You are currently viewing the printable version of this entry, to return to the normal page, please click here.

PICKET:(AUDIO) Obama '01 - laments Constitution hasn't been interpreted to provide for 'wealth redistribution'

← return to Water Cooler

Much is being said about recent 1998 audio that was released showing then -  Illinois state senator Barack Obama saying he believes in government wealth redistribution.

He asks, “How do we structure government resources that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution? Because I actually believe in redistribution…at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot,” he said at Loyola University.

Interestingly, though, in 2001 Mr. Obama was interviewed by WBEZ and discussed the Constitution as being a “charter of negative liberties.” (H/T ACE of SPADES)

He particularly pointed out that 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.”

Senator Obama went further and said, “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 Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.”

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT 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 vest 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 okay. 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 it’s 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, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, 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.

← return to Water Cooler

About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

    LAMBRO: Skirting the lane-closure issue

  • Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

    LYONS: Benghazi demands a select committee in Congress

  • Happening Now