(The Daily Beast) — How did Cornel West become the administration’s No. 1 gadfly? The noted African-American scholar and radio host may have helped Barack Obama into the White House, but he has spent the better part of the president’s term taking shots at him, calling him a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs,” among other names. “These last few weeks have only proven my point about Brother Obama,” West says in his signature “one love” voice as he talks about the debt-reduction debacle on Capitol Hill. “He simply caved in again.” Never mind the slings and arrows of Tea Partiers. The most politically problematic criticism of Obama these days is coming from his base. And there’s no question that there is a deep reservoir of frustration, confusion, and even rage among many in the African-American community for West to tap into. With unemployment hovering near 17 percent for African-Americans (the national average rate is 9 percent) and 11 percent of black homeowners facing imminent foreclosure, African-Americans have ample reason for anxiety about the coming budget cuts that Obama reluctantly signed into law this month.
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