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The Redistribution of Wealth “Bombshell.”

October 27, 2008

Matt Drudge has reared his head and dug up the audio of a 2001 interview with Barack Obama in which he discusses the hot-topic “redistribution of wealth.”

The clip, which was part of a much longer discussion (you can download it here), includes the following excerpt:

OBAMA: 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 vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be okay.

But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried 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 it’s been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted. One of the I think tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributed change and in some ways we still suffer from that.

Cruising the right-wing blogs, I’m seeing words like:





And to be fair, this really does have some semblance of an October Surprise for the Obama campaign.  But if you really read his comments, and look past all the buzzwords that have the Right’s knickers in bunches, you’d see the actual intent of his statement:

His argument was that the civil rights movement was too court-focused.  The Constitution protected against negative liberties, and the civil rights activists made the decision to try to utilize the courts system to address income inequality — and the courts are not an effective mechanism to bring about that type of change. Simply put, the courts should not be used to legislate from.

The “tragedy” he spoke of was that that the civil rights movement “put all their eggs in the judicial basket,” so to speak.  They focused their energies into an entity which was not an effective means to address the income inequality that was running rampant at the time.

So basically, he was arguing against judicial activism.

Seems to me, that’s the conservative position on the judicial branch.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    October 27, 2008 12:37 pm

    Many people have no idea what socialism means. Socialism is when the government owns and runs an institution. “Social” Security is socialism. Are republicans advocating that we end Social Security and Medicare? I guess they are. I hope that seniors are smart enough to realize that they might lose their benefits if they do vote for McCain, because Republicans view those handouts to seniors as socialism (and many republicans are rich enough not to need social security and would rather not pay into it).

    Also, Republican leader George Bush and Henry Paulson have been buying banks the past couple of months. That is socialism, which is taking place at the request of Republican leader George Bush.

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