October 27, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama--Socialist is as socialist does

As I was making the usual blog rounds, I stumbled upon this post here at the Sound Politics Public Blog by TrueSoldier discussing a 2001 Obama Chicago public radio interview. TrueSoldier tipped the hat to Michelle Malkin, and I now in turn tip the hat to both TrueSoldier and Malkin. Here's a bit of Michelle's post:

The blogosphere is buzzing about this video posted on YouTube Sunday night. It's Barack Obama musing about how best to redistribute wealth in America in a Chicago Public Radio interview in 2001.

Not whether, but how: Through the courts or through legislation?

A caller asks The One to explain how he would do "reparative economic work." Obama gives the legislative route two thumbs up as his preferred method of "breaking free of the constraints" placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution and then burbles about cobbling together the "actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change."

Here is the actual audio of that interview:

Here is the transcript (done by Stop The ACLU) of part of that interview:

SEN. 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 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.
emphases mine

Ok, whoa. Let's see if I can't wipe that "Oh. My. Gosh." look off my face and gather some thoughts:

Just over a week ago, a formerly unknown man nicknamed "Joe the Plumber" (yes, he already has a wikipedia entry) was thrust into fifteen-minute fame by simply asking Sen. Barack Obama a question about his tax plan, to which Sen. Obama responded in part with his now famous, "spread the wealth" comment. Just days ago, Sen. Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, was hammered in an Orlando-based WFTV interview:

Kudos to Barbara West for those tough questions. (Any bets on how long she'll stay employed in the mainstream media?) In response to one particularly stinging question about the famous "to each his own" Karl Marx quote, Sen. Biden was quick to deny as much of a hint that Sen. Obama might cling to blatantly socialist ideals and merely euphemized Obama's socialist-leaning economic policies with the excuse that they just want to expand the middle class. Clearly, from the above 2001 interview with Sen. Obama, and also from his "spread the wealth" comment just recently, the desire to merely expand the middle class is not entirely true, and Sen. Biden is trying his darndest to help Sen. Obama cover his ass, and he happened to get angry and defensive while doing so. In response to this "unprofessional interview", the Obama campaign issued the following written statement to WFTV, effectively blacklisting them and canceling a previously scheduled interview with Mrs. Biden:

"There's nothing wrong with tough questions, but reporters have the very important job of sharing the truth with the public -- not misleading the American people with false information. Senator Biden handled the interview well; however, the anchor was completely unprofessional. Senator Biden's wife is not running for elected office, and there are many other stations in the Orlando television market that would gladly conduct a respectful and factual interview with her."

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election."

Personally, I'd like to know what "false information" was the reporter "misleading the American people" with? Was it the comment about donations from Obama to ACORN? Many people are claiming that during the primary season, the Obama campaign donated over $800,000 to ACORN for a get-out-the-vote effort, but when I checked factcheck.org and politifact.com, after some digging, I finally found this on politifact.com:

During the third presidential debate, McCain made the additional charge that the Obama campaign directed campaign money to ACORN, calling the group "the same front outfit organization that your campaign gave $832,000 for 'lighting and site selection.'"

Here's what we know about that allegation: The Obama campaign paid a group called Citizens' Services $832,386 during the primaries. (For comparison, the Obama campaign has spent an overall $391-million through August 2008.) Some of the expenditures are listed as sound, stage and lighting, and others are listed as get-out-the-vote efforts. ACORN has said Citizens Services subcontracted out part of the get-out-the-vote work to ACORN, but ACORN officials say it was "a small amount." The Obama campaign said it paid Citizens' Services, who in turn paid $80,000 to ACORN. The two groups share offices in New Orleans.

We can confirm through campaign finance public records that Obama paid Citizens' Services, but we can't independently confirm what part of the contract ACORN actually received, so we are not ruling on that statement. We're including the facts of the matter here for our readers to consider for themselves.

Now that I think about it, I do remember hearing that $80,000 number from an ACORN spokesperson on the radio about a month ago when that was the buzz of the day. So I guess you could say that on that note, Sen. Biden was telling the truth--as far as anyone knows, the Obama campaign has not directly paid ACORN one red cent during this campaign; the fact remains, however, that ACORN did indeed receive some money (not much when you consider how much the guy has blown this campaign season) indirectly from the Obama campaign.

But really, I don't believe Barbara West misled the American people at all by relating Obama's recent comments to socialism. Honestly, it's true.


Cross-posted on Artful Politics.

Posted by Cydney at October 27, 2008 12:43 AM | Email This
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