The ABC News political blog "Political Radar" had this post yesterday:
ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala Reports: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went beyond her running mate's recent attack on Sen. Barack Obama -- inaccurately claiming that Obama called the lack of "redistributive change" during the civil rights movement a "tragedy" -- and used Obama's 2001 interview to insinuate that he wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices and judges who would confiscate the property of American citizens.
You can play the video link below and listen to this audio clip from that 2001 radio interview with Barack Obama for yourself. I'm not sure how calling it "one of the tragedies" is any different from calling it a tragedy, but beyond that, I listened to it, and it scared the hell out of me.
Here is the pertinent quote:
"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 people, 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 o.k. 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 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 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, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that."
Those words frighten me. The man wants to be elected so he can swear an oath to defend the Constitution, but what he is really saying is that the Constitution, with respect to its protection of property rights, is a flawed instrument because it does what the Founding Fathers wanted it to do. To the Founding Fathers and to most intellectually honest scholars, the Constitution is primarily about the protection of life, liberty and property from the tyranny of the majority or a corrupt government. What Obama is talking about is building a majority strong enough and tyrannical to take property rights away from those from whom they can, and to use those property rights for purposes they think is more fair. What is fair, of course, is what the majority determines to be fair.
How is that defending the Constitution?