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Socialist. Possibly Marxist.
Via Michelle Malkin,
Transcript from Stop the ACLU:
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 [sic] 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.
More transcript from Bill Whittle
You know, I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, it’s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.
So I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it, legally, you know, I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.”
Well, at least no one can say this election isn’t about anything. Clearly, what it’s about is two different philosophies concerning the best way to structure an economy. (And more and more, I think the financial markets realize this.) Keep in mind, now, that every Obama economic adviser I can think of—Warren Buffett, Austan Goolsbee, Jason Furman, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Jared Bernstein—thinks that we need higher income and investment taxes to deal with income inequality and that tax rates would pretty much have to double before they would hurt the economy. So Obama’s comments reflect a core belief system that he’s apparently held for years and continues to hold.
Who broke this story? The Press? No.
Ed posts the Obama campaign response, and comments,
Team Obama responds. I’m including the entire statement, to avoid more accusations of context shifting:
“In this interview back in 2001, Obama was talking about the civil rights movement – and the kind of work that has to be done on the ground to make sure that everyone can live out the promise of equality,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton says. “Make no mistake, this has nothing to do with Obama’s economic plan or his plan to give the middle class a tax cut. It’s just another distraction from an increasingly desperate McCain campaign.”
Burton continues: “In the interview, Obama went into extensive detail to explain why the courts should not get into that business of ‘redistributing’ wealth. Obama’s point – and what he called a tragedy – was that legal victories in the Civil Rights led too many people to rely on the courts to change society for the better. That view is shared by conservative judges and legal scholars across the country.
“As Obama has said before and written about, he believes that change comes from the bottom up – not from the corridors of Washington,” Burton says. “He worked in struggling communities to improve the economic situation of people on the South Side of Chicago, who lost their jobs when the steel plants closed. And he’s worked as a legislator to provide tax relief and health care to middle-class families. And so Obama’s point was simply that if we want to improve economic conditions for people in this country, we should do so by bringing people together at the community level and getting everyone involved in our democratic process.”
I’d say that the first hint that the initial analysis was correct was in Obama’s estimation of the Warren Court — one of the most activist in history — as somehow not radical in its nature. Second, in the quote itself, Obama calls the failure to “bring about redistributive change” a tragedy. That doesn’t sound like someone who hails the court’s limitation on redistributionism — or, to use Obama’s analogy, liked the fact that the court allowed him to eat at the lunch counter but didn’t pick up the tab for him as well.
The point about the courts is really secondary. In this passage, Obama identifies himself as a redistributionist, even if he’s saying that the courts are not going to be a successful venue for it. Despite Burton’s little bit of misdirection, it’s very clear that Obama is highly sympathetic to “redistributive change” — and with an Obama administration coupled with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress, the courts won’t be necessary to effect that redistributive change anyway.
I think clearly he does not. Obama does not seek to overturn America as much as he wants to alter the parameters of the social contract between the people and the government. He doesn’t want to do away with this compact and replace it with something else. He wants to nibble around the edges and “reform” the way that the American people interact with their government. This means more dependence, less freedom of action for the individual, an imposed sense of “community,” more strictures on the economy, and a war against “greed.”