Cenk Uygur on Harvard Professor Roberto Unger’s “Don’t Vote for Obama”

Roberto Unger is a former professor of President Obama. He was a professor of his at Harvard Law School. And he has come out with a video now where he says, “Don’t vote for Obama”.

It’s not because Professor Unger is conservative or republican. Quite to the contrary, he is a progressive and thinks that President Obama is doing great damage to the progressive cause.

First he starts by explaining what’s wrong with both parties but specifically the republicans:

“Neither of the two major political parties offer the country what it needs. The Republican party imagines that if only government became less costly and restrictive with lower taxes and fewer regulations, economic growth would make up for inequality. If this party had its way, inequality would become even greater than it is now and threaten freedom and prosperity even more than it now does.”

So he is definitely not on the republican side. He is not trying to help them. He says they would make income inequality and everything else in the country and prosperity much worse.

Now what does he think about the democratic party? Here is where it gets interesting:

“The Democratic Party proposes no new direction. Its idea is to put a human face on the program of its adversary, to implement their program with a humanizing discount. Give the bond markets what they want. They allow the reckless so long as they are also rich. Use fiscal and monetary stimulus to make up for the absence of any consequential broadening of economic and educational opportunity. Sweeten the pill of disempowerment with a touch of tax fairness even though the effect of any such tax reform is sure to be modest. This is less a project then it is an abdication.”

See, basically he is saying they are a Trojan horse. They are going to give you a human face to it—oh, look at us helping you out—and a touch of tax fairness, but in reality they do what the rich want, and he is right about the bond markets because whenever a President comes in, and Bill Clinton has talked about this, they say, “oh, the bond markets! My God, they will drive up our deficits even more because they will increase our interest rate. We won’t be able to pay, and so you got to do whatever they want.”

And what do they want? Shining it up, it turns out they want tax cuts for the rich, the same people who a lot of times have money in the bond markets, and they decide that you should do it by gutting the middle class.

So he says it is horrible for the democrats to go along and play that same game but just try to play it 10% better.

So now, onto President Obama; here’s the Unger’s tape:

“President Obama must be defeated in the coming election. He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States. 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 opportunity to the important but secondary issue of access to healthcare in the mistaken belief that he would be spared the 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 handholding; but no one changes the world without a struggle. Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the reorientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country.”

Now he says he has disguised his surrender with talks of compromise, etc. I think those are powerful words. I think that they are largely right. He says that he has basically surrendered our democracy to the rule of money. He’s almost definitely right about that. President Obama has not really gone for any systematic change along those lines, and whoever has more money wins almost every instance.

And he says, look, you cannot do this with hand-holding. If you want real change, which is what you promised, it takes a struggle to do it and you are not struggling. You give up every time there is any kind of fight. He is certainly right about that.

Now the last part of it is the interesting part. He says that we should do a real reorientation of the democratic party. If you don’t do that, if you elect President Obama again, they are not going to do some massive change to the democratic party. They are not going to become progressive. They are going to go along with the same system. Well, he is almost certainly right about that, too.

But does that mean you should vote against President Obama because, of course, the consequences and the alternative are horrible. Well, that’s what he addresses finally here:

“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 prophecy to speak once again in American life. Its speech is always dangerous. Its silence is always fatal.”

Alright, and here is where I get into disagreement with him because, I think, the Supreme Court, of course, is massively important, he agrees to that. And how far we do down this rabbit hole of the rule of money is partly dependent upon the Supreme Court.

He says military adventurism under Obama has been horrible. Well, that’s largely true except it would be significantly worse under the republicans because it appears that every top foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney can’t wait to go to war with Iran. And that is another level of disaster for the country.

And then finally he talks about a democratic prophecy. But that is where I think he is actually most wrong because the democrats are never going to ride to the rescue. Even if President Obama loses, and Romney takes us to another economic collapse and he takes us to another middle eastern war and all the things are horrible, the lesson that the democratic party will learn is, well, then we should be more like them. That is the lesson that they always learn because that is the lesson they get paid to learn. Okay? So there is no democratic answer.

The only answer comes from the people. And is does not have to do with this election, whether Obama wins or not. It has to do with a revolution against the system, a political revolution, not one of force, against this system that has the democrats and the republicans taking money from the same people, from the richest people in the country.

So I understand 90% of where Professor Unger is coming from but in the end, this election is actually fairly irrelevant because that system marches on either way. We have to attack the heart of it.

If you think President Obama is going to come to the rescue, you are a million percent wrong. If you think the democratic party is going to come to the rescue if President Obama loses, you are still a million percent wrong.

No, we have to start it. You know, obviously we think that we can do it through a Constitutional amendment. We talk all about that at Wolf Pac. You can find out more at wolf-pac.com. But no matter how you do it, no matter through which Constitutional movement it is, it got to be through that, it is not going to be through the useless democratic party.

There are two other reasons why you should not root for President Obama to lose even though as I tell you the election overall is not the answer. Number one is that you don’t win by losing. It is a bad strategy to say, hey, you know what? If we lose and we fall off a cliff, and then maybe we will get to the right results. No, you win by winning.

Number two, if there is a people’s movement, and we get some headway, the Constitutional amendment, etc., Mitt Romney will use the Office of the Presidency to try to fight you and destroy you every step of the way. Whereas President Obama is such a politician, that if he feels like you have got enough momentum and you are about to win, instead of fighting you tooth and nail, will switch sides and go, “I was with you all along; that is what I meant by change.” You see what I am saying? So that is the small shred of hope that you have with President Obama: that he is greasy enough as a politician that at the last moment he will help you a little bit rather than trying to hurt you and pretend that he was on your side.

And you know what? That is a much better hope than you have with Mitt Romney, who is just as greasy but is so corrupt that he would never ever turn on the moneyed interests and the powerful people in this country.

The Barefoot Accountant
Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC
Certified Public Accountant
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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