends on Facebook and in person. I keep saying, "No, Obama is a disappointment to liberals. He is a middle of the road man." But you still see things posted about him being a Socialist. People are simply not being brought up to think straight.
 
 
+3 # kalpal 2014-08-25 11:58
The only reason I ever voted for Obama was that I was massively put off by McCain and Palin. Any possibility of Palin holding national high office would cause me to leave this nation and I moved here 52 years ago. McCain survived the navy only because of father and grandfather since he was miserably poor at academics and worse at obeying orders.
 
 
0 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-26 21:53
I voted for Farack because of some idiotic notion that sine he was black he would not kiss the feet of the 1%. I was completely, totally wrong.

The next election will be "Elect the First Woman to be President." (ie. Hillary. After the 2008 election was "Elect a Black." ie., Farack.) Foolish.

To be honest, I want to live and be happy; I want to move to Brazil (Go watch Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knQVji5nbkY&list=PL5sOGnHh9XvGJIdFeoX4IZbQ_7vzNqEQN ) and to sing "Brazil" on those beaches and forget altogether these fruitless anxieties...
 
 
0 # Erich_von_Dalkenshield 2014-08-26 21:59
Do a write-in of one of them.
 
 
+3 # Khidr 2014-08-25 12:50
After Obama dumped his Pastor for speaking the truth, I got a feeling that this man does not like to hear the truth.
He is like the rest of the politicians servant of the 1% and suffer we did rest of us 99%. I would have loved to hear West speak about the dumping of the Pastor. That would have told a volume about the character of Obama.
 
 
+7 # brux 2014-08-25 14:06
The lie that we have all swallowed is that there can be change from within the system. That we have to elect someone who mostly is of and for the status quo so that their mere presence alerts the political apparatus of the need for change/reform.

There has been none of that, in fact it has gotten worse, and Obama knows what's going on, he is complicit in that. The people that win the Presidency are uniquely built to play on the public's trust in order to keep the lie plausible.

While at the same time the demands and caliber of the "people themselves" is constantly insulted and degraded in the public so that most of us, the marginal people who bother to vote, would not trust democracy.

There is no system that power cannot bypass or destroy, unless we design it so and keep alert for its corruption.
 
 
+8 # pegasus4508 2014-08-25 12:51
President Obama willingly squandered every ounce of political capital he worked for in the 1st term.
Had he Learned from his 1st "bipartisan" attempt, that republicans Hated him and the country, we would not be where we are right now.
Imagine, had Obama not allowed so much GOP trash to be included in the ACA. What if he had vigorously pursued and persecuted both Bush and Cheney for war crimes. Not to mention jailing the Wall Street crew.
What a different space we would be in. What a waste of talent, time and my hard work. Smh
 
 
-5 # Jingze 2014-08-25 13:22
Republicans were right. Obama is not up to the job. He played into their hands and happily became Bush-light. Now he is trying to become Bush-heavy. At the least, he has wrecked any chance the democrats have of keeping the senate, and certainly destroyed the possibility of another "democratic" president. He is adding to the damage to democracy wrought by Bush.
 
 
+7 # Rara Avis 2014-08-25 13:43
Obama did not just pose as if he was Lincoln, he has been acting as if he was Lincoln. President Lincoln had to juggle Radical Republicans who both expected and demanded he be more progressive. He had to retain Moderate Republican support. He had to have War Democrats to keep the war going. President Obama has had to retain moderate Democratic support, while acting when he feels he can to retain the far left of his party. Like Lincoln, Obama has been appealing to independents to retain majorities on key issues of the day. Like Lincoln, Obama has launched attacks on the more extreme elements in the other party, Lincoln's Peace Democrats in his day, supporting the Confederate South, and the Republican Party now. The President's favorite politician to be admired: Lincoln.

Problem: He did advertise himself as a progressive agent of change. What we have gotten is a moderate Democrat, who occasionally acts like a Progressive. The last time America was so polarized? The American Civil War. Draw your own conclusions.
 
 
+3 # brux 2014-08-25 14:02
"Acts" is the operative word there ... acts, as in acting, as is lying, pretending, dissembling.
 
 
+6 # carp 2014-08-25 13:49
I do not feel pimped or had by Obama. I knew he was a neoliberal from the get go. Supporters and voters just wanted him to be something he is not. who's fault is that? I think that liberals had huge expectations that our new president would be progressive but the reality is he is not. Our country needs a progressive but there is no one on the horizon that has any backing. Maybe it was just putting off the inevitable but sometimes the votes just go to the lesser of two evils.
 
 
+3 # brux 2014-08-25 14:01
But he was not even neoliberal ... he has been almost reactionary in his following of Conservative policy while attempting to disguise that by camouflaging himself as black and making some lame attempts to pass legislation that he knows is not going to go anywhere as regards to what the people really need, with health care, economy, etc. He is just another actor, but this time not OF THE STAGE.
 
 
+3 # kyzipster 2014-08-27 13:19
I agree with you, I see Obama as a masterful politician. If he had a progressive Congress, he would have molded himself to work with that atmosphere. I don't see this as an attack on his character, it's the reality of the US today, the only way a politician can succeed. Any reasonable liberal uncorrupted by Washington who is to the left of center is slaughtered in the press as a far left socialist. In the end it is up to the voters and that's why we can't seem to move forward.
 
 
+7 # kitster 2014-08-25 13:55
cornel west is jive and colloquial black...but he maybe holy so listen to him. he knows the score...and he's mighty unpopular with the powers that be. I'm an over-the-hill old, white fart...but I love this man because he speaks the truth. could a Bernie sanders appeal to west? all I know is west is a progressive we should be listening to!!!
 
 
+5 # brux 2014-08-25 13:59
While I do sympathize with "Brother Cornell", and having voted for Obama and also feeling disappointed, I am just not sure this is about President Obama personally. Not sure ... but I don't know really.

Is this about his feelings, or about his skills of what he thought he was going to do with the Presidency?

Is President Obama a well-meaning man who became President and did not know what to do and was met with the worst bipartisan resistance in history ...

OR, was President Obama a cold and calculating politicians in this for himself, imposing himself on a nation that needed a leader to fix it in order to serve his own ends as an egotistical and selfish human being?

I don't know what to think, and I don't know how to prove anything I might be inclined to think. Obama should not have run if he did not have any purpose in mind other than to be a caretaker ... a high-level janitor, clean up George Bush's mess and take the blame for it.

He has not done much to explain or pursue any agenda other than what seems to be independent of President. In other words, the President seems to have no power, and our system is controlled by hidden special interests that President Obama must know all about but will not and has not said anteing.

That last paragraph seems to indicate to me that he is in a conspiracy that often works against the American public and our country.
 
 
+6 # futhark 2014-08-25 21:19
After 35 years a registered and faithful Democrat I went Green in 2008. It was painless and I can sleep with a good conscience.
 
 
0 # brux 2014-09-01 17:53
I vote Green now too, except in a contested election where the Democratic candidate might actually make a difference and need the votes.
 
 
+2 # fredboy 2014-08-25 18:11
Hey, the guy will slide out of office and make millions on speeches. That's been the plan all along. It was all about him.

Get over it.
 
 
+4 # Anarchist 23 2014-08-25 18:12
I was absent from the country 2008, the year the primaries were going on so I heard about them and the candidates only via the internet. As usual I preferred Kucinich but among the 'anointed' ones Obama seemed the more liberal. However, I also read Mr. Pickney in 'Black Commentator during March 08 primaries and he too saw this neo-liberal reality in Obama. I knew we were probably doomed to disappointment the day or so after the inauguration when the first drone bombing was made...if it's between Hilary and Jeb...I'm going green!
 
 
+5 # PeacefulGarden 2014-08-25 19:05
Do the Green thing, I am a card carrying member of the Green Party. As soon as I joined, beautiful blue birds perched in my yard and sang sweet songs of bliss.

When you join, they give you a cup of green Kool-Aid to completely erase any democrat or republican Kool-Aid that you may have drank.

Do it! Join us. We are one, with the green-ness of the planet. Come with us.
 
 
+2 # Caliban 2014-08-26 09:39
Interesting. Are you admitting/charg ing that the Greens just give you a different kind of Kool-Aid than the other parties? If so, what is the point of changing in the first place?
 
 
+1 # PeacefulGarden 2014-08-26 19:11
I am joking. But every group, non-profit, school, organization has their Kool-Aid, right? You do know that?

It is like Obama got elected president, drank the presidential Kool-Aid and became a totally different person.

Oh, Jim Jones is rolling in his grave because of all this Kool-Aid talk.
 
 
+1 # Candravali 2014-08-26 18:45
I voted for Obama, not because I thought he was ultra liberal, I just thought black folks deserved a black president, it doesn't really matter who is in there, as I predicted, he wouldn't do a damn thing differently from any other president. As for Cornell West, its the same as with Obama. He stood with the occupiers and put his ass on the line. Kudos for that. You want to support him because he is a liberal black "intellectual" and I want to like him but he is, at the basic level, another preaching religious black so called leader. Sorry Cornell, I can't buy your liberalism. Black folks don't need more religious mumbo jumbo, brother and sister bullshit, they need more Niel DeGrass Tyson who might be able to call out the industry of religious exploitation of black folks that continues to hobble them to this day. You are promoting superstitious ignorance instead of being a brave leader yourself. The only reason you get more coverage than say, bell hooks, is that you pander to black leadership, completely controlled by the paternalistic black church and you are male. I'm glad to see black folks criticizing Obama is impotent but he is no worse than any white candidate before or after him would be black or white.
 
 
-4 # Candravali 2014-08-26 18:47
There is nothing like leadership in Washington and I guess given the system, there never could be. I'd like to vote for Hillary to give women a boost but she is a hawk. Unless Bernie Sanders or Kucinich or Warren runs, I'm not voting for anyone ever again, and I doubt that would happen.
 
 
0 # tallen387 2014-08-27 08:13
Does Cornell West watch television?

Seems like Obama was regularly being called a socialist and/or a communist and/or worse. Yeah, sure, he was called a Nazi and was compared to Hitler and/or Stalin and/or Mao.

What was shocking to me was how many self-described progressives ran for the hills as soon as the votes were counted. How do you even pretend to be a progressive when the streets are filled with nothing but wackos with muskets in 3-cornered hats?

You're unhappy that Obama is yet another DLC Democrat? He begged you for help in moving to the left on many occasions. Where were you?
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2014-08-27 13:44
I don't agree entirely, it was mostly progressives who were responsible for Occupy Wall Street, a national, mostly non-partisan movement that has changed the dialog. It is now safe for a politician to speak to income disparity and the injustice of our low minimum wage. I don't remember hearing much about it in the press prior to OWS.

The corporate media is the problem in my opinion. 20 Tea Partiers get together and it makes national news, Fox News runs with it for months. Thousands of progressives hit the streets in NY and it's ignored until it can no longer be ignored. When the media does show up, the movement and all of the people participating are too often depicted as hippie slackers who want a handout from the rich. We saw the same thing with the Iraq War protests. Protests in cities across the land for years, mostly ignored. Eventually the protestors were proven right.
 
 
-1 # kyzipster 2014-08-27 13:09
I like Cornel West and I support him speaking to this issue but I disagree that Obama presented himself as a progressive. It was extremely clear when he was running for office that he planned to be another center/right Clinton. So many people projected their progressive dreams on to him. Blinded by hope, granted his campaign slogan may have helped. I think he will go down in history respectably as another Clinton minus the sex scandal and I'm still grateful we haven't suffered through a McCain/Palin presidency. As a country, we're still screwed if we can't move more towards the center, reversing this conservative era we've experienced since the Reagan years.
 
 
0 # wmarcelle@earthlink.net 2014-08-27 14:33
CORNEL WEST'S comments ring true but the mistake he made at the beginning of the OBAMA presidency was the same mistake so many others made. They believed that the system is set up for them. The system, including and especially the PRESIDENCY is for WALL STREET, MILITARY and CORPORATE POWER, and the richest ONE PERCENT. People keep falling into the same trap from election cycle to election cycle by believing some progressive hero will come in and right things by heroically standing up to this power cabal. When will they learn that this will never, ever occur under a system which is fully owned by the groups mentioned above. That is the reality people appear unwilling to face.
 
 
+4 # NAVYVET 2014-08-27 16:04
It's sad that in my senior apartment building (I'm the only white person in 70 apartments) several of my black friends & neighbors say they are disillusioned with Obama but still keep his photo on the door. I quit Obama in 2008 before I moved here. Most of my veteran friends and I went off him as soon as he was elected--partly because we were learning about Rahm Emmanuel's influence, but mostly because of Geithner and Summers. ("What the hell's going on?" quickly changed to "I think I have it figured out; he's a phony.") We got incredible static from liberal activists friends who couldn't (yet) see the phoniness ("Maybe he's got a subtle plan.") Now they've changed their opinion too, and are pretty vocal about it. I resigned from the Dems in 2009, avoid the Greens because I don't trust them, and 2 years later signed up with the Democratic Socialists of America, who just seem to talk and talk and aren't even a political party although I've been trying. Anybody out there know of a good democratic, anti-war, social justice, environmentally activist, grassroots Socialist party that runs candidates? I'd like to change my registration from Independent to Socialist. Please get back.
 
 
+4 # Walter J Smith 2014-08-27 22:39
We need grass fed pork chops and organic vegetables and Obama is a GMO soy burger covered with pesticide laced toxic Heinze ketchup & mustard.
 

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