Much of the blogosphere is buzzing over a 2001 radio interview in which Barack Obama seems genuinely chagrined that redistributionist policies aren’t going to come from the courts. ( Ignore the captioning on the Youtube which is distracting and not altogether accurate — just listen carefully to Obama’s exact language or read the transcript.) I had a few reactions.
First, a person often identified for the Obama Supreme Court actually does believe in an extreme version of the Constitution, a version which confers all sorts of economic “rights,” so I’m not sure even his supposed caution about using the courts as welfare agencies is to be given credence. Second, it is fairly obvious that Obama was saying nothing extraordinary in his own mind. This is the sort of thing left-leaning “intellectuals” bandied about. It’s the outlook that underscored the bent of not just his closest comrades at the time ( e.g. Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger), but the activist organizations he and Bill Ayers supported through the Woods Fund. It is absurd, really, to write off all these associations as an aberration or exaggeration, or to ignore them as some imagining of paranoid conservatives. What comes through loud and clear was that Obama shared the classic anti-capitalist, redistributionist philosophy accepted as dogma by many on the Left.
Remember, this isn’t ancient history. Obama was sharing Socialism 101 with radio listeners just seven years ago. At the same time, he was sitting on the board of the Woods Fund, going to Trinity United Church, and a enjoying a robust professional relationship with Bill Ayers. Has he given all that up? We don’t know, because no one in the media has taken seriously Obama’s intellectual and professional development. No one has asked him basic questions about the past (e.g. Did he share the ideological vision of the Woods Fund grant recipients? Did he agree with Ayers’ radical educational theory?) or even his current economic philosophy. Doesn’t he still believe in spreading the wealth? He certainly did seven years ago.