You won’t find a more stunning condemnation of Barack Obama. Why? The rebuke comes from a prominent man who once mentored Obama and even helped him become president in 2008.

Professor Roberto Unger is Obama’s former law professor at Harvard University. Four years ago, he was an adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign. But now, in 2012, Unger is so disturbed by his former student’s behavior as president that he has issued a warning via the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, published June 17, 2012:

Obama’s Harvard law professor says ‘President MUST be defeated in 2012′ (even though he’s the man Barack used to have on speed dial).”

The Daily Mail‘s video of Professor Unger is spreading like wildfire across the Internet:

“BEYOND OBAMA: The President must be defeated”

The Huffington Post summarized Professor Unger’s complaints about Obama’s job performance [emphasis mine]:

• “His policy is financial confidence and food stamps.”
• “He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests, while leaving workers and homeowners to their own devices.”
“He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money.”
• “He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice.”
• “He has reduced justice to charity.”
• “He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunity to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.”
• “He has evoked a politics of handholding, but no one changes the world without a struggle.”
[Emphases mine.]

Professor Unger’s statement that Obama has “delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money” is as damning as it is true. Mr. Obama was supposed to offer us a new kind of politics, but that promise was broken as soon as he spent $750 million securing the presidency. His promise, or threat, that he would raise $1 billion dollars for his re-election is not heartening, but terrifying as it only serves to remind us how little influence the poor or middle class of this nation have in the rule of law or direction of this country. Money and a herd mentality in both parties rule the day.

To further remark on the President’s disastrous comments of last week: No, the private sector is not “fine.” In my immediate vicinity, brick and mortar stores are closing in large numbers, condo complexes meant for purchase are struggling to rent their units. More foreclosures and short sales are further driving down our home values.

Wages are stagnant for those who are lucky enough to have a job. Qualified professionals are losing their jobs left and right. Teachers are being laid off but the bureaucrats who run the programs are still employed.

We need to be honest about what is happening out here on the ground. Platitudes are not cutting it. No sector is “just fine” right now. Period.

Our current situation proves the reason for Professor’s Ungers’ complaints. We are turned into suckers every day, used as guarantors for the recklessness that occurs higher up the food chain of government (in both parties), special interests, big banks and big PhRma.

I doubt I am as far to the left as Professor Unger, but I do agree with him that until you purge the greed and self-interest that has infected the Party, we cannot move forward effectively on true progressive policy. In its way, I think the sincerest members on the ground in the Tea Party are efforting to do the same with the Republicans.

It does not matter whether we agree with either Mr. Unger or the Tea Party or their specific prescriptions as much as the thesis that is central to both their statements: that each party has gone off the rails in terms of whose interests it really represents.

Even Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has stopped drinking the Kool-Aid – a shocking development in itself. Milbank has grown tired of the President’s insincere rhetoric. His laments can be read here [“Skip the Falsehoods Mr. President, and Give Us A Plan”] and here [“Pile-up at the White House”].

In its morning roundup, Politico offered a telling headline…


…followed by an ironic one

MILESTONE: Obama played his 100th round of golf as president at the Beverly Country Club in Chicago yesterday.

Governing is a burden. It is also a privilege and one that the President dearly wanted. But it is also a “burden” that we expected him to assume with gusto. Mr. Baker of the New York Times reports:

“…Whether from ripples of the European fiscal crisis or flare-ups of violence in Baghdad, it is easy to be whipsawed by events. The trick for any president, of course, is in not seeming to be whipsawed, even as his challenger presents him as weak and ineffectual in shaping international events.”

Juxtapose that quote with this one from Mark Knoller of CBS News in re Mr. Obama’s myriad golf outings:

“It’s the only time that for six hours, I’m outside,” said the president in a CBS News interview with Harry Smith. He said its one of the few times as president “where you almost feel normal” in the sense that he feels outside the security bubble that envelopes him at all times.

And Mr. Knoller’s reaction…

“But never is the game of golf more controversial than when it’s played by an American president. It infuriates critics who demand to know why he’s not working on the nation’s problems. It makes his supporters aggressively defensive about his right to have a few hours of recreation.”

Amidst the suffering of many, count me in as one of the critics. Everyone needs recreation, but this is ridiculous. I don’t get paid what the President gets paid, nor do I have a lifetime pension and healthcare with six-figure speaking engagements and book deals to look forward to when I am done with my tenure. A lifetime of R&R await when he is done, should he so choose.

Echoing the circumstances of millions, my life is replete with painful crises at the moment. I neither have the time to spare nor the money to spend on this kind of continual recreation when my family is in need of my help.

We are all President Obama’s family. And we need his help. The recent spate of Presidential fundraisers with the privileged and out-of-touch “cult culture” of Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker hosting $40,000 a plate dinners send exactly the wrong message at this dire time. And if someone is going to tell me that President Bush spent lots of time “chopping cedars in Texas,” with all due respect, he is not necessarily the gold standard by which we judge the work of “good Presidenting.”

The elitist, out-of-touch behavior reflected in his choice of activities sits in sharp contrast to the growing disillusionment and anger felt even by some of Mr. Obama’s previously fervent supporters.

Respectfully, Mr. President, spend more time working and less time golfing and raising money so you can convince people to let you keep working while you continue golfing, campaigning, and raising money. If you are accomplishing a goal, or at the least, working hard towards it, people notice. They notice a heck of a lot more than someone who is campaigning all the time, blaming everyone else for what they are not accomplishing while they are out campaigning and golfing and raising money. I wager that more effort spent behind the desk rather than on the links or causing traffic jams while going to expensive fundraisers would not only look better, but elevate the president’s re-election chances.

To echo the protests of Professor Unger and Dana Milbank, for that matter, gobs of campaign cash will not fix what ineffective policy and inattentiveness to our real problems have broken.
Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary Supporter’s Rude Awakening, available at Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.

Follow Anita on Twitter.

  • shelldoll2

    Cue the theme music to Jaws.

  • Popsmoke

    Unger just helped Obama get reelected. Mainstream America is not progressive….

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  • creeper00

    Oh, give me a break. I open NQ for the first time in months and see this drivel, with a link to PuffHo to boot. Did you not listen to the man or is your comprehender on the fritz? Unger is arguing Obama should be replaced because he is NOT FAR LEFT ENOUGH.

    Are you so desperate to cite people opposing Obama that you’d quote this leftist? Celebrating someone who acknowledges Barry-O is shit-for-brains is utterly nonsensical if that person’s argument is that Barry-O ought to be doing MORE of what you despise instead of less.

    And BTW, you’re a little late to the party. I saw this almost a month ago.

    Maybe I’ll check back in a few more months to see if sanity has returned to NQ.

  • foxyladi14

    spend more time working

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  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    What could be sadder than the unrequited love of a delusional academic mentor as he watches his academic protege embrace a different delusion?
    As far as the MSM is concerned, the smell of political blood has more often than not proved a more powerful compulsion than liberal dogmatism.

  • TeakWoodKite

    “my life is replete with painful crises at the moment.”

    • HELENK2

      no problem , prayers starting now

    • foxyladi14

      praying Teak.

    • TeakWoodKite

      Oh Crap not me., Thankfully. That is what Ani wrote in her post, so…the prayers are for Ani.

  • TriciaX

    I’m a Centrist Democrat. But, still, that’s what I call a powerful speech! Fascinating.


    when your media lapdogs start making excuses on why you can not do your job, you are in trouble


    3 dems running this year decide to skip the national convention. When they do not want to be in the same room with you , you should know you are in trouble

  • lola828

    Unger sounds like a bit of a loon and it is election time so all the loons are coming out.

    By the way, despite what Ani might say, this Professor was not a mentor to Obama, but only taught him ONE course.

    And for many of you on NQ, who have railed against liberals and progressives, I suggest you read his remarks closely, as Unger is saying that Obama has not been enough of a progress or liberal, something many of your Tea Partiers I am sure would just love. You should all be violently disagreeing with Unger and be glad that Obama is not the image that Unger hoped he would be.

    He has no positive things to say about Republicans or Romney.

    Quoting Huffington Post now. A few of you should be against that.

    Funny that a fake Progressive like Ani takes every opportunity to tear down the President, encouraging people to vote for the GOP and Romney. Do you have a clue how far right the GOP have turned? Ani complains about big money, but there is only one party that has been coralled by billionaires and it ain’t the Democratic Party.

    This is a pretty lame post and rant. You really get to no point other than a bunch of generic standard complaints about golf and about what some of Obama critics are saying.

    Why do you think the President spends too much time golfing or raising money? Has that been your critique of all Presidents before Obama, as they all have done it. You should be criticizing the fact that our politicitians have to spend so much time fund raising these days to keep up with the opposition. Obama has to go to individuals to raise money and Romney is getting $100 mms through Rove and others from big money corporate and billionaires.

    • Flop_Flipper

      Your habit of commenting on this website is becoming tiresome. You have crossed lines and boundaries that are not without consequence. We put up with your inane Obot routine out of courtesy and respect for differing opinions. And amusement. But what we will not tolerate is blatant unprovoked attacks against author contributors.

      That you falsely attribute lies to justify your behavior is obvious and reprehensible. But you don the Obama coat of arms, so I expect it.

      I have politely requested that you Fuck Off on numerous occasions. Unfazed, you persist in your dribble. Stammering on as fast as cut and paste, completely original thought patterns allow. So rather than repeat myself to something that is as obviously deaf as it is dumb, let’s test whether you are blind as well. How many fingers am I holding up?

      Bronwyns, isn’t it about time to get rid of this thing? When it isn’t around communication thrives and we have peace.

      • lola828

        You reply say more about you than me.

        You cannot deal with any push back. Even the slightest push back (just one comment on this post that goes against the NQ conventional wisdom) on here and you are screaming censorship.

        You and your NQbots scream about the constitution, freedom, America, but as soon as someone disagrees you cry censorship.

        Hey if you go not like my comments then do not read they and do not reply.

        NQ wants to blast their view to the world and have a public comment section. Deal with some different viewpoints, like every other website does.

        Better yet why not make your best arguments instead of hiding being censorship. If you think I am lying then prove it or make your case. Why are you so scare to argue the issues?

        • HARP2

          There is no sense in responding to someone as logomachic as you.

          • Anthony_1

            Dig a pit, get the lotion, hook up the hose

    • AnitaFinlay

      Unger was an advisor to Obama in his 2008 campaign.
      Plenty of big money in both parties. As usual you do not read what I post — which bashes both parties. That is the point Unger is making — both parties are corrupt and help themselves and big money interests — not us. Real Democrats barely exist in this bunch. Your talking points to defend your boss are not cutting it — even his fans are refuting them.

      • foxyladi14

        Good article, Ani.

      • lola828

        Unger was an advisor? Really! How about give us a link to prove how important he was to Obama?

        I don’t think you get the point. The Democrats largely raise their money from indivduals. The GOP, particularly in this cycle, are reliant on a few very big money corporations and individuals. Look at the campaign financing records. Romney’s and the GOP fundraising is far more concentrated than those of Obama and the Democrats. When you get one individual (Sheldon Adelson) saying he might donate up to $100 million to Romney and the GOP, that is buying a lot of regulation, Israeli policy and influence. The is nothing even close to this on the Democratic side.

        Read this:

        “real Democrats” what a joke coming from you. I have read you posts over the last 4 years and you are not a Democrat. You are just a loon like Unger. Just a hater because your candidate Clinton lost.

        • BronwynsHarbor

          Ah. Anti-Israeli to boot.

    • TeakWoodKite

      “You should all be violently disagreeing with Unger”.
      And it’s your job to tell us all how to think? You are a mistake.

      • BronwynsHarbor

        Hilarious, Teak.

  • riellyrltr

    The rats are certainly jumping ship in a big way. It seems to be snowballing. Even some at MSNBC are becoming skeptical.
    Now if only Bob Beckel would open his beady little eyes.

    • KenoshaMarge

      It’s okay with me if Beckel doesn’t open his beady little eyes. I just wish he’d shut his big fat mouth. What a disgusting POS!

  • Flop_Flipper

    I place economy among the first and most important virtues and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.

    Thomas Jefferson

    • BronwynsHarbor

      Wow. That’s all. Just wow.

  • Flop_Flipper

    While I snicker in delight that actual human beings who happen to be Democrats have a few bad things to say about Obama, I’m not getting all worked up about some ultra leftist giving Obama his due. The guy is like a respectable version (someone with intelligence) of Kos lamenting the Democrats aren’t extreme enough. I’ve heard that tale before. Remember 2008?

    What would make me sit up and take notice would be for some prominent Democrats to condemn their party for throwing out us moderates. Then what they say might have some relevance to me personally.

    It’s truly a sad state of affairs when we get all excited because a few (very few) Democrats criticize Obama. As if dissent was somehow unpatriotic or inappropriate.

    • EllenD818

      Yes, FF, this is a rant from a teacher that laments that Obama isn’t left enough.
      Though I don’t understand his position.
      He thinks the country would go more left if we first went more right?
      I hope he doesn’t teach logic.

      • TriciaX

        No, he thinks that if Obama loses the Democrats will be forced to revitalize themselves (in ways he likes, he hopes) over the next 4 years.

        • EllenD818

          Isn’t that like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
          I find that dubious thinking from an academic

          • TriciaX

            LOL! Yes, it does sound like that, doesn’t it. But he may be right. Dems seem so stuck now. Need a big jolt. It’s not the party I joined a long while back!

  • HARP2

    Obama Threatens Any Opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with the Withdrawal of All U.S. Aid

    The Obama administration warned Egypt’s military leaders on Monday to
    speedily hand over power or risk losing billions of dollars in U.S.
    military and economic aid to the country.

  • BronwynsHarbor

    Ani’s link to the Huffington Post article is worth following. Here it is: “
    Roberto Unger, Obama’s Former Harvard Law School Professor, Says The President ‘Must Be Defeated’
    ” The entire article is an interesting read.

  • BronwynsHarbor

    The last two sentences about democracy: “Its speech is always dangerous. Its silence is always fatal.”

    Oh my god. He is so brilliant … what a rare mind he has. Probably a lot of people may be turned off by his talk about progressives, but I have a hunch that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, et al. would have understood him perfectly.

    He is truly rare in having the courage to shatter Obama’s fake image.

    Another thing: If HE is saying this, I can only imagine how many more top-level academics are saying the same things to each other across the nation and in other countries. The disappointment and disillusionment with Obama is palpable. I hope that more people of his calibre speak out. Before it’s too late.

    • KenoshaMarge

      I agree the man is brilliant. But he’s waaaaay too far left for me. And for what is basically a center right country.

      If the good professor had the kind of President he wants those of us who are moderate, and to the right of progressives would be just as unhappy as we are now. Perhaps unhappier because the kind of President the good Professor wants would be more competent. That’s a frightening thought for me.

  • miriam

    Actually, Dana Milbank seems to have had an awakening sometime before the 2008 election. He was fired as a commentator on obnoxious Keith Olbermann’s show for not being sufficiently reverential to then candidate Obama.

    • AnitaFinlay

      Unfortunately, when it counted, he was busy trashing Hillary…

  • Jo Freespirit

    Good article, Ani. It’s a welcome change to see a progressive and strong Obama supporter publicly nail him. Whether you with Unger’s political views or not, you have to give him props for sticking to his principles.

    • AnitaFinlay

      Agreed. Too many have watched him throw away every progressive principle and defend him regardless. Some leeway is understandable, of course, but this much crony capitalism and capitulation is not something that can be overlooked. As I mentioned, Prof. Unger is too far left for me but he has the right idea insofar as wishing to get the influence of “filthy lucre” out of politics.

      • lola828

        “Throw away every progressive principal”
        Complete bullshit! I thought Obama was a socialist or the most left wing or liberal President ever!
        I suppose getting 30 million people healthcare is throwing away progressive principals. That achievement alone is worth the entire first term.
        I suppose the biggest financial sector reform with many new consumer protections is throwing away Progressive values.

        • scottymac54

          I guess it depends upon what type of progressive you’re willing to settle for.
          I’m not sure how progressive Obamacare is, when you consider that he basically allowed the giant pharmaceutical concerns to write it for him.
          And I’m still waiting for something, anything, that resembles true “financial sector reform”.

    • BronwynsHarbor

      Exactly, Jo!

      I’d love to know how many of Unger’s fellow professors — and other top academics across the world — are listening to him and agreeing with him.

      • KenoshaMarge

        I’m sure many agree. I doubt many will make their disenchantment public. I also have no doubt that they will toddle off to the polls and vote for him in November. So their disenchantment means nothing.

  • getfitnow

    I agree with the bottom line. That One has to be defeated. The prof’s idealogy—not so much. Obama has advanced his “progressive” agenda quite enough for me, thanks.

  • buzzlatte3

    The only problem in asking Obama to work more is that he really doesn’t know how. I’d rather see him gone, gone, gone out of the oval office or basketball room than have another executive order or edict.

  • Hokma

    I think what Unger did may actually help Obama with independents. Unger showed himself to be more comfortable with EU nations with long standing socialist policies like Greece, Spain, and Italy.

    However, the criticism of noramlly reliable media sycophants may be an effort to knock him down before the convention with the hope of replacing him with a candidate who would have a chance of beating Romney.

    I would attribute many of Obama’s actions to the fact that he never ran anything his his life unti he was inaugurated as President. So just does know any better.

    Monica Crowley just came out with a new book that clearly articulates Obama’s path that has him embracing socialism.

  • KataKimbe

    OK… Not a fan of this new Disqus. No Like buttons? What is up with that? Annoyed.

    • KataKimbe

      OK… me = stupid and blind. You have the arrows up and down instead. Sorry.

  • KataKimbe

    I really enjoyed your take on this, even if I may be more moderate than you. You hit the nail on the head. :-)

    • AnitaFinlay

      Thanks, but actually, I am pretty moderate, too! Appreciate your dedication in making a comment. Disqus ain’t easy!! :)

      • foxyladi14

        life is like that. lol