According to a university colleague, former president of Harvard and current White House economist Larry Summers once asked for help to “f— up” one of the school’s conservative professors.
Summers’ colleague, Cornel West, is a radical race-relations instructor who is now a professor at Princeton after departing Harvard in the wake of a dispute with Summers. Obama named West, whom he has called a personal friend, to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign. West was a key point man between Obama’s campaign and the black community.
In his recently released memoirs, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud,” West claims that Summers invited West into his office and asked him to help undermine Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield, who had professed conservative views.
“Help me f— him up,” Summers reportedly said to West without explaining further.
West writes, “For my part, I was astounded that the President of Harvard would stoop to such tactics.”
West further related the details of the alleged encounter in a recent interview with Amy Goodman, host of the far-left Democracy Now Internet television network.
Said West: “And as soon as I walked into the office, [Summers] starts using profanity about Harvey Mansfield. I said, ‘No, Harvey Mansfield is conservative, sometimes reactionary, but he’s my dear brother.’ We had just had debates at Harvard. Twelve hundred people showed up. He was against affirmative action; I was for it. That was fine. Harvey Mansfield and I go off and have a drink after, because we have a respect, but deep, deep philosophical and ideological disagreement. He was using profanity, so I had to defend Harvey Mansfield.”
“Wait, so you’re saying Lawrence Summers was using profanity?” Goodman asked.
Continued West: “Larry Summers using profanity about, you know, ‘help me ‘F’ so and so up.’ No, I don’t function like that. Maybe he thought that just as a black man, I like to use profanity. I’m not a puritan. I don’t use it myself. I have partners who do.”
In response to West’s claimed meeting with Summers, Mansfield told WND, “Larry Summers was not out to get me.”
“I was not present at the famous interview between him and Cornel West, but in my opinion (Summers) merely used my name in a clumsy attempt to cajole Cornel West into behaving more like a professor, less like a celebrity,” said Mansfield.
“Larry Summers was doing many good things at Harvard before his enemies there succeeded in ousting him,” Mansfield added.
Neither Summers nor West immediately returned WND e-mail and phone requests for comment.
Mansfield is well-known for his opposition to grade inflation at Harvard, which he has publicly blamed in part on affirmative action. His views led to student protests and a well-attended debate with West.
Mansfield also defended President Bush’s use of executive powers and has been criticized by some leading feminists for his views on gender roles. He has made statements that men and women have some different societal roles and wrote a book, “Manliness,” in which he bemoaned the loss of the virtue of “manliness” in a “gender neutral” society.
Summers, meanwhile, continues to teach at Harvard but lost his position as president in part after a public feud in which West accused him of racism. Summers serves as director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
West served as an adviser on Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March and is a personal friend of Farrakhan. He authored two books on race with Henry Louis Gates Jr., who last summer was at the center of controversy after Obama remarked on the Harvard professor’s arrest.
Obama’s extremist pal slams racist ‘American empire’
Cornel West and Barack Obama at the fundraiser
It was West who introduced Obama at a 2007 Harlem fundraiser, an event featuring about 1,500 people, which served as Obama’s first foray into Harlem since he announced his Democratic presidential candidacy.
WND reported that West introduced Obama on stage at the fundraiser after first railing against the “racist” criminal-justice system of the “American empire.”
A scan of YouTube clips found West introducing Obama at the fundraiser while stating the “American empire is in such a deep crisis” and slamming the “racist criminal-justice system” and “disgraceful schools in our city.”
“He is my brother and my companion and comrade,” said West of Obama.
WND found a video that shows Obama taking the stage just after West’s introduction, expressing his gratitude to West, calling him “not only a genius, a public intellectual, a preacher, an oracle … he’s also a loving person.”
Obama asked the audience for a round of applause for West.
From a young age, West proclaimed he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party … and the livid black [liberation] theology of James Cone.”
Cone’s theology spawned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ. West was a strong defender of Wright when the pastor’s extreme remarks became national news during last year’s campaign season.
In 1995, West signed a letter published as an ad in the New York Times that voiced support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther.
In 2002, West further signed a “Statement of Conscience” crafted by Not In Our Name, a project of C. Clark Kissinger’s Revolutionary Communist Party. He then endorsed the World Can’t Wait campaign, a Revolutionary Communist Party project seeking to organize “people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.”
After branding the U.S. a “racist patriarchal” nation in his book “Race Matters,” West wrote, “White America has been historically weak-willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks.”
Also in that book, West claimed the 9/11 attacks gave white Americans a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the U.S. – feeling “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hatred” for who they are.
“Since 9/11,” West wrote, “the whole nation has the blues, when before it was just black people.”
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