Go read the original talk that Obama gave on NPR and see if it says anything even faintly similar to the truncated quotes about to be used by McCain. I mean: come on. Here's the headline:
"2001 Obama: Tragedy That 'Redistribution Of Wealth" Not Pursued By Supreme Court"
Here's what it's based on: the "tragedy," in Obama's telling, is that the civil rights movement was too court-focused. He was making a case against using courts to implement broad social goals - which is, last time I checked, the conservative position. The actual quote in full:
"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 I’d be okay."
"But," Obama said, "The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as I think people tried 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, as least as it's 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 it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted."
Obama said "one 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 stuffer from that."
So Obama was arguing that the Constitution protects negative liberties and that the civil rights movement was too court-focused to make any difference in addressing income inequality, as opposed to formal constitutional rights. So it seems to me that this statement is actually a conservative one about the limits of judicial activism.
Is this really all McCain has left?
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