As if you didn’t already know that they’re living on a different planet — see Bill Whittle’s post at NRO — Barack Obama is quoted from a radio interview he gave in 2001 on the subject of funding schools equally after the Brown vs Board of Ed. decision. — keep that context in mind —
You know, 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 a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, Iâ€™d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.
And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasnâ€™t that radical. It didnâ€™t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution â€” at least as itâ€™s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states canâ€™t do to you, says what the federal government canâ€™t do to you, but it doesnâ€™t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
And that hasnâ€™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, uh, 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.
A caller asks, â€œThe gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasnâ€™t terribly radical. My question is (with economic changes)â€¦ my question is, is it too late for that kind of reparative work, economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to change place?â€
You know, Iâ€™m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isnâ€™t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, itâ€™s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.
So I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it, legally, you know, I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.â€
Whittle and the entire Right Blogosphere believe they’ve found the smoking-gun proof that Obama is a socialist. I’m serious. That’s how insane they are. Righties are absolutely bouncing off the walls convinced they’ve found “the bombshell” that will sink Obama’s campaign. Just read Whittle’s “interpretation” of Obama’s remarks. They are pathological.
As Prometheus 6 says, “What they are doing is standing strong against equal rights for all Americans with this attack. And The National Review is right in the mix. And all of them disgust me.”
The McCain campaign is putting out the lie that Obama called it a “tragedy” that the courts didn’t order “redistributive change.” As Greg Sargent notes,
As you can see, Obama simply didn’t say that the court’s faiulre to take up redistribution was a tragedy. Rather, he was arguing that it was a “tragedy” that the Civil Rights movement expected the courts to do too much in this regard, which led the movement away from other ways of accomplishing redistributive goals, such as organizing and legislative politicking.
And taking such matters out of courts and instead working through the legislative process is something righties have said they favor, or so I thought.
The problems is, of course, that if the entire noise-making apparatus of the Right jumps on this lie and pounds on it together, they could peel some votes away from Obama. So even though it’s absolute nonsense, it could do some damage. Stay tuned.