19 June 2012

Roberto Unger on Obama

This segment of commentary by Roberto Mangabeira Unger has created a bit of a stir. He insists - from the left - that Obama is a standing hindrance to progressive politics in the U.S.. I agree with much but not all of the assessment. Unger, who was among Obama's teachers at Harvard Law School,  is not naive - he concedes that a Republican in the White House will be costly in some ways (e.g. judicial appointments). But he also points out, rightly I think, that in terms of foreign policy a second term for Obama will make little difference. The point at which I really disagree is with Unger's tacit presumption that the democratic party can be transformed into a vehicle for progressive politics.

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Blogger Lou Gold said...

There's more to the Roberto Unger story. This is also the principled guy who in 2005 called the government of Brazil's ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the "most corrupt in Brazil's history" and then did an about face and accepted Lula's appointment Brazil's Minister for Strategic Affairs where he developed the plan that included the Belo Monte monster dam (and many more) and so much infrastructure development in Amazonia that it was the "last straw" causing Marina Silva to opt for resignation. http://lougold.blogspot.com.br/2012/06/defeat-obama-is-latest-pronouncement.html

20 June, 2012 15:44  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Lou, Thanks for writing. I am aware of Unger's past political gyrations. But I am not terribly concerned with them here. That does not mean I endorse everything he has said or done. However there is a lot in what he writes that is valuable. I have in mind especially his views in institutional experimentalism. And nothing he says about Obama here strikes me as particularly off the mark.

20 June, 2012 23:03  

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