On the October 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, G. Gordon Liddy said of Sen. Barack Obama's electoral prospects in Pennsylvania: "Pennsylvania has been described as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with Alabama in the middle. Obama is counting on the urban elites and the welfare class to win the state for him. But he's putting on a show for the rest of Pennsylvania."
Several conservative radio hosts have recently attacked low-income Americans, as Media Matters for America has documented. During the October 28 broadcast of his radio show, Bill Cunningham said that "people are poor in America ... not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics." On the October 22 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage asked: "Do you think a person on welfare has the right to vote? I don't. ... Why should a welfare recipient have the right to vote? They're only gonna vote themselves a raise." Similarly, on the October 21 broadcast of The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn, while discussing the history of property rights in the United States, said: "Originally, if you didn't own land, you didn't vote, and there was a good reason for it: because those without property will always vote away the property of other people unto themselves, and that's the beginning of the end." Quinn added: "But, oh no, that was -- that was just too mean-spirited." Additionally, on the October 2 broadcast of his Minneapolis radio show, Chris Baker said, "I don't think homeless people should vote."
Later in his October 30 program, Liddy falsely claimed that Obama, "in 2001, gave that interview to Chicago Public Radio, about how upset he was that the Supreme Court did not break away from the Constitution." In fact, in the interview on Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ to which Liddy was referring, Obama did not say that he was "upset that the Supreme Court did not break away from the Constitution." Rather, Obama said:
But 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 try 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, at least as it's been interpreted, and Warren court interpreted it 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.
And one of the -- I think the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movements became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing, and 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.
Later in the interview, Obama added:
You know, maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but, you know, I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way.
You know, the court's just not very good at it, and politically, it's just -- it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that, although, you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally -- you know, I think you can, any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts -- I think that, as a practical matter, our institutions just are poorly equipped to do it.
From the October 30 broadcast of Radio America's The G. Gordon Liddy Show:
CALLER: If people's views and philosophies offend you, as a human being, you don't feel comfortable being with them. So, I think that really speaks to why his character -- the picture of his character -- is so important in relation to these associations, and - and we have to be concerned about that as Americans, because, my God, he's going to represent our country. He is going to be the face of America. And, you know, if he has these associations, and he's raising all this money, and there's all these questions -- I think we all know with basic intelligence that when you are in bed, so to speak, or in the company of these people, and you take favors from them, on some level you then owe them.
And as Americans, are we really comfortable with knowing that he may very well owe favors to people whose associations are not in keeping with our American values? And this is an appeal to the Pennsylvanians. Is that that they need to think about these -- these fundamental things that are in their bones, and it's the way we as Pennsylvanians think. It's how we live our life every day when we go to work, and our work ethic, and our friends, and our family. And then I want to say something else, and then I'm gonna obviously let you talk, sir.
But, the other thing is, he's my husband's age. And my husband is a very successful man, OK. But if you look at Obama and you look at his educational debts, the fact that he came from no money to speak of, and the jobs that he's carried in his life -- this is all a matter of public -- public record. If you put it all on a basic balance sheet, how in the world could that man live in a three-plus million-dollar house?
LIDDY: Well, he -- he -- sweetheart deal that Rezko --
CALLER: Well, exactly, but -- but I'm saying from -- from a - from just a basic understanding of economy, any American can think about this little short story, and -- and it'll raise questions. And how could he also be worth somewhere around 15 million dollars? How does a man with his -- his life experiences so far, his nominal job as community organizer, his heavy debt from going to law school -- nobody can sort of figure out how he paid for his education. Don't know if he has student loans, don't know if he paid them off, I don't know all that. But it could be a matter of public record, and a profile that is worth looking at.
LIDDY: Well, all that stuff -- all that stuff has been - has been sealed, Dana. And, you know, Pennsylvania has been described as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with Alabama in the middle. Obama is counting on the urban elites and the welfare class to win the state for him. But he's putting on a show for the rest of Pennsylvania. One way he's doing this is by courting the union vote with great gusto. He's got [Secretary-Treasurer Richard] Trumka, for instance, from the AFL-CIO, telling people all over the state that a vote against Obama is a vote against the working class, and is racist to boot. Trumka gives that speech every single day. That's how he's trying to win it.
CALLER: And - and, and the problem with that is, if you cut through all of that rhetoric, and you look at what's fundamental, I betcha every single hard-working Pennsylvanian would love to have followed the same path as Obama in terms of what he got out of this country, and end up with what he has now. And that is not an American -- that is not an American heroic story of American opportunity. That is a story just riddled with corruption and just deceit, and anything but Christian values. And you just -- I just want to go knock on every single Penn -- good, solid, Pennsylvanian that I know that goes to Gettysburg and picks apples by the basket, and does all the things that Pennsylvania loves to do -- and look at this guy, and wake up and say, "Hello. You're giving our country away, and you're -- you might as well just burn the Constitution."
LIDDY: Well, that's - that, that last part is a good way to do it, because he, in 2001, gave that interview to Chicago Public Radio, about how upset he was that the Supreme Court did not break away from the Constitution. Dana, thank you so much. I really appreciate your listening and your calling.