Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"The Redistributing One"
(Updated: 10/29 AM)
While he was a state legislator a few years back (2001), Barack Obama was quite candid in describing what he saw as the failure of the federal Court process to effectively redistribute wealth, as a way to redress the grievances addressed during the Civil Rights era.
" . . . [O]ne of the, I think, the 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 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."

and, he further said:

" . . . I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistribute change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way."
So now, Senator Obama is running for President. As you'll recall, just two weeks ago, out slipped a very telling comment in a brief moment of candor. He had stopped to speak with a man named Joe Wurzelbacher as he was canvassing for support in Joe's neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. Among other things, Senator Obama said to the man who quickly became known as Joe the Plumber:
"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"
Seriously . . . is this really what we've been waiting for? Throughout the campaign, voters have indicated that they strongly oppose "redistribution" plans to deal with the economy. And they do not like what amounts to a "welfare plan" disguised as a "tax cut." This latest tape had to be a blow to the Obama campaign. And as noted in the Wall Street Journal, he also wants to further alter an "already progressive" Social Security system, turning that into a welfare system as well. And the ever-vertiginous Joe Biden now seems to have further muddied the waters about exactly where the waterline begins between "redistributees" and "redistributors."

Our take.

It's a bit of a take off on a John McCain line from a speech to a crowd in Kettering, Ohio (near Dayton) as was quoted in an article by Jack Torry and Mark Niquette published in the Dispatch Politics, a division of the Columbus Dispatch:
"That's what change means for the Obama administration, the 'redistributor': It means taking your money and giving it to someone else," McCain told a crowd of about 2,000 at the James S. Trent Arena.
Thomas Jefferson, who those in the Democratic party so frequently see as their favorite founding father, was very distrustful of big government because he thought it always led to tyranny.

Likewise, he was distrustful of "too active" government as well. In a letter written in 1787, he told his friend, James Madison,
"I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."
And he even had an interesting argument against wasteful or undue government spending:
"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys."
In his first Inaugural Address, in 1801, our third President framed his approach to how he would govern:
"With all [our] blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens--a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities."
All of which makes Joe Biden's latest odd argument -- that criticisms of the policies and approach of Barack Obama are somehow comparable to those aimed at, among others, Thomas Jefferson -- seem strangely hollow indeed! And with all the "age" barbs being fired at John McCain, one can only guess that with his sense of humor, McCain might be tempted to paraphrase Lloyd Benston and say, "Joe the Senator, I knew Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a friend of mine . . .

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