Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Whole New Constitution

If you weren't spooked by Obama before, these comments from a radio talk show in 2001 ought to do it:

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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 redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that.

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Obama strongly implies that he would like to "break free from the essential contraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution."

I am constantly having arguments with various people about whether Obama is really as radical as I think he is, or whether he is the moderate that he portrays right now on the national stage.

How can one read that sentence and not conclude that he is a dangerous radical? To break free from the essential contraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution? Doesn't that sound like a pretty good definition of a radical? These are his words! When are people going to wake up!

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