Cornel West never minces his words, and in a recent interview with Salon, he keeps it real when it comes to his opinion on Barack Obama’s presidency.

West called Obama another neoliberal “counterfeit” after posing as a progressive in his initial campaign for the White House in 2008.

“We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency,” West told Salon.com.

“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.”

West also spoke of Obama’s failure – or refusal – to attempt a revival of democratic principles at a time of “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.”

West also said that Obama was another “opportunist.”

“It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”

West didn’t hold back when it came to the subject of Attorney General Eric Holder, especially when it comes to Wall Street.

“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.”

In response to the recent killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, West isn’t shocked that Obama and Holder didn’t step up to the plate like most people expected two black me to do.  West also went to dispel the myth that everyone is included in the “American Family” Obama always references.

“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.”

Click here to read the full interview:

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  • Darryl Hines

    I agree with Professor West. The Prez is going to be criticized by the right so why not make them totally incensed. I voted for him twice because I bought into the theme of hope and change. My hope was that it wouldn’t be the status quo, that the wars and killings would be stopped (Iraq and Afghanistan, the ones we control), hope that we’d stop supporting Netanyahu and his murderous regime, hope that the poor and middle class and their vast needs would not be ignored and that education would be a top priority to bring young blacks to an age of opportunity, the criminal justice system would be completely overhauled, hope that our cities, especially the inner city would become zones of opportunity but instead I see little change, just the same old, same old. Talk is cheap. It’s results that count. Sure these are tough problems and tough times but that does not mean that our President can’t stand up and meet the challenge—or at least try.

  • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

    It’s part truth, part hissy-fit. You and Tavis thought you’d be the elder statesmen and when it didn’t happen, the two of you turned on a dime and now he’s America’s Greatest Monster. I’m not saying that there isn’t truth to what he’s saying, but I’m saying that I can see someone pointing out the blindingly obvious and still take that person’s objectivity with a boulder of salt.

  • Guest

    What have you, Cornel West, done to resolve any of these issues yourself? Besides talking, politicking and earning lecture fees at colleges? What have you done Mr. West to stop Wall Street greed besides hanging out with the OWSers a couple of days? At the very least, what have YOU done to help black folks raise their stock in this country?

    Cornel West’s obsession with Obama is something straight out of 48 laws of power. He’s ego tripping. If Obama had invited him to the White House we’d never have heard one word out of West except praise and occasional azz kissing.

  • African Woman