If anything, the latest Obama “bombshell” has made me more likely to vote for the guy. From it, we learn two things:
- Obama has a nuanced appreciation of the courts’ lack of democratic legitimacy. This is especially important because it says something about the way his administration would approach a vacancy on the Supreme Court. If you believe that the courts are ineffective at promoting broad social change (a notion popularized by conservatives), you’re a lot less likely to appoint judges bent on implementing radical political reform from the bench.
- He believes that a redistributive program is an appropriate response to our country’s problematic racial history. As a matter of first principles, I’m not sure why this is controversial (and I’m a freakin’ libertarian!). Ensuring perfect equality of opportunity may be a chimera, but given the United States’ legacy of institutional and social discrimination, a redistributive program aimed at historically-marginalized groups is not a particularly radical suggestion. I can think of several pragmatic objections to this sort of thing, but it’s not like it’s some unprecedented Marxist land-grab.
It’s also worth noting that in this context, a redistributive program to address racial inequality could mean any number of things, including fairly mundane (if objectionable) measures like affirmative action. Again, it’s not like Obama’s statement is totally unheard of. People should chill the f*ck out.