I am no fan of Obama but the principled pronouncements of the pompous professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger fall clearly into my major "GIMME A BREAK" department.
Who is this guy?
Gary Wills begins his critique the notion of purity in politics by noting Unger's claim to fame:
Roberto Unger, descended from a famous Brazilian family [and Brazilian citizen], is a respected philosopher, a famous political activist, and a professor at the Harvard Law School (tenured there, thirty-six years ago, at the unusually young age of twenty-nine). He has many just grounds for being famous. But he is best known now, in recent news items, for having taught Barack Obama two courses at Harvard. The professor has released a special video saying that he is too principled to have any further dealings with his former student. His message is that “Obama must be defeated” for failing to advance the progressive agenda.But wait, 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 as 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. You can read his rather delusional views about nature here.
[UPDATE - 21 June 2012: I really urge readers to check out Unger's nature essay. He is the one who guided the design of the devastating strategic development plan for the Brazilian Amazon -- the plan that is now being implemented aggressively by the government of President Dilma Rousseff. In a sense, I'm rather happy that Obama is not posturing at RIO +20. If one has nothing to offer, it's best to shut up.]