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Obama Would Stretch Constitution for “Redistributive Change” - Printable Version

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Obama Would Stretch Constitution for “Redistributive Change” - scpg02 - 11-05-2008

This was written prior to the election but given the results of the election I think it is worth reading.

Obama Would Stretch Constitution for “Redistributive Change”

Written by Warren Mass
Tuesday, 28 October 2008 09:14

Quote:Back in 2001, when Barrack Obama was a second-term Illinois state senator, he was interviewed for the Odyssey program on Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ 91.5 FM. A significant excerpt from that interview, during which Obama used the expression “redistributive change,” was recently posted on YouTube.

Here’s transcript of an excerpted portion of that interview:
  • 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 peoples, 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 the 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 it 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 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 powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

Though Obama’s Marxist-themed statement about “redistributive change” alone was enough to set the conservative blogosphere abuzz, with links to the Obama interview being emailed profusely, several other statements that Senator Obama made in that interview are equally allarming, considering that (according to opinion polls) he is very close to becoming the next president of the United States. Before taking that office, Obama, like all public officials, will be required to take an oath or affirmation promising to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” His understanding of document, and — more importantly — his stark contrast with how our Founding Fathers understood the venerable document, will provide an excellent preview of what to expect from an Obama presidency,

In the interview Obama observed, quite correctly, 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.”

Compare Obama’s statement with another by James Madison, called “The Father of the Constitution”:
  • The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

Also compare what Obama said about the lack of constitutional language regarding what government must do on our behalf with another made by Thomas Jefferson, whose research invaluably aided the authors of our Constitution: "Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated." Likewise, Alexander Hamilton, one of the authors of the Federalist (the others being James Madison, and John Jay), a collection of essays written to encourage adoption of the Constitution, asserted that the general welfare clause does not "carry a power to do any other thing not authorized in the Constitution, either expressly or by fair implication."

As for Obama’s complaint that the Warren Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution” (though it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying!), Thomas Jefferson made it perfectly clear that the impediments placed in the path of the radical Warren Court and subsequently Barrack Obama were not left there accidentally. Jefferson firmly stated: "In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

As a graduate of Harvard Law School and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama certainly has more than cursory familiarity with the intent of our nation’s founders. But, by his own words, the problem is not that Obama is ignorant of the founder’s intent, but that he regards even the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren — arguably one of the most revisionist courts — as having failed in its mission to overturn the legal structure designed by the Founders. As Obama said:
  • 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. (Emphasis added.)

The fact that Obama thinks that the Warren court wasn’t “that radical” says volumes about his own view of the Constitution he would presume to preserve and defend. Robert Welch, the Founder of The John Birch Society, which waged a concerted effort to impeach Earl Warren back in the 1960s, once wrote of Chief Justice Warren:

Chief Justice Earl Warren … epitomizes the newborn theory that our Constitution means absolutely nothing against the changing sociological views of the Supreme Court Justices of any given decade or generation; that both our Constitution and our laws are simply whatever the Supreme Court says they are. And he represents the power of the whole socialist machine to put that theory into practice – and to get away with it, so far, against all opposition.

Having heard from Obama on his views concerning preserving versus overturning the intent of the authors of the Constitution, there is that phrase “redistributive change” again. Obama lamented (“one of the … tragedies of the civil rights movement,” is his exact phrase) the fact that the movement became so focused on court cases that it neglected to build the political coalitions needed to “bring about redistributive change.”

The term redistribution is most often heard in the phrase “redistribution of wealth.” Interestingly, an ATI-News/Zogby poll conducted from October 17-20 asked potential voters: “John McCain and other critics say Barack Obama is heavily influenced by people and organizations which seek social justice through redistribution of wealth in America. Do you agree or disagree with efforts to bring social justice by the redistribution of wealth?”

The results? By a more than two-to-one margin, undecided voters disagree with such efforts to redistribute wealth. Fifty-seven percent of undecided voters said they disagreed, while only 24 percent said they agreed (19 percent are not sure).

ATI-News president Brad O’Leary summed up the poll with, “Our poll results show that undecided voters overwhelmingly reject Obama’s economic plan to redistribute wealth.”

As Karl Marx described his methodology to redistribute wealth: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

Perhaps Obama believes that the problem with Marxism is not that it has been tried and found lacking, but that (in America, at least) it hasn’t been tried.

http://www.jbs.org/index.php/jbs-news-feed/3721


- Palladin - 11-05-2008

It's all up to the majority of us,if stealing assets is popular,it will be done. The constitution has never been an impediment to action that was popular.

Slavery was legal when the document was inaugurated,where was that authorization? It was just popular at the time.


- Putin - 11-06-2008

Well - if you make over $250,000 I want some of your money. Please leave it in the box at the front door.

And also - please leave your bogey man at home, he has no place in the minds of rational folks. This article you posted here is heavily biased and thus not really all that useful as a tool to see where Obama would take the country where the Constitution is concerned.

Reality trumps scholarship in this case I believe... now that he is president, he will not really be able to place any kind of radical philosophy into motion without it being in full view of the electorate. Thus reality will dictate much of his agenda.


- SoloNav - 11-06-2008

Putin Wrote:Well - if you make over $250,000 I want some of your money. Please leave it in the box at the front door.
No thanks. Just because YOU want it, doesn't mean that YOU have a RIGHT to it. Sociopaths think the same way as you do on this subject: My wife is in your bed; My car is in your garage; My money is in your bank.

Quote:And also - please leave your bogey man at home, he has no place in the minds of rational folks. This article you posted here is heavily biased and thus not really all that useful as a tool to see where Obama would take the country where the Constitution is concerned.
If you weren't kidding by the above remark (which I hope you were), that would not make you a very good critic of the article. That would be like a bear if the bees have a right to their honey.

Quote:Reality trumps scholarship in this case I believe... now that he is president, he will not really be able to place any kind of radical philosophy into motion without it being in full view of the electorate.
Not if they are hamstrung by other laws. How did Chavez and Hitler come into power? You're assuming that anyone wanting this kind of power will be working within the confines of our current Republic-Democracy. It actually would be quite easy for him to do this, even in front of the electorate.


- Putin - 11-06-2008

Solo - I want your twinkle in my eye! S1


- SoloNav - 11-06-2008

Putin Wrote:Solo - I want your twinkle in my eye! S1
Can't. Shan't. It belongs only to my husband. 8)


- Fredledingue - 11-06-2008

1/ I don't see what's wrong with what Obama was saying (I have been reading this intervew excerpt twice in one week interval).

2/ There is no hint that Obama wants to alter the constitution. He just gives his opinion on it.

3/ There is no hint that he wants to implement distribution of wealth during his presidency. He also points to an historical fact.
Talking of compensation to afranchised black slave today in 2008 is a lil bit late in the day.

4/ That was in 2001. 6 years before he thought he could be president or even a candidate. You neocons want to bash Obama and the most recent thing you have to do so is 7 years old? Come on!


- Thaiquila - 11-07-2008

Nothing new about a progressive tax code. Folks, don't exaggerate!


- TheMan - 11-07-2008

Not new but still wrong.


- Gunnen4u - 11-07-2008

Thaiquila Wrote:Nothing new about a progressive tax code. Folks, don't exaggerate!

We're only pointing out the obvious.