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“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,” Mr. Obama says. “One of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was … [it] became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground … through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Later in the interview, a caller asks Mr. Obama how he would achieve “reparative economic work.”

Mr. Obama says he is “not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts,” attributing this in part to his bias as a legislator.

Michelle Malkin dryly notes this “redistribution/spread-the-wealth” discussion on Chicago NPR was “Not whether, but how” to redistribute. “Joe the Plumber, you barely scratched the surface,” she wrote at her site (www.michellemalkin.com).

The race card

Columnist Lewis Diuguid of the Kansas City Star (http://voices.kansascity.com/) has a very sensitive ear for code. Even calling a man a “socialist” is a racist smear.

According to him, “the ‘socialist’ label that Republican Sen. John McCain and his vice-presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.

“J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality. … McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black.”

La Shawn Barber noted at his site (http://lashawnbarber.com) that at least two of the men invoked as having been labeled “socialists” by Mr. Hoover were very much that. “W.E.B. DuBois, who helped found the NAACP, was a member of the Communist Party. Paul Robeson, singer, actor and activist, was a Marxist and a Communist.”

Rick Honcho (http://smithfiles.com/) notes that “if, historically, American socialists tended to be black, Diuguid’s Syllogism might have one leg to stand on. But that’s not the case.” He goes on to point out that the most prominent American socialists, however suspiciously regarded by the FBI and American society, have been white: Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Michael Harrington.

“Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Karl Marx, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, Mao Tse-tung, Adolph Hitler and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders were or are all black … Thank you Mr. Diuguid for re-educating me,” wrote Joe at Right Wing Rebel (http://rightwingrebel.com), though he added, “I’m a little confused though looking at this picture of Sanders, who is an admitted socialist, he sure doesn’t look black to me.”

Contact Victor Morton at vmorton@washingtontimes.com