It is becoming increasing difficult for me not to concur with Paul Marks’s ahead-of-the-curve branding of MARXIST upon the much kissed behind of Barack Obama. At the very least, his political compass swings disturbingly left on economic issues – to a degree I was not aware of. Previously, I could dismiss his “spread the wealth around” comment that arose from the infamous encounter with “Joe the Plumber” as a spot of ill-chosen populist rhetoric in a campaign unusually heavy on populist rhetoric – which, by the standards of US Presidential elections, is saying something. However, the rediscovered 2001 radio interview in which Obama explicitly advocated redistribution of wealth suggests to me that Americans ought to take him at his word when he talked of spreading the wealth around in that Ohio driveway.
Of course, this is electoral kryptonite in the USA, and the Obama campaign’s denials came hard and fast. Quoting from a CBS News article:
“This is a fake news controversy drummed up by the all too common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report and John McCain,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
“In this seven year old interview, Senator Obama did not say that the courts should get into the business of redistributing wealth at all.”
That is technically correct, but Burton is lying by omission. It is indeed true that Obama did not say in the interview that the courts should get into the business of redistributing wealth. However, what Burton neglects to mention is that he said they should not because they wouldn’t be any good at it and that going through the legislature would be much more effective. He also went on to say that the civil rights movement’s greatest tragedy was that it failed to massively redistribute wealth to the victims of racial discrimination in the USA. This 2001 recording of Obama advocating a redistributionist policy has convinced me that Obama’s “spread the wealth around” remark to Joe the Plumber was a genuine insight into his inner beliefs – beliefs that he would not dare expose to the American public who, by and large, fundamentally oppose them. In 2001, Obama stated that the legislature would be a better tool for redistributing the wealth of others to black people. Then, he was in his mid to late 30s, an age when most people’s political views have solidified. In 2008, one wonders if he now believes the executive would be even more efficacious? It is not such a stretch.
As for the Obama camp’s deeply duplicitous claim that the 2001 interview was deliberately misinterpreted by the Right, well, why break the habit of a campaign and start being honest? I am not denying that the McCain campaign has, on several occasions, twisted the truth out of all recognition over a number of issues. But at least they don’t cloak themselves in self-righteous, holier-than-thou fervour while doing so. If I had a vote in this election, the constant and largely unchallenged spectacle of Obama and his camp trumpeting their integrity – whilst they dissemble and weasel their way to November 4th – would be as good as any motivation for me to pull the lever for McCain.
(2001 Obama interview and CBS article both sourced from Drudge)