One of Barack Obama’s college professors, one Roberto Unger, has made a smallish splash in the news recently by declaring his conviction that Obama’s defeat in November is essential. His reasoning is nothing like that of the GOP mouthpieces, if the word “reasoning” is applicable in a context like that, indeed it’s quite the reverse. His central point is that Obama has become so much a part of the existing rightist power structure that only a dramatic reversal such as his resounding defeat is now capable of “renewing” the capacity of the democrat party to actually represent the best interests of ordinary people.
Here’s a fairly short piece in it’s entirety, by Russel Mokhiber published in Counterpunch, which I present as a point of departure for discussion. I’ve had these thoughts myself, as have many of us I suspect, but the political realities of turning things over to today’s GOP—the only practical alternative at present— is more than a little spooky. But still, as arguments go this has some compelling features, and let’s face it, another Obama term is not without its spooky elements either.
As a restoration architect I once worked for was fond of saying with regard to some difficult construction choices that had to be made from time to time; “Here we are again—in the position of having to marry one of two desperately ugly women.”
Feel free to substitute “men” in the above, as necessary. Here’s the piece;
Not Ralph Nader. Not Amy Goodman. Not Noam Chomsky. Not Chris Hedges. Not Cornel West. Not Alexander Cockburn. Not one of the great left critics in the United States have dared say what Harvard Law School Professor Roberto Unger said last week. “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election.”
In 1976, at age 29, Roberto Unger became the youngest tenured professor at Harvard Law School. Obama took two classes from Unger – Jurisprudence and Reinventing Democracy. During the 2008 campaign, Unger was reportedly in frequent contact with candidate Barack Obama via email and Blackberry.
But here he is today saying that “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election.”
“He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States,” Unger said in a heavily edited video posted on YouTube last month. “He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices. He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunities to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.”
“He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice. He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money. He has reduced justice to charity.”
“His policy is financial confidence and food stamps. He has evoked a politics of hand holding. But no one changes the world without a struggle.”
“Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the re-orientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country,” Under said. “There will be a cost for his defeat in judicial and administrative appointments.”
“The risk of military adventurism, however, under the rule of his opponents, will be no greater than it would be under him.”
“Only a political reversal can allow the voice of democratic prophesy to speak once again in American life. It’s speech is always dangerous. It’s silence is always fatal.”
Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.
(btw – I’m trying to stack up a little on posts today, and maybe tomorrow, to make a sandbox to play in over the weekend and into next week. My daughter is driving down from Washington state for a visit in a day or two, and neither of us will want to spend our time together on the internet. Thus, absent any shattering new developments, I’ll be pretty scarce around the intertoobs for about a week.)