“There is a price to pay for speaking the truth,” reads the signature on e-mails coming from West’s office. “There is a bigger price for living a lie.” So when his view of the commander-in-chief changed from adoration to disappointment, West was moved to proclaim it out loud. He had already been lobbing rhetorical grenades in the direction of the Oval Office, calling the president “spineless” for his failure to make poor and working people a policy priority and “milquetoast” for kowtowing to corporate interests during the economic crisis. But in an interview with Truthdig, published last May, West…called Obama “the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs.” And then he said he wanted to “slap him,” as the article put it, “on the side of his head.” In the white world of mainstream media, the interview made a few headlines. But in precincts of the left, and among certain African-American scholars, it unleashed a tide of anguish. More.