The Obama of 1995

He matters.

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.

This is a common Marxist misconception – the idea that wealth and power are innately intertwined. In America, everyone’s vote counts the same. Yes, we have to be wary of crony capitalism – or technically, corporatism – because there are those who can be easily bought and paid for by political friends, including in President Obama case the public sector unions. But the laws are generally written neutrally here, and it is not the government’s job to pick winners and losers. All the countries Obama spent time in as a child had large, overbearing governments. Instead of learning that inequality and corruption are connected to big government, Obama instead figured that corruption is linked to inequality. Alleviate inequality, alleviate corruption.

Does this matter? Of course. The same logic Barack Obama used back in 1995 is the logic President Obama utilizes today in stumping for greater “fairness.” He is incredibly consistent in his ideology. Which shows that he’s an ideologue rather than a pragmatist.

This is why it’s important to continue to vet President Obama’s past given the fact that he has spent an inordinate amount of time campaigning as a pragmatist. It’s clear from his past that he is an ideologue, with deeply-held beliefs about income redistribution and race, and the meanness of typical Americans. That’s worth knowing, because it will certainly manifest in the policy he implements.

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