( – promoted by buhdydharma )
The conservative blogs are all a-twitter with the idea that they have finally proven that Barack Obama is a marxist/socialist. It comes from an interview in which he participated on public radio in 2001 titled The Courts and Civil Rights.
Of course, they’re taking things out of context and reading their worst fear-mongering between the lines. But still…when I look at what he said, I find myself once again hoping that the man he’s been in the past is the one that gets elected next week.
Here is a transcript of part of the interview being highlighted.
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 peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and 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 sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried 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 the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted. One of the I think tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that 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 power through which you bring about redistributed change and in some ways we still suffer from that.…
Maybe I’m showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way.
The context in which these comments came from Obama was the idea that the Supreme Court did not move into affirming the right to a social safety net – namely in the area of education and welfare.
So, you combine these comments from seven years ago with all the focus the Obama campaign has placed on community organizing, and I get encouraged about some of the things we might see in an Obama Presidency. As Howard Fineman noted in an article titled What Have We Created?! Obama’s supporters have high expectations, and they may expect to have a voice in governing.
Even discounting for likely duplicates, Plouffe says he could end up “knowing” almost 7 million voters by Election Day-roughly one in 10 of Obama’s likely total. “These are people who are responsive,” he says. “They want to be respected and to continue to be involved in what we do.”
And so they will be if Obama is elected. “If he wins, he’s going to have a personal following he can use to press his agenda,” says Marshall. “He can use these millions to reach over the heads of the Washington insiders, the Democrats on the Hill. It could be powerful.”