Obama interview on "redistributing wealth": will this play?

Sure, conservatives are going agog over this 2001 interview, which they claim that Obama flat out says that he’s in favor of redistributing wealth. But my basic question is, will it play in Peoria (or anywhere)?

Frankly, I don’t see it as getting much traction; I’ve never seen the “socialist” accusation as being as scary to most voters as conservatives think. I’m not sure half of voters could really define what it means to BE socialist (even the smart ones, mind). Plus, I don’t see this as getting a lot of play outside of Fox News (OTOH, this will be chalked up as Just Another Example of Liberal Media Suppressing Obama Negatives tm).

What do you all think?

I recently had a temp assignment where I worked with someone who is one of those “pulled myself up by my bootstraps” types. He is bitterly- bitterly- against virtually any form of social wealth redistribution. And I listened to him rant for four months about Obama. The least perjoritive nickname he used for Obama was “The Candyman”. And he liked to joke that if Obama wins there will be a run on shovels as people race to bury their money. He seriously believes that Obama will tax both the rich AND the middle class out of existence pandering to an undeserving underclass whose votes will be bought with handouts.

So yes, definitely, it will play with at least some people.

That guy has already made up his mind, though, and McCain needs to make a bunch of people change their minds. There’s really noth much McCain can do at this point. People seem to have made up their minds, and his campaign style and blunders have turned off a lot of people. Digging up a seven-year-old interview doesn’t really rebut the contention that he’s attacking because he has no ideas.

sigh You know, there was a time when a Democrat could speak of “redistributing wealth” and nobody raised an eyebrow.

Well, if you don’t count the guys rolling around on the floor screaming and tearing their hair…

Yeah; why is that a big deal now? Isn’t any progressive income a means of wealth redistribution? The money isn’t transferred directly to the poor, but the shared social infrastructure it funds benefits everybody.

I heard McCain refer to Obama as “the most liberal politician ever to run for President”, which sounds patently ridiculous.

When was that time? I don’t remember it. Oh, yeah, it must’ve been the time when everyone was pro-collectivism in the 50s.

A little friendly advice, BG. You have very extreme political views for an American. Don’t extrapolate your own thoughts into what everyone else thinks.

Bush redistributed the wealth. He caused the biggest gap between rich and poor since the first depression. Why is that not upsetting people? He kept giving tax breaks to the wealthy. He helped the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class.
Every administration affects the wealth distribution by their economic policies. Bush said clearly he wanted to get money into the rich. Then they could tinkle down on us.

I was thinking of FDR, who on at least one occasion (no cite) declared no American should have an income above a certain level, and at the time nobody contradicted him very loudly. Of course, you could also make a case for the LBJ years.

I don’t believe that.

But let’s say it was true. You fondly remember the Great Depression. That seems very odd to me.

You think you’re kidding, but in fact, the 50s were quite redistribution-friendly, including policies like a top marginal tax rate of over 90% :eek: :eek:

See, anti-Communism back then was kind of the point of government measures for encouraging broad-based prosperity and equality. Back in the Cold War, everyone was terrified that if the workers got dissatisfied and hungry, they’d just overturn the whole system and we’d all be learning Russian and calling each other “comrade”.

Best to placate the masses with some good old democratic egalitarianism, the thinking went, and let them have strong unions and high wages and civil rights and Social Security and all that stuff so we don’t look like the evil Victorian-era serf-exploiters that our enemies are always trying to accuse us of being.

Otherwise, the industrious but naive laboring man might start listening to the commies! Oh noes!! Here, Joe Sixpack, have some all-American employer-provided health and pension benefits! Yeah, Joe, who’s your friend, huh? Not Comrade Josef over there, no siree!

Good points Kimstu, although I believe the primary purpose of the soak-the-rich tax rates of the 50s was to pay for the Cold War and all those WW2 war bonds coming due.

sigh You know, there was a time when if conservatives wanted a massive military, they were expected to pay for it.

You are paying for it.

Just with a lot of interest :wink:

I don’t think this will play well with the middle. The middle is who is getting the most hurt with foreclosures, lost jobs, shriveled 401k, increased cost of living with no increase in real wages, etc. And many of them are feeling very scared, broke and desperate. They’re experiencing all of this while reading about the top level still receiving huge salaries and bonuses.

I think many people in the middle would welcome a little spreading of the wealth their way right about now. “Spreading the wealth” is only scary when a majority of the middle class actually feels they have wealth.

Figure I should point out that Obama is saying the exact opposite of what they’re claiming he’s saying in this interview.

Yes, I should have been more clear. The reason the gummint was collecting so much tax revenue back then was because we had all those wartime bills to pay. But the reason the gummint relied so heavily on extremely progressive (practically confiscatory—over 90% is a lot!) taxes on the rich to raise those revenues was partly a deliberate choice in favor of restricting income disparity.

Same deal for the support for labor rights, civil rights, the 1950’s expansion of the GI Bill, etc. We wanted to look like a nation of free and prosperous citizens on a basic footing of equality, not like the greedy exploitative bloodsuckers that our ideological enemies tried to paint us as being.

Of course, now that we have no ideological enemies that appear capable of posing any kind of practical threat to our existing system of government, we don’t care so much what we look like anymore.

I’ve already seen how well it plays with extremist conservatives. It plays VERY VERY VERY well.

Check out this hysteria: http://spengler.atimes.net/viewtopic.php?t=11245

So at long last, McCain has locked up the vote of people who were already voting for him. Is it too soon to call this a game-changer?


The tools on the radio are going nuts about it. They’re preaching to the choir though. I can’t see anyone but the already converted giving a rat’s ass.

I’d love to hit McCain with a truth ray during one of his appearances…

Crowd: Booo.
McCain: He wants to take my wife’s money and give it to you!
Crowd: Boo… wait, what? Wooo hoooo!!!

This is what puzzles me about McCain’s campaign. I wasn’t surprised that he ran to the right to get the Republican nomination. I figured once he got it locked up, he’d start running to the center. But instead, he just seems to keep running farther and farther to the right. (His derisive comments about abortion during the debates are another example.)

His speeches these days just sound like Republican rabble-rousers.