If your toilet is stopped up by something really big and smells really bad, you’ll probably need a plumber. Joe the Plumber, as it turns out, diagnosed the trouble, and yesterday we learned what it was. It smells really bad.
The tape recording of an interview that Barack Obama gave to Radio Station WBEZ in Chicago in 2001 surfaced, and in that interview Mr. Obama, then a law professor and a state senator, lays out how he would redistribute the wealth. He sounds like a man with a plan.
The interview explains a lot, beginning with the attempt, abetted by a mainstream media that no longer tries to hide its slavish obeisance to the Democratic campaign, to destroy Joe the Plumber and shut down discussion of the implications of what the candidate said.
Mr. Obama doesn’t think much of the Constitution, or even of the Supreme Court justices who have rewritten it over the years to accommodate notions of “social justice.” The Warren Court, which wrote finis to public-school segregation with its unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, has been decried since as radical, but it wasn’t radical enough. Earl Warren only pretended to be a soldier of the revolution.
One of the “tragedies of the civil-rights movement,” Mr. Obama says, is that the Supreme Court did not address redistribution of wealth, probably because of the inherent difficulty of achieving such goals through the courts. The Supreme Court did not break from the restraints of the Constitution and “we still suffer from that.” Mr. Obama is not “optimistic” that the Supreme Court can achieve redistribution of wealth - of taking from the workers to give to the deadbeats - but he obviously thinks he knows how to do it. A president with a compliant Congress, which he expects to be in January, can do it through legislation and “administration.”
The Barack Obama of this interview clearly does not think much of what the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us: “The Constitution reflected the enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on to this day. The framers had that same blind spot … the fundamental flaw of this country.”
Mr. Obama is a gifted politician, with the smarts to understand that this could be the “game-changer” that leaves his campaign, almost picture-perfect until now, in ruins. He understands that he has to fly under the radar for now. That’s why his campaign apparatus moves swiftly to dismiss questions about the Obama paper trail, such as it is, and to crush anyone bold and foolish enough to inquire into the real Barack Obama.
Joe the Plumber learned the hard way what happens to such questioners, and when a television reporter in Florida asked Joe Biden whether his running mate is a Marxist economist, good old Joe, usually eager to talk about everything, acted as if the interviewer had accused him of serial killing or child molesting. Some things just aren’t to be talked about, not now. Not Barack Obama’s radical notions about redistributing the wealth - which is, after all, the essence of Marxism. Not about how he intends to replace fundamental American values with values that most Americans, if they knew about them, would regard as alien and hostile.
If John McCain wants to change the game over the next seven days, he’ll have to break through the media screen to spell out, clearly, often and in detail, the implications of what Barack Obama actually means when he talks about how to redistribute the wealth. To redistribute wealth, you first have to confiscate it from those who earned it with hard work, and the way to do that is with confiscatory taxes. Then you give it to those who didn’t earn it. Such explanations, made with cool detachment, once would have been the work of the newspapers and even the television networks. But not this year. Mr. McCain can expect real grief from the media when the polls tighten.
There’s nothing ambiguous about Mr. Obama’s radical views, as revealed in this interview. He clearly thinks the Constitution was a “tragedy,” that the men who wrote it were not the revolutionary heroes plain Americans regard them to be, and their work must be corrected by the surviving radicals of the ‘60s and their progeny. Anyone who listens to this interview, available on YouTube.com, understands why Michelle Obama was never proud of her country until she thought the opportunity was at hand to destroy the country to save it, and why Barack Obama could spend 20 years comfortably listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright exhort God to damn America.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.