Left-wing professor Cornel West blasted President Barack Obama for not exploiting Michael Brown’s death and accused him of being a “counterfeit” progressive who is nothing more than a “brown-faced” Bill Clinton.
In a weekend interview with Thomas Frank of Salon, West just went off, saying that Obama “posed as a progressive” while running for president and “turned out to be counterfeit.” West said that “we ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency” where “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 we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see,” he lamented. “It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”
West, who has repeatedly clashed with Obama, ripped Obama’s measured statements after Michael Brown’s death and blasted Obama for speaking about the “American family,” saying that, “We’re not a family. We’re a people. We’re a nation. And a nation always has divisions.” He added that a “post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression.”
Left-wingers like West have always had issues with Clinton’s centrism and Democratic Leadership Council, and West, who has spent the bulk of Obama’s presidency criticizing him, referred to Obama as a “neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.”
They especially hated those on Clinton’s economic team–like Robert Rubin and Larry Summers–that ended up on Obama’s team.
“Obama comes in, he’s got all this populist rhetoric which is wonderful, progressive populist rhetoric which we needed badly,” West said. “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; poverty is not even an afterthought for them,” he said.
West said, “that was the worst moment [when he brought in the Rubin protégés]” of Obama’s presidency.
He also blasted Attorney General Eric Holder, whom he predicted would leave the administration at the end of the year, for not punishing Wall Street because “they’re his friends.”
“He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate,” he said. “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.”
West wasn’t finished with his pessimism. He called Hillary Clinton “another neo-liberal opportunist par excellence” and would be “much worse” than Obama to progressives if she were to occupy the White House.
“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,” he said. “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.”