An alternative and apparently pro-McCain/Palin news site has posted an audio clip on YouTube, purportedly of Barack Obama speaking on the Chicago public radio station 91.5 FM, WBEZ, on the program “Odyssey” in 2001. During the discussion, then-state Senator Obama discusses how the Warren Court failed to be radical enough in implementing “reparative” economic changes. Although he is not exactly raising a barricade for a wholesale upending of the economic system, his discussion does seem to take for granted the idea that there should be reparations (for blacks, presumably, although that is not explicitly stated other than the discussion being specifically contextualized to the civil rights movement).
For those seeking clarification of Obama’s economic views, the money portion of the transcript (per Drudge) reads:
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… 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 tendency 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.
In terms of the provenance of this video, I cannot attest to the station or program identification, but WBEZ does exist and is a public radio station in Chicago. “Odyssey” was a morning talk program that ran on WBEZ for eight years before shutting down in 2005. I have not yet found the clip in question, because Senator Obama appeared on “Odyssey” four times in 2001 and once in 2002.
On January 18, 2001 then-state Senator Obama was on a show entitled “The Court and Civil Rights” with several other guests.
On February 27, 2001, the Senator appeared on a show entitled “The Right to Vote” with one other guest.
On April 23, 2001, Obama appeared on a show entitled “Redistricting“, with several other guests.
On September 6, 2001, Obama appeared on a show entitled “Slavery and the Constitution” with two other guests.
On March 2, 2002, the Senator appeared on a show entitled (for a second time), “The Court and Civil Rights“. This show appears to have a different guest list (other than the Senator) and so appears to be a second go-round on the same topic.
All the shows were hosted by Gretchen Helfrich.
I have not yet had the chance to review these appearances, but I intend to listen to all of them. I am not sure which of these shows is the show the YouTube clip purports to be from, but I am guessing it’s “The Court and Civil Rights”. [Update - Yep, seems to be.]
The YouTube clip has been edited but as far as I can tell is a faithful representation, in terms of the audio portion, of Obama’s remarks. You can hear the entirety of all the Senator’s remarks on “Odyssey” at the links above, which are full shows.
Update: Ace of Spades, who has been doing amazing work of reporting on the various icebergs the Senator is dancing across, does us the service of dissecting Obama’s statements and cohering them a bit:
Translation [ace]: As lefties are suggesting idiotic interpretations, and even some on the right are getting it wrong, here’s what he’s saying:
1. The Supreme Court never considered “redistribution of wealth” or “economic justice” among the guarantees provided to citizens.
2. Even the Warren Court was not “radical” enough to do so — to impose real change on the nation.
3. The courts have generally provided negative constraints on the government rather than positive obligations the government owes to its citizens (specifically, here, such as economic justice and redistribution of wealth).
4. Therefore, it is a “tragedy” that the civil rights movement became so courts-focused, because it limited what redress they could actually obtain — and it took attention away from the “community organizing” efforts which could assemble “coalitions of power” (political power, that is) to actually achieve “redistributive change.” Such change simply could not be had in the courts, still laboring under the “constraints” imposed by the Founding Fathers.
5. “And in some ways we still suffer from that.”