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Harsh words from Obama’s former law professor: Obama must be defeated

I don’t know much about Roberto Unger other than what I read on his wiki page but he and I (and a few others like Matt Stoller and Ian Welsh) seem to have arrived at the same conclusion through independent means. Obama must lose this election, or, if the Democrats want to save themselves, must not be allowed to run in the general election.

Check out this video from Unger released yesterday. What I think he is calling for is a modernization of the left while adhering to democratic and progressive principles. He comes right out and says we must defeat Obama in order to save the Democratic party in the last 3 minutes and his argument is very compelling. It’s a little like curing syphilis with arsenic but unless the Democrats quickly realize the danger they’re in, we may not have another choice.

35 Responses

  1. Guess who won’t be invited to the White house anytime soon.

    • Where was he in 2008?? Was someone sitting on him? He must have known back then.

      • The human brain can be very compartmented and so can the mind. It is possible to “know” something without permitting oneself to really Know it. (Or are you raising the question of why he didn’t say this during the Primaries and pre-nomination? He may not then have known that he knew what he now knows that he knows he knows.)

        • Or, like a lot of people, he suspected the worst and hoped for the best. Unger’s political philosophy is unique. It is out-of-the-box thinking in the true sense of the word. I find it intriguing and from the little I’ve read about it, I get bits of flashes of insight as to where he’s going with it. If Unger is right, it would scare the pants off of most members of both parties not because it is so revolutionary but because it makes the institutions that they depend on obsolete. But that’s the nature of evolution of human society. What looks impossible now will look ordinary in 50 years. I am especially interested in his idea that progress in society is made when elites are pushed out of the way. We say this happen in the wake of the black death in Europe. Pestilence of that magnitude was a great equalizer and gave the under classes, ie everyone who was not elite, an opportunity to innovate and change the structure of society. It was just enough disruption to allow the Renaissance and the scientific revolution to ignite and it couldnt have happened if the 1% at the top had kept a lid on things. But I don’t know Anouilh about Unger’s philosophy to understand what comes next. I *think* I have an idea but I’d like to know how the politics of globalization works out.
          Where was I?
          Oh, yeah, Obama doesn’t have the essential fabric to push the kind of transformation that unger envisions. He’s a company guy, no different than the kind of executive whose primary project is getting himself to the top. His business is engaging the people around him to work for his own self actualization. This keeps coming through to me when I read people like Digby who write about how inspirational “Obama’s story” was in 2008. You’d think we were talking about some kid from the ghetto instead of a middle class kid of some not insignificant privilege. There’s probably some clue there as to why many working women don’t identify with Obama in the same way and don’t find him all that remarkable.
          I’m betting Unger saw the whole Obama phenomenon as a curiosity. Maybe he was eager to advise him but like Krugman, quickly came to realize that Obama wasn’t listening to anyone but the money class.

          • This Professor Unger sounds very interesting then. My operational problem is lacking my own computer or reliable audio-computer access, I don’t have much time to be able to listen to videos. I am not a speed reader but I can read sort of speedy. There needs to be a computer function which allows for the fast-forward playing of videos so people could speedwatch them and/or speedhear them.

          • Just out of curiosity, why don’t you have your own computer at home? You can get little net books dirt cheap. All you need is a wifi connection and if you give up cable (you’ll never miss it), you can get internet from your cable company for a lot less. I’m just puzzled. No matter how poor I get, my Internet connection and hardware are the last things I’d give up.

          • Procrastinertia is the most powerful force in my universe. That and also perfection is the enemy of the good. ” Some day I will get a real computer with a real computer desk and powerful connection and speakers and printer and everything.” And I won’t get anything until I can get that. And I can’t get that until I have cleaned out my dwelling unit enough to put in that perfect computer system and its station. Meanwhile, why don’t I get simple laptops with WiFi and so forth? No good reason. Inertial refusal to get something until I can get the whole thing.

            But being computerless is getting more and more irritating. So either I will get my apartment cleaned enough to create space for a computer system or I will get “real” and get a small computer with some sort of access in the meantime. I just don’t know when.

      • My recollection of 2008 was that the followers of Obama were absolutely deaf to even the most obvious problems with the guy. Had he spoken out then, it would have gotten lost with all the other truths that could not be heard. He needed to wait until people were willing to listen, maybe.

  2. Well . . . there you have it. Or rather, there we have it. In practical terms it means electing Romney. And that is a necessary price to pay to eliminate Obama. I feel very proud of myself for having done my tiny part in the Michigan primary by crossing over to vote for Romney.

    The necessity of defeating Obama would be harder to face if Slantorum were the nominee.

    Of course if everyone who thinks this way were to tell their friendly neighborhood Democrats, the DemParty might maybe perform an emergency DemPrez Nominee transplant. They still might refuse to.
    But the price of a few phone calls and letters per DD ( Disgruntled Democrat) is a small price to pay to run the experiment.

    • Don’t hold your breath, if Democrats like Nancy Pelosi (D-Constipated) admit they were wrong about Obama it will be only a matter of time the voters start to wonder what else they FUBARed.

      • “Impeachment is off the table.” Of course that’s only a FUBAR from our end of the telescope. From Pelosi’s end, it was a brilliant save . . . it kept her beloved CheneyBush Administration in POWer (as against just in OFFice) till the very last minute.

        That was her “Ford pardons Nixon” moment. One hopes her memory lives in infamy. Commander Badgebunny and others got very mad when I said stuff like that over at Hullabaloo.

  3. Whew! I’m glad I’m not on Mr. Unger’s radar screen!


    • Yeah, that was pretty stern. But as cryptic as the first half of that video is, I think he sees pretty clearly what’s at stake. He’s brave for saying it. The character assassination should be along any minute now…
      I see that somehow, he is tangentially aligned with OWS but I’m not sure in what capacity. The funny thing about OWS is that a lot of people thought that they were Obots at first when there are a lot of occupiers who don’t like Obama at all.
      Anyway, unger has been at Harvard for a long time so he’s got some kind of reputation, even if he’s a bit out of the mainstream for the 1%ers at Harvard.
      I’m wondering if the kill list was what pushed him over the edge.
      There is one thing that I am concerned with. Have you seen what has happened in Hungary? It’s scary. Mittens doesn’t frighten me but if we had a Republican Congress, judicial appointments might be the least of our worries. So, let’s make sure we don’t have a Republican Congress.
      Of course, the Democrats are not making this easy. If they were at all concerned with saving their party, they would have run a lot more women this year instead of more Obamaesque male candidates. Have you seen the Big Dawg’s campaign success rate? His candidates have been kicking ass and taking names.

  4. Why are you so fixated on the progressive wing of the democrat party? the progressives turned against the Clintons and let the poser in. I just don’t get you. Move on dot org totally betrayed the Clintons, and their entire existence was because of the attacka leveled against Bill Clinton.

    Progressives think they are better than the rest of the democrat party and continue to try and believe they are majority of the party. Progressives are to the democrat party what neo conservatives are to the republican party, the radical minority that takes attention away from the huge moderate middle on both sides which results in a political bottlenecking.


    • I guess I’m not fixated on labels but sometimes, we need to give people labels in order to place them on a spectrum. There is Progressive and there is progressive. For example, a tax system that increases proportionally as income rises is considered progressive.
      For what it’s worth, I’m not embracing anyone on the left. But I do find Unger’s political philosophy interesting enough to want to know more.
      I’m not crazy about the dogmatic left and I have no interest in joining the center where Obama is. I consider myself an FDR liberal but also recognize that the last 20 years have changed the world in ways we could not anticipate and now it is time to figure out to distill the principles of the new deal and apply them to this new world we live in.
      Does that make any sense?

      • Part of that would be very simply restoring the missing New Deal legislation which kept working till it was repealed. Things like restoring Glass Steagall and forcing a hard-breakup on the Glass-Steagall non-compliant banks. Repealing the law which repealed PUHCA and re-breaking-up and re-regulating the power companies. The reason those things were repealed to begin with is because they remained modern and remained preventing the ripoff class from conducting the grand ripoff it sought to conduct.

        There are other areas where no doubt the “New Deal Spirit” would have to guide a re-engineering of new laws for new problems. But a good guide to which laws to just simply re-institute as-was would be:
        which New Deal laws would the Class Enemy most resist restoring? Those are the ones to restore first and hardest.

      • Obama is not a centrist. Clinton was a centrist for realizing to get anything done, he would need to use the best ideas from both sides of the political spectrum.

        Bill Clinton is the only president in the past 80 years who actually lowered the annual budget deficit each and every year he was in office. Bill Clinton was a centrist, Barack Obama is no centrist.

        Obama tried to grab as much money as possible to reward those who helped him get out the vote, that is pretty much what he is about.

        • Clinton was a Democrat and as “centrists” go, he was more liberal than Obama. He didn’t take the best ideas from both sides because the Republicans didn’t want to work with him. What Clinton did was a kind of political judo and used Republicans words against them. It was about all he could do with them being total assholes throughout his 8 years as president.
          Let’s get something straight. Right now, the Republican party has no good ideas. They’re not really a party. They’re a gang. They’re goal is not legislation and governing. It’s conquest and as far as compromise goes, I don’t want anyone from the DemocratIC party meeting the Republican party halfway.
          Please don’t bring any Fox News shit here.

          • I don’t understand your Fox News allegation. The only time I ever watched Fox News was back in 2008 for a few days when Keith Olbermann started making fun of Bill O’Reilly on an almost nightly basis. I was to curious to see the alleged crazy man in action (at that time I did not know that it was Olbermann who was the crazy man), and all I saw was a mellow manored interviewer, especially when compared to Olbermann’s style of only having people on who agree with his own viewpoint.

            I have not watched either Fox or MSNBC over the past four years. I have to assume that you watch Fox more than I do since you seem to want to equate liberal centrism with Fox.

    • The “moderate middle” are the people who favor the stealth destruction by salami tactics of Social Security and Medicare as per the Simpson-Bowles Catfood Commission plan. I would like to keep that “moderate middle” gridlocked, constipated, paralysed, every which way. The “moderate middle” (creeps like Baucus/Lieberman/etc.) is what supported the B O Romneycare Plan to begin with.

      • The moderate middle are people who supported Hillary Clinton. They trusted her to do what was best for the country and for the middle class, and that is why Obama was pushed by her at whatever cost.

        • by “pushed by her”, I mean other’s pushed Obama by Hillary Clinton.

          Obama is a BANKER, he looks like a banker, he talks like banker, he thinks like a banker.

          The biggest advantage Obama has unlike other bankers, he can stand being among the minions for longer periods of time than most bankers.

  5. “Obama must lose this election, or, if the Democrats want to save themselves, must not be allowed to run in the general election.”

    My opinion is that this is a pipe dream. Making the assumption that Obama and his Backers want him to be re-elected, he’s going to be re-elected.

    He has been absolutely dreadful, but arrangements have been made that his opponent is even worse. Voters will be made aware Romney is a rich ***** who belongs to a scary religion. That’ll probably be enough. If it isn’t, there are always the Touch Screen Voting Machines. Or worse.

    I’m not going to obsess about this election because I figure it’s a lock.

    • It is not good to obscess on anything to excess. On the other hand,
      locks have been picked, and safes have been blown. It has been known to happen.

      The Romney-Obama backers win whichever one of them gets elected. Somehow forcing Obama to LBJ himself right off the ticket in favor of a hopefully Real Democrat like Sherrod Brown or HRClinton
      would be a safeblowing turn of events. Can this safe be blown?

      • “The Romney-Obama backers win whichever one of them gets elected.”

        A year ago I’d have agreed. Nowadays I no longer think those ‘backers’ of each candidate are the same. Obama has been an unalloyed blessing for his ‘people’. Romney might do that for the big bankers and the rest, and he might not. Therefore Obama gets the nod. (note I don’t claim he’ll win, only that he’ll remain in office if that’s in the script)

        • Not sure about that. The fact that there are political analysts that I trust who are concerned that Obama is going to lose indicates that it is a real possibility. Obama and Jon Corzine have a lot in common and their elections are starting to look eerily familiar.

          • I think the electoral college favors Republicans (wasn’t there a Time Magazine story back in the 1980s proving this? OK, that’s snark but, not by much) so for Democrats to win there has to be something exceptional…. Circumstances, a candidate, I don’t know what. Obviously impressing the huge (and growing) numbers of independents….

            Of COURSE Obama could lose this year. The pool of people who feel a personal commitment to his presidency is shrinking daily.

            And I believe the Kill List & the Tuesday Kill Meetings is a ticking bomb for the Democratic Party. The Peacenik wing of the Democratic party has always been staunch. But, I cannot believe they will vote with any enthusiasm for Obama this year. My fear is that the down-ticket Dems who refuse to speak out against it this summer will also be in jeopardy. And why shouldn’t they be?

          • Sometimes I think the peacenik crowd of the party has totally lost its mind. For the record, I support coming to the aid of people suffering from brutal repression and swift retaliation of entities that attack us but completely reject preemptive wars like the one in Iraq. So, I had no problem with joining NATO for airstrikes in Libya. It reminded me of our involvement in the Balkans, which we dithered about until horrible things happened there. I would also have no problem with us doing something to help the Syrians, short of arming them and fighting a war. If airstrikes worked there and humanitarian aid, followed by negotiations helped bring that conflict to an end, I’d be all for it. The Syrian activists have been desperately calling for intervention for months.
            But this post from Jon Schwartz I found through Avedon Carol’s site is just bizarre.
            The biggest threat to the Democratic party right now is other Democrats. Some of those dogmatic lefties are as unhinged as the nutcases in the Tea Party.

          • I guess I should clarify that I consider myself a dedicated peacenik. While I have some sympathy for your position of support for those specific airstrikes…. I don’t actually trust anything I hear about what’s going on over there. It’s my deeply held belief that any news pushing us toward expanded military activity is suspect. AND I am deeply skeptical of the morality of using bombs for good. (these are some simple bullet points but I’m not going to go into expanded detail in this comment)

            I know this is one issue where we don’t agree but, I just have to make my position on this clear.

          • I’m stunned that the media has protected Obama so well in regards to his foreclosure policies, which favor wall street and the bankers above and beyond what either Clinton or McCain would have allowed.

  6. “To put a human face on their adversaries policies” – that pretty much sums up what Obama was used for. The media made him a star for this purpose….

  7. I see that after a certain level replies are no longer allowed, so I’m addressing this to katiebird’s last post.

    If you rely upon strictly US news sources you’re going to be pretty much in the dark.


    The next one may have put me on the “no fly” list, but I find the Russian slant on the news interesting.


    I’ve read that this one is basically a Putin vanity site, but a person can use what’s found there as a ‘lead’ to find how the same stories are depicted elsewhere.

    Seeking out wildly divergent viewpoints can help a person formulate his own impression of “the big picture”.

    Two such sites I’ve found are these:


    The first one has the general viewpoint that Israel is a nasty cancer in the Middle East while the second one has that nation as the shining light of the world. I read ’em both! 🙂

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