West Explains Nothing

Cornel West offers the New York Times a non-explanation for his complaint that Obama “feels most comfortable with upper-middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart.”

It’s in no way an attempt to devalue white or Jewish brothers. It’s an objective fact. In his administration, he’s got a significant number of very smart white brothers and very smart Jewish brothers. You think that’s unimportant?

Let's start with the fact that West's recommendations were that Obama listen to Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, two more rather smart Jewish brothers. West asks incredulously, "you don't think that's important?" As though the burden is on the interviewer to explain why the fact that some of Obama's advisers are Jewish isn't relevant, and not on Cornel West to explain what that has to do with anything.

The uncharitable interpretation here is that this is Matt Drudge school of race baiting--it's not that you're saying anything racist, you're just making the observation that this particular group of people seems to be involved in doing something you don't like. The implication is that group, rather than individual characteristics are to blame, but rather than say so explicitly you allow someone else to state the obvious so you can dismiss them for ignoring the "objective facts."

The charitable one is that Obama lacks advisers who understand economic hardship. There's probably a substantive critique in there somewhere, but it's not West thinks Obama would be better off taking advice from Herman Cain or Allen West.

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