Cornel West: Best. Interview. Ever.

Dr. James Joyner picks up on an interview with one of President Obama’s staunchest former allies, but also more recent critics, in the person of Professor Cornel West. Joyner titles his piece, “Cornel West is Crazy.” I’m not going to jump immediately to that point, but I’ve got to tell you, for a “highly sought after” guy with a doctorate from Princeton, this interview is… well, I suppose “remarkable” works.

What’s with the black suit, white shirt, black tie outfit you always wear? Do you have anything else in your closet?
I’ve got four black suits that I circulate, and they are my cemetery clothes — my uniform that keeps me ready for battle.

Your cemetery clothes?
It’s ready to die, brother. If I drop dead, I am coffin-ready. I got my tie, my white shirt, everything. Just fix my Afro nice in the coffin.

So for somebody who dedicated his life to getting Barack Obama elected, what turned things around?

So let me ask you: in 2007, you introduced Barack Obama as your “brother, companion and comrade.” But in May, you referred to him as “the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and the “head of the American killing machine.” What in the world happened?
It was a cry from the heart. What happened was that greed at the top has squeezed so much of the juices of the body politic. Poor people and working people have not been a fundamental focus of the Obama administration. That for me is not just a disappointment but a kind of betrayal.

But you have also acknowledged that this is more than just political — you’ve said that after campaigning for him at 65 events, you were miffed that he didn’t return your phone calls or say thank you.
I think he had to keep me at a distance. There’s no doubt that he didn’t want to be identified with a black leftist. But we’re talking about one phone call, man. That’s all. One private phone call.

If you’re waiting for some sort of lesson from this media event or deeper meaning, I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. Aside from this being yet another symptom of far left elements jumping ship as Obama tacks toward the center in hopes of securing a second term, I don’t think there’s much more to be gained from it.

But, to quote Dr. Joyner, “it’s no wonder that Barack Obama feels more comfortable around sane Jewish brothers than this cat.”

That’s one crazy cat.