Obama 2001: Scrap the Constitution, spread the wealth


All I can say is "Wow."

If McCain had known of this tape a few weeks ago, the chance to hammer Obama into submission would have been possible. Now, with just 8 days to election, he must work fast to exploit the shocking admissions made by Obama that 1) he believes that the Warren Court did not "break free from the essential constraints" found in the Constitution in order to redistribute wealth to the Black poor; and 2) he believes in "redistributive change" for America.

Here's the video of Obama's interview on Public Radio station WBEZ-FM in 2001:

Stop the ACLU has a partial transcript (Jay adds that a Gallup Poll in June found that by a margin of 84-13, Americans opposed "income redistribution:)

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn’t structured that way.

Ed Morrissey draws some conclusions:

The government does not exist to determine the acceptable level of wealth of its individual citizens.  For government to assume that role, it would have to end private property rights and assume all property belonged to the State.  That is classic Marxism, and as Barbara West of WFTV noted, it runs in Marx’s classic philosophy of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”.  That economic direction has been an abject failure everywhere it has been tried, and in many cases resulted in famines that killed millions of people.

The RNC and the McCain campaign has to get these quotes out to the American public in the final week of this election.

Update: One more clarifying thought is in order.  Barack Obama complains that the Constitution is a “charter of negative liberties”.  That’s because the Constitution was intended as a limiting document, to curtail the power of the federal government vis-a-vis the states and the individual.  The founders intended at the time to limit the reach of the federal government, and built the Constitution accordingly.

Barack Obama wants to reverse that entirely.  And that’s radical change you’d better believe in, or else.

Obama wishes to scrap the limits placed on government powers because they get in the way of his redistributive schemes.

What powers are we talking about? Private property rights for one. Since property is distributed "unequally" in Obama's world, policies must be shaped and laws passed to deal with that situation. While he's at it, Obama would like to trash the Bill of Rights by tossing the 9th and 10th Amendments which specifically limit the government's powers vis a vis the people and the several states.

Incredibly (and stupidly) Obama apologist Ben Smith of Politico attempts to come to Obama's rescue by ignoring just about everything he said and putting his redistributive plans in the mainstream:

[T]he RNC and Drudge today are driving a 2001 interview with a Chicago public radio station in which Obama talks about the value of "redistribut[ing] the wealth."

The context of the clip appears to be the civil rights movement, and the fairly commonplace observation (stated beginning with Martin Luther King) that the '60s movement succeeded in winning African-Americans legal rights but stopped short of lifting them out of poverty.

But Obama's professorial talk about "redistributive change," while perhaps an accurate way to talk about an agenda of raising taxes on the rich, sure isn't the language he'd use today.

No mention of Obama's curious views regarding the efficacy of the Constitution. But then, that's not Smith's job. He's there to get Obama elected and something this dangerous must be snuffed out by one of the favorite tactics of the press in this campaign; pretending that what Obama said isn't really what he meant and that what he meant is harmless fluff.

AT contributor Ethel Fenig is a little less casual in her take:

So yes Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Senator Biden, interviewer Barbara West was absolutely correct identifying your running mate's philosophy as Marxist and you are so wrong denying it.  No wonder the Obama-Biden campaign refuses more interviews with West, who is not afraid of asking the hard questions.  The Obama-Biden duo is afraid of the hard answers. 
How will both of you react when that 3pm phone call comes; when both of you are wide awake and alert?  And 3am?  You can't deny then; you can't take all your marbles and go home; you have to answer.  And both of you have proven you can't.

What does this mean for the race?

John McCain has been inching closer in the national polls but still trails in several key red states including Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, and Florida. Perhaps it is not coincidence that since McCain started to highlight Obama's "spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber, some voters may be coming out of their Obama stupor and taking notice of just how far left the Democratic candidate is.

Can this trend continue and can McCain still come back? Yes to both questions although it is very late in the race for a lot of voters to change their minds. The debates are over and unless McCain uses this tape in a massive ad campaign, only a fraction of voters who really pay attention to politics will hear it and understand the consequences.

So what he needs from this godsend of a tape is an altering of the playing field - a real game changer. By all rights, this should be a clincher. But since the McCain campaign will get zero help from the MSM in acting as a loudspeaker to get this out to the voter by reporting on it, McCain will have to do all the heavy lifting himself.

And the helluva it is, it may not be enough.

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