Obama's Redistributionist Obsession

Even by Internet speed standards, the reaction to the YouTube posting of a 2001 radio interview of Barack Obama on Chicago public radio station WBEZ has been fast and furious.

Based on when the first comment appeared, the YouTube post went up at about 8 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday. Within hours, it was the lead item at Drudge. As of 6 a.m. ET on Monday, the original post had over 2,500 comments. Proving that the Internet never sleeps, dozens of center-right blogs were on it before sunrise.

This is, and should be, a big, big deal, because it leaves Obama nowhere to hide. He clearly exposes himself as a far-left socialist who believes that income and wealth redistribution should have been an integral element of the 1960s civil rights movement.

Here's a full transcript, following the show host's routine introduction:

Obama: You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the courts, 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 a lunch counter and order, and as long as I was able to pay for it I'd be OK. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And 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 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, 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. And one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, 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 coalitions of power through which to bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that. ...

Karen (Caller): The gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasn't terribly radical with economic changes. My question is it too late for that kind of reparative work economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to take place?

Host: You mean the courts?

Karen: The courts, or would it be legislation at this point?

Obama: Maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. Y'know, the institution just isn't structured that way.

You look at very rare examples where during the desegregation era where the court, for example, was willing to, for example, order changes that cost money to local school districts, 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, y'know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time.

The court's just not very good at it, and politically it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally, y'know I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.

This is astounding stuff from a man who is one election away from the presidency. In politer tones, he is saying things that would make his mentors -- Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, and William Ayers, not necessarily in that order -- proud as peacocks. Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are probably beaming too.