The Obama of 1995

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).

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President Obama was 34 years old in 1995. He was no longer a child, or a teen, or even a particularly young adult. He was a fully mature fellow, ready to run for the State Senate of Illinois. And here’s what he thought about the nature of race in America, particularly in times of economic turmoil:

In an environment of scarcity, where the cost of living is rising, folks begin to get angry and bitter and look for scapegoats. Historically, instead of looking at the top 5% of this country that controls all the wealth, we turn towards each other, and the Republicans have added to the fire.

Does this sound familiar? It should. That first sentence is almost a direct quote of President Obama’s infamous 2008 comments in San Francisco, when he ripped anyone who was not a toe-the-line liberal: “it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Obama was on this subject a solid 15 years ago. And it’s never left him.

Unfortunately, it’s supremely typical leftist-speak. Leftists believe that there is something pathologically wrong with those who disagree with them. Worse, it’s based in the notion that America is irredeemably racist, incapable of moving beyond skin color and making judgments based on logic. The idea that Americans immediately turn to blaming minorities demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the progress achieved in civil rights over the last fifty years. More than that, it dramatically underestimates the American people, who are manifestly not racist, and cannot be made so by bad economic times.

The second sentence, too, speaks to the modern Obama. It sounds like the most radical rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Apparently, Americans aren’t wrong to scapegoat people for bad economic times – they’re just not scapegoating the right people. They should be scapegoating “the top 5% of this country that controls all the wealth.”

Why is it that the top 5% are innately responsible for the impoverished in America? Obama explains by citing his international background:

It’s about power. My travels made me sensitive to the plight of those without power and the issues of class and inequalities as it relates to wealth and power. Anytime you have been overseas in these so-called third world countries, one thing you see is the vast disparity of wealth of those who are part of power structure and those outside of it.

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  • Granny Jan

    1995, yawn. BHO a commie. Who knew?

    Don't be so quick to dismiss the birth certificate issue until you see all 4 of these videos which was a pick of the day…a woman with REAL courage:

    and be sure and read everything by Jack Cashill in the American Thinker, a conservative website with REAL courage. Diane West in AT suggests looking at the birth certificate issue. Another woman of courage.

    (It's that is lacking in courage with their self-important "vetting" not this one)

  • Gunner57

    Hey Ben, you say Obama doesn't have any citizenship problems? Why don't you pack ypur bags and go home you coward.

  • joy52

    An ideologue and probably a not very smart one who recycled speeches. I'm guessing there is more than one reason why nothing is available from the college days.

  • Steve Chavez

    Remember the lines to get whatever was available in the old Soviet Union? All the RATION CARDS? Soup lines?

    "When the Wall fell, we cheered, they cried. When the Twins fell, we cried, they cheered." "They" are OUR AMERICANS who loved the Soviet Union more than their own country. "They" were in SOVIET KGB AND CPUSA FUNDED FRONTS and Obama, and his "Circle of Communists" that surround him, were in those fronts too! "THEY" were the most bitter of all the world's Communists except for KGB die-hards like Putin, a man who Obama is more friendly with than Nethanayu!

    SOVIET FOOD LINES? WHAT ARE FOOD STAMPS? "THE FOOD STAMP PRESIDENT." Ration cards? What are "Section 8 vouchers?"

    OBAMA, and his "Circle of Communists" are creating the condition for the downfall of the United $tates as REVENGE for the downfall of their beloved Iron Curtain! They want an even world playing field just like when 1940 AMERICANS GAVE THE SOVIETS NUCLEAR SECRETS SO THEY COULD MAKE THEM TOO AS A BALANCE!

  • Schlomotion

    "This is a common Marxist misconception – the idea that wealth and power are innately intertwined."

    Someone has not read his Georg Simmel.

    Wealth is the basis of political power.

    • intrcptr2

      I've not read Simmel, but you are half-right.
      Previous to the American Experiment, this is undoubtedly true. This distinction is what has made America unique in history. I would suggest though that Ben's take on Marx is accurate in that Marx assuredly argued that the two were inextricable; an analysis utterly devoid of any consciousness of 19th Century American economics.

      It is our descent back to such base dynamics which will prove our doom.

  • clarespark

    To Schlomotion: those who control the means of production are powerful. It is true that wealth in itself may contribute to political campaigns, but as to controlling the minds of the populace, that is another matter entirely. You sound like a populist, not a social analyst. See…. America is a conflicted country where conflicts go way beyond rich versus poor. Poor parenting can determine failure in the life of the child.

    • intrcptr2

      Your quote of Marx demonstrates your lack of insight into his thoughts. He was wrong when he defined the "means of production" as the lynchpin of economics. He did not foresee, accurately, the baseless form of currency we have today. It is those who control the "means of exchange" who manage the world economy.

      You are correct about bad parenting. But what happens when the state encourages, and pays for, it? And further, what of the schools? Lenin was quite clear on his plans for the children.

      • clarespark

        As I said, the previous comment was populist. Populism is not the same as Marxism. Anyway, as historians and citizens, should we not be dogmatic, but open-minded, mapping all conflict and contending ideologies? Do you agree that J. A. Hobson that the international Jew controls the planet? He had a great effect on Lenin's theory of imperialism, whereas Marx expected socialism to arise in the advanced industrial countries, with an educated working class, attuned to their interests. It was utopian, but not stupid.

  • Zinnia2

    according to those investigating for the Sheriff – it's the FTC threatening the media if they even think about mentioning the eligibility issue – someone has to get some courage here – the US Constitution is Still the law of the land…

  • americanadvocate


    • kentatwater

      Please stop typing in all-caps. It's difficult to read, and doing so will give any left winger the excuse to dismiss you on that basis, alone.

  • trickyblain

    "This is a common Marxist misconception – the idea that wealth and power are innately intertwined. In America, everyone’s vote counts the same. "

    This is not a Marxist misconception, it's a stark reality. Everyone's vote counts the same — after the canidates spend hundreds fo millions of dollars, given by supporters who give so generously for a reason, to be the nominee. Who was the last impoverished — even middle class — person who held any political power in an elected national office?

    • Jim_C

      Trickyblain–a sane voice breezing through the dark night in a mad world.

      • Western Canadian

        No, just another fart in the wind.

  • Angel

    Like Thomas Sowell said so brilliantly, Obama formulated his political view at a young age and he was not about to let something like the facts confuse him.

  • SoCalMike

    After the 2nd or 3rd time someone leaves you asking yourself "are they stupid or lying?
    The actual answer no longer matters.
    Republicans think Dems are stupid but we Repubes are stupid, outfoxed and completely outsmarted.

    The Dems are the ones who lie. Those among them who don't are the most mindless programmed theocratic robots conditioned to worship the government and a dead white man named Karl Marx whom they regard as their Holy Prophet.
    And these poor things are so proud of themselves.

  • caritas

    The foresight of the founders gave us the "natural born citizen" criteria exclusively for president and vice president in order to prevent exactly what is happening now. They wanted to ensure future presidents held allegiance to only the United States. They must be rolling in their graves.

    Progressives have successfully marginalized anyone who voices their desire to follow our constitution to the letter of the law. They were smart to label as "birthers" anyone who draws attention to the second amendment. The Alinsky method actually does work for them. Most intelligent conservatives, millions of people, know what is going on here, but are too intimidated to take a stand. Mighty powerful stuff, those Rules For Radicals.