“Spreading the wealth” – part 2: 2001 interview catches Obama in rare moment of pure honesty

Posted by: ST on October 27, 2008 at 8:23 am

Um, Senator Obama, you’ve got some serious explaining to do:

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 tendency 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.

Senator McCain, you’ve got more message-hammering to do.

To WFTV’s Barbara West: You were right. No wonder Team Barry’s cut your entire station off from immediate future interviews.

The reax to this story are starting to pile up at Memeorandum.

Update – 9:24 AM: Bill Whittle has more excerpts from the 2001 interview. This is really damning, IMO.

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25 Responses to ““Spreading the wealth” – part 2: 2001 interview catches Obama in rare moment of pure honesty”

Comments

  1. pjean says:

    Of course, the latest statement from the Obama campaign about this interview is that his message was misunderstood. The term “redistribution of wealth” needs no clarification. That audio clearly explains that he believes that he has a far better grasp on what the Founding Fathers should have written in the Constitution. My description? Typical for an “armchair, quarter-backen, elitist.

  2. yo says:

    This could be huge and a game changer if it is played right. Of course,as always, mccain’s campaign will be called racist and liars if it is effective, but GO FOR IT!

  3. alchemist says:

    I’m looking for a full transcript before I comment… anybody seen one?

  4. forest hunter says:

    alchemist: With all due respect, it doesn’t seem to have stopped you before. Do you really doubt his intended deviant plans…….not really a question.

    Apologists for Marxist fools like BHO, blinded by their own self-inflicted ignorance, are as dangerous as any voter fraud that ACORN can/does/will whip up! Dare I say anti-American saboteurs……

  5. Chris in NC says:

    Sorry, but I wouldn’t get too excited over this. No one who can be swayed will see it as the press won’t report it and no one who sees it needs to be told about it.

    Doing his best Obi Wan voice: This isn’t the October Surprise you’ve been searching for. But that one may be coming if the LA Times can be forced to reveal it…

    Of course, that doesn’t mean don’t push it. You never know when something may slip through the MSM’s Barack info blockade.

  6. NC Cop says:

    What will the Obama campaign have to say about this? Will Senator Obama come out with a logical explanation, perhaps even and admission of something stupid said when he was younger and less experienced??

    Apparently not:

    Obama Camp Lashes Out at FOX News Over Coverage of 2001 Radio Interview

    Barack Obama’s campaign is firing back against criticism over a seven-year-old radio interview in which Obama discussed wealth redistribution, specifically blaming FOX News for drawing attention to the issue.

    That’s right, Barry O., how dare Fox news investigate and question, THAT’S NOT THEIR JOB, right?!?! Their supposed to sit there with a stupid grin on their face and drool running out of their mouth like the rest of the media does when Barry O. utters a word.

    But Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Monday accused FOX News of pushing a “fake news controversy” to further an agenda.

    Much like a child who is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, his first reaction is “No, I didn’t!”

  7. alchemist says:

    Look, I had a feeling that he was not saying what you think he’s saying, I’m pretty sure I’m right. The best full transcript I can find is here. Although, there are a lot of misspellings, (and continually time markers thrown in). There’s also a link to the audio, which I have not had time to listen to. Sorry for the length in advance.

    Basically, this whole dialogue makes conversation about the supreme court and the civil rights era. It’s important to keep in mind he’s talking about 40-year old problems, and he rarely discusses financial reparation (instead focuses on basic rights). So when he gives the above statement:

    I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think 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 coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

    He’s not saying that the court should have interfered, he’s saying that civil rights groups should have relied on the courts less (which are not really built for these changes) and instead should have focused greater attention on getting out the vote and electing favorable senators that could allow them to change things like voter suppression, unequal schooling etc. etc; ie if some of these things had been fixed by the legislature instead of the courts, it’s possible that you could see African American communities of today functioning better than under court orders where some some legislature’s pushed non-compliance.

    Just to clarify: He’s talking about a redistribution FROM Jim Crow/Unequal schooling to a more equal set of rights (that’s clear if you look closer at his entire statement, and not something edited mid-sentence). (see top of page at link).

    Here is the more troubling paragraph, although he doesn’t implicitly say he’s for redistribution (again, misspellings are in the original draft).

    you know maybe i am showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor but you know i am not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts you know the institution just isn’t structured that way. just look at very rare examples where during desegregation era court was willing to for example order you know changes that cost money to local school district and the court was very uncomfortable with it it was hard to manage it was hard to figure out 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 is essentially is administrative and take a lot of time the court is not very good at it and politically it is 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 i think that as a practical matter that our institutions are just poorly equipped to do it.

    It’s a little difficult to read, but he argues that the court should not be in charge of redistribution. I don’t think that’s too controversial, especially if he’s still talking about 60′s civil rights movement (the general forum of the discussion). I think the idea is that because he says “could come up with a rational for bringing change through the court” that he therefore thinks it should be done. It’s not literally what he says though, he’s saying court-ordered redistributions are a bad idea, and then the transcript ends. He doesn’t venture any further into those waters.

    You can read deeper into that statement if you like, but he never actually says “I’m pushing for legislative redistribution”.

  8. Lorica says:

    It’s important to keep in mind he’s talking about 40-year old problems, and he rarely discusses financial reparation

    That he himself says are on going Alchemist. Your right he never does actually say that he is pushing for legistlative redistribution, but it sure seems like he desires to change the courts so that push can be made. Alchemist, this guy talks out of both sides of his mouth. When he says “you can make a case” does that not seem to indicate he is looking to change the courts so he can get the legislation passed?? This man knows how to beat around a bush with more legalease, and still say what everyone wants to hear, better than any human presently alive. Good Lord does he ever just come out and honestly answer a question??? – Lorica

  9. Lorica says:

    NC nice post. So this guy said some really stupid things 7 years ago, but we can’t use it against him because it isn’t right. Hey idiot, your in the big leagues now, if you can’t take the heat, go back to the Illinois Senate.

    At least he didn’t use the “R” word, in an attempt to guilt Fox News. – Lorica

  10. alchemist says:

    …but it sure seems like he desires to change the courts so that push can be made.

    Did you get this from somewhere in this interview, or from somewhere else? in this interview he seems to be arguing that such a ‘push’ would be a mistake.

    When he says “you can make a case” does that not seem to indicate he is looking to change the courts so he can get the legislation passed??

    Certainly plausible, but not neccessarily the case. Lawyers do this all the time. Lawyers are often paid to ‘make a case’ for a side, wether or not they agree with it. And he’s certainly saying that from a legal standard, you could make a case for redistributions (although I think he’s still talking about the general history of the court). But even a winning court case would not solve the problem (and may make that problem worse).

    And again, most of that conversation is talking about redistributions in schools, access, voting facilities, not about money.

  11. alchemist says:

    BTW: Steve Sailer has a different take on this interview here. I have come to a completely different conclusion than he has (I would guess you agree with him more than me).

  12. Severian says:

    i am not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts you know the institution just isn’t structured that way.

    What part of the above quote makes you think he doesn’t want redistributive change? If he had said “I’m not optimistic about bringing about major pedophilia through the courts” would you come to the conclusion he wanted to stop pedophilia?

    Damn, alchemist, you are in the tank for him to the point of going out of your way to find reasons to rationalize away what he actually says. And unfortunately the US is full of people just like you who want to say a rattlesnake isn’t a poisonous viper and think that makes it so.

  13. Lorica says:

    Well Alchemist since you seem to support my thoughts in your 2nd point, I guess I don’t have to answer your 1st point. Thank you for helping me to make my case.

    it didnt break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the constituion at least as it has been interpreted and the warren court interpreted it generally in the same way that the constitution is a document of negative liberties 40:43 says what the states cant do to you says what the federal govt cant do to you but it doesnt say what the federal govt or state govt mst do on your behalf and that hasnt shifted

    Ok Alchemist, how can you interpret this as anything but a wish list?? A hoped for eventuality??? How can any Supreme Court “break free” from the essential constraints of the Founding Fathers??? And if it did how soon before the Congress intervenes, as only Congress can?? He is talking to about why the Warren Court did not get into a redistributive mindset. I am sorry Alchemist, but knowing what we know about the Barry, I am pretty certain that the way we are interpreting this, is exactly how he originally intended. He was in a group of like minded people, and he was discussing their ideas of what should/could have happened.

    I ask you again Alchemist, how long are you going to make excuses for this man, even when the continued evidence is nipping at your nose??? I might be to harsh on him, but I am only interpreting his words based on things he has already said. You on the other hand seem to want to break everything down as an individual item, and ignore information already on hand, and I just don’t think that is a smart thing to do. – Lorica

  14. Lorica says:

    You know Alchemist, I want you to find the paragraph in the Constitution where it says that the Federal Government is to use our taxes for welfare or the enviroment or in the housing industry??? If you want to try and teach us how to be more realistic in our ideas, then show me where the Constitution allows for a majority of Government spending?? The Barry has worked the strings using Government to promote himself all along the way, but yet when he clearly is attempting to make a case for, as he told Joe the Plumber, his “spreading the wealth around” ideas, you want to justify it by saying that what he is saying isn’t what he means. Come on man, you know you are going to get called on posting that around here. – Lorica

  15. alchemist says:

    Ok Alchemist, how can you interpret this as anything but a wish list?? A hoped for eventuality???

    I didn’t read it that way, I took it as him saying “Look, the warren court followed the constitution and decided correctly not to do these things. And it was a mistake for the civil rights movement to think the courts would solve this problem. Even the warren court wasn’t this radical”

    At this point we just completely disagree on what is being discussed. I see it as primarily discussing court decisions and civil rights in the 60′s (you know, the central topic of the interview), you see it as a derivative of his modern mindset towards what the government should do (today).

    I guess we’ll find out in January.

  16. Lorica says:

    you see it as a derivative of his modern mindset towards what the government should do (today).

    Considering the fact that the interview is only 7 years old, and he is doing his damned best to quash it, I don’t know how you can interpret it any other way except for the fact that you want to ignore his other statements and actions.

    I seriously doubt we will find out in January. I don’t even think that he will even come close to winning this election. The polls are completely biased, and the main stream news media is blinded by their bias and most people believe what they say. I just don’t see the win. – Lorica

  17. Great White Rat says:

    OK, let’s go through this slowly now. Start with this sentence:

    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

    Meaning, the courts enforced civil rights. Fine.

    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.

    As I see it, this is a complaint. Remember, this is the pre-presidential campaign Obama, the one who ran on the ballot of the New Party and deliberately shortchanged Chicago schoolchildren by diverting more than $100 million to radical groups and causes, some of them selected by a certain unrepentant domestic terrorist, someone we’re not supposed to know or ask about. Obama isn’t defending the Warren court when he says it was “not radical” – he is criticizing it. The only difference between that Obama and the one we see today is the filter of a campaign organization that spins away every wealth-redistribution gaffe.

    I think 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 coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

    Translation: since the courts won’t do wealth redistribution for us, we will take power (“put together the actual coalition of powers”) and seize people’s property by any means necessary (“political and community organizing”). He sees letting you keep what you earn as a bad thing (“we still suffer from that”) and as President, he plans to correct that mistake.

    See? It’s really not difficult to understand. Unless, like alchemist, you have you eyes closed and your fingers in your ears.

  18. alchemist says:

    Ok, I’ll add this last little tidbit GWR, but I’m basically done for the week (actually have work to finish). In the 60′s, the black population was being prevented from a)voting b)having equal schools c)having equal say in government d)blocking discrimination. All these problems were caused by local government enforcement of segregation.

    I believe Obama is talking about the redistribution of civil rights (except for the very last question) and saying the Civil Rights movements put all it’s eggs in the courts, and even though the courts ruled on their side, it was still difficult to approach these problems because local government scorned the court decision anyway. Therefore, reconciliation and desegregation took longer than necessary, and that prevented the redistribution of civil rights.

    His conclusion: If civil rights groups IN THE 60′s had focused on the legislature, change may have come sooner (and some of the repercussions of desegregation might have smaller lingering effects).

    Nowhere in this interview (at least that I have seen) does he talk about changes that should be made TODAY. And that’s where I believe this argument jumps the shark.

  19. Severian says:

    You don’t “redistribute” civil rights, you grant the same rights to everyone. The Civil Rights movement was never about taking away whites right to vote and giving the right to vote to blacks. Redistribution has only one meaning and that is with respect to property and money.

    The lengths you go to to wrap yourself up in pretzel logic to rationalize and defend the Obama are truly incredible, but hardly unusual unfortunately.

  20. Great White Rat says:

    Exactly, Sev. Obama was very clear about what he meant. When he talks about “redistributive change” he means what he spoke of earlier in the quote – “redistribution of wealth”. It couldn’t be clearer. To miss that, one either has to be very slow or willingly blind. Alchemist is the latter.

    Besides, alchemist, your history is a little hazy. You say civil rights groups didn’t focus on the legislature. I seem to recall something called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that is considered the breakthrough point of that movement. It was followed quickly by laws such as the Voting Rights Act and others. The 1960′s civil rights movement won victories on both the judicial and legislative fronts. Obama acknowledges the judicial triumphs, but he’s unhappy because the Warren Court didn’t rip apart the economic foundations of the nation.

    Bottom line: Obama is trying to steal the moral authority of a legitimate and worthy cause (the civil rights movement of the 60s) and link it to his own redistributionist agenda, as if one logically follows from the other. It doesn’t, and that’s the fallacy that he hopes you won’t detect.

    Or, if you did detect it, he hopes that you’ll perform unbelievable mental contortions to pretend he’s saying something other than what he states in plain English. Clearly, he can always count on you for that.

  21. Lorica says:

    Sort of like the surge did a remarkable job, but it still didn’t work??? – Lorica

  22. nottydreads (aka "This One") says:

    Any tax policy based on any practical ideology associated with America is going to be “redistributive”. Having lofty ideals like “equality under the law” insures such. Only a “zero” or user tax can escape the “fate of re-distribution”.

    As with most taxes, it’s not a question of whether they’ll be re-distributed, but how they’ll be re-distributed.

  23. alchemist says:

    Sorry, I really am done, but I found this article that better argues my position. It discusses the relevant court cases given IN THE INTERVIEW and how ‘redistribution‘ is used as in these court cases.

    Note: He deliberately points out that Obama is not talking about taxes.

  24. Great White Rat says:

    Alchemist, did you even take the time to read the article before you linked it? I mean, other than the title.

    Take this quote, from an Obama advisor, in your link:

    He thinks the civil rights movement misjudged the courts’ utility—they were good for providing for a right to vote and for black people to sit with white people at a lunch counter, to use Obama’s examples, but they’re not good for deciding who’s entitled to what government benefits or property rights.

    Read that last part over. Carefully and slowly. Obama’s advisor is saying the same thing ST, and Sev, and I are saying. The courts are good for enforcing rights. But they aren’t good – or as Obama would put it, “not radical” – for confiscating property and turning it over to someone the left finds more deserving.

    If you don’t see that when the Obama campaign talks about “wealth” and “property”, they mean earnings and possessions, not rights, your powers of comprehension are less than I believed.

    I repeat: Obama’s trying to pretend that his redistributionist schemes are a logical extension of the 1960s civil rights movement. That’s a reprehensible, dishonest, and cynical misuse of the legacy of true civil rights heroes like Dr. King.

    But it does pave the way for calling anyone who disagrees with his redistribution plans a racist (gee, there’s a surprise, huh?), and it gives those who blindly follow Obama a fig leaf for their irrational desire to punish anyone who works hard and succeeds.

  25. Lorica says:

    Amen GWR!!! This isn’t about wasteful uses of our tax dollars. This is about the theft of wealth by the government. This is about a Barry presidency “confiscating”, better known as stealing, wealth and using the courts to do just that. A punitive judgment against the wealthy so to speak. This is what I have been talking about. At no point do you see me discussing wasteful uses of our tax dollars. – Lorica