Cornel West: Obama posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit

In a recent interview with Thomas Frank of Salon, professor Cornel West shared his belief that President Barack Obama posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit who was more attuned to Wall Street than main street and who not only continued the national security policies of his predecessor but in many cases (drone strikes) made even greater use of those policies.

Here’s just a snippet from Thomas Frank’s interview with Cornel West – the rest is most definitely worth taking a few minutes to read.

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.


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6 thoughts on “Cornel West: Obama posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit

  1. My early instincts or judgement of Obama was that he was not ready for “prime time.” But to some extent, he is a quick study or fast learner. I give him a “B” as a midterm grade based upon Obamacare which can be compared to other great social legislation such as social security.

    With no apologies for Obama’s presidency, I call attention to the following pertinent facts which would damage, restrict, or lessen the effectiveness of any Democratic president:

    1, Gerrymandering of States.

    2. Abuse and excesses of donations, campaign funding, and conflicting enrichment after retirement

    3 Cowardice of House members, including Speaker Boehner, whose top priority is to serve their financial backers and to be reelected. Serving their constituency or the greater good is a minor priority.

    4. The stupidity of Senate rules which favors the minority which in turn allow blocking of appointments, and other such excesses which restricts full and timely functioning of government agencies.

    1. NQ, I never thought Obama posed as a “Progressive,” but just what is is definition of CW’s term? Or yours?

      I call myself a “Progressive” on many social issues and a “Conservative” on defense issues. But even on both of these I am not puritanical.

      Haven’t had a chance to read your links, but will after my return from the auto repair shop. I wanted to first clarify terms.

      P.S. You should use the spell check feature; it works great on names of politicians, entertainers, and other well known public figures. (-:

      1. Good luck with the auto.

        My definition of progressive is that it is largely meaningless as the “goalposts,” so-to-speak, have been moved so far right that the charts had to be extended by miles, and what you may call yourself as a progressive, could amount to equating with a Reagan Republican, i.e. union buster, war monger, MIC promoter, social safety net destroyer. Not saying that is who you are, however, please.

        Scott Walker and Barack Obomba are political twins and blood (money) brothers on every issue. No difference.

        My spell checker is working just fine, one just clicks on, “add to dictionary,” as the corrected spelling more honestly fits the character in all instances. Need further corroboration?

        You might then want to ask yourself why the recent extreme hub-bub about MH17 suddenly disappeared from USian news. Suppression of news about which actual US POTUS and Ambassador Nuland backed neo-nazi mercenaries and US installed puppets based in Kiev who are actually responsible for shooting down that flight, just might be the reason the info has not yet been reported.

  2. Honestly I think Obama has done everything I expected he would do. The Republicans hate Obama more than they hated Bill Clinton. It does not matter what Obama does the Republicans absolutely oppose his every decision, even going after Bin Laden in Pakistan until it was a successful mission. I would have preferred a Medicare for All plan over a free market plan, but I did not think at the time the ACA was passed that the supreme court would have busted up the law like they did and the republicans at the state level would have opposed the medicaid money to the degree they have.

    We did get out of Iraq and at least Obama is not getting the U.S. involved in every war of the moment that the Republicans want America to get into. We are either going to be using drone strikes or American Bodies on the ground and I would rather use drone strikes.

    The economy at the national level has recovered and is moving forward. There are still issues with the American economy such as wages and vacation time but that is going to take Americans voting for a congress to address those issues. Right now if somebody wants a job they can get one, and that was not the case when Obama was elected.

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