Roberto Unger's argument boils down to a damning indictment spelling out charges that the President has betrayed the progressive cause and those who militated for his election. The alleged betrayal is all the more painful, Professor Unger says, because it reveals a man who never was what he claimed to be.
Deep down, he is a conventionally conservative person- not just a politician who bowed to electoral expediency. Moreover, he claims that Obama has nailed the lid on the coffin of the Democratic Party that has veered sharply away from its historical constituency and principles."
Brenner himself, a hard-nosed pragmatist and analyst seems personally persuaded, writing, "How can one approve what he has done? How can one express approval of the man himself? Can one do so with a clear conscience? This question cannot be cavalierly cast aside as an exercise in vanity, as a naïve indulgence of misplaced moral purity.
It is true that the morality of individual action and ultimate ends always co-exists uneasily with standards of political ethics. But the two cannot always be reconciled. Is it unreasonable for someone to feel in his heart that he cannot tolerate pulling the Obama lever -- that the act itself sullies and degrades who he is? That it could even hamper his future ability to carry on as a public person with a sense of integrity unimpaired? I personally do not find it unreasonable."
Maybe not unreasonable but is it realistic? Some on the left think so, believing that a conservative Romney Administration will make a clearer target than a waffling Obama one.
Others say, no, we must hold our nose and vote for him hold on to the White House as a brake against what will certainly be worse.
Blacks and Latinos are rallying behind Obama for cultural reasons a well as political ones.
At the same time, some more traditional Democrats are furious with what they see as his elitism, conservatism and wrong headedness.
Jimmy Carter has attacked the White House on human rights lapses for violating 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as he wrote in a New York Times op-ed. He sees the Obama Administration as abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends, Carter argues.
Many of his former supporters are disillusioned. He has done little to even try to sustain their loyalty, having downsized and downplayed his "Organizing for America" initiative that was supposed to build grass roots support for his reform agenda.
He abandoned the outreach effort to build an outside force to focus on the compromise-ridden "inside game" of beltway politics.
The reservations by intellectuals are felt across the activist spectrum, among the Wall Street occupiers and anti-war activists. The anti-war groups and their supporters fear that because of set-backs on the economic front at home, he will escalate his role as "warrior in chief" and perhaps provoke a war with Iran to rally Americans to back his Administration because it is defending them against danger.
Do the majority of Americans care about these issues that are treated mostly uncritically in our media? No, says Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy magazine, " The overwhelming majority of Americans do not give a flying ". about the rest of the world.
Really, they don't. Take a look at poll numbers about priorities for the 2012 presidential campaign, and try to find anything to do with international relations. There ain't much. It's almost all about the domestic economy."