Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson (Credit: AP/Richard Drew/Evan Vucci)
Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson (Credit: AP/Richard Drew/Evan Vucci)
Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson (Credit: AP/Richard Drew/Evan Vucci)

(Salon) – Author, activist, erstwhile rapper and former Barack Obama surrogate Cornel West became the president’s First Hater (at least from the left) shortly after inauguration, because of Obama’s betrayal – whether of progressive principles, or West personally, has never been clear. When West was criticized for his fierce Obama attacks by progressive colleagues and friends, he turned his enmity toward his critics, particularly African Americans he saw defending the president on MSNBC: most notably Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry and Michael Eric Dyson.

But while folks on the multiracial left have been puzzling over and lamenting West’s ad hominem haymakers at former friends for years now, when Dyson struck back this week in the New Republic, he came in for a lot of “how could yous?” — even from some of West’s critics.

West’s peculiarly personal and vicious denunciations of Obama – from the pages of Salon to the David Letterman Show — are legendary. He famously called the president “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” He claimed Obama is afraid of “free black men” and is more comfortable with “upper-middle-class white brothers and Jewish brothers.” Later he got worse, claiming Obama’s drone policies made him “a global George Zimmerman.”

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