Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Monday, October 27, 2008

About that wealth redistribution thing ...

The "wealth redistribution" quote has been dogging Obama since he uttered it. He tried to spin it away, especially when the charge of socialism came to the forefront. His surrogates have attacked those who claim that the idea is socialist despite the fact that it is. Stop The ACLU has a bombshell of a report about Obama. They have the video, and transcribed it. Transcription below:

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.

A couple of points here. First, the court doesn't address wealth issues because that isn't under their purview. The court's constraints were put in place to ensure it would be the weakest of the three branches, able to guarantee our rights, and not a tyrannical threat. Second, the court wasn't supposed to break away from the imposed constraints. In fact to do so would have been a direct violation of their powers enumerated under Article III. Such a change wouldn't be construed as "good Behaviour." Third, the Preamble lays out the duties of the government, be it State or Federal.

I'd also like to address the idea of "negative liberties." What, exactly, does that mean? It almost sounds as if he's complaining about the way the Constitution was amended to allow him to sit at a lunch counter. It sounds like he wanted more than what he's been given. He's mad that the government is limited. Now, I've got no problem with the fact that we have done our best to ensure equality for all, but when they start complaining it's not enough, and that the government should be in the business of ensuring equality in the realm of wealth, then I get a tad irritated.

The Obama camp has fired back with a response to this:

“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.”

Captain Ed calls BS to the Obama spin:

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.

Obama can claim whatever he wants, but the simple fact is he believes it, and this is nothing more than socialism. That's the direction he wants to drive this nation in. He would love nothing more than to have this little soundbite go down the memory hole like so many other "distractions." But this isn't a distraction to us. It's the truth. He fully believes in redistributing the wealth of others to people who don't deserve it. Of course I'm of the mind that welfare should be ended, and reevaluated because it's not a solution to a problem. It's a drug, of sorts, to those who are on it. After all, why would one work when they get a free hand out from the government.

But that's an aside that I'll address on a later day. The focus of this is Barack Obama's ideas for this nation, especially his economic vision. That vision isn't one that's remotely close to the vision of the Founding Fathers. And if he wins, and the Democrats get their majorities in both Houses, he'll be able to do whatever he wants, and we'll be the ones getting the shaft. It's clear this man is dead-set on trying to create a socialist utopia in this country.

This is why he must be stopped. This is our October surprise. If we can get this out there -- either via 527s or urging the McCain camp to hammer this home in ads -- we have a chance to stop him. This is socialism, plain and simple.

Publius II


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