Heather S. Heidelbaugh

As the Senate prepares to vote on a government-takeover of the health care industry, I am reminded of an event that took place just over a year ago.

On October 12, 2008, Candidate Obama, while walking through a neighborhood in the suburbs of Cleveland told Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

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The statement made national headlines, at the time, because although Obama was suspected of being on the far left the comment made people wonder if he had socialist leanings. Despite the warning, the electorate as a whole, brushed the socialism concern aside and elected Obama into office.

The "spread the wealth" comment should have been a clarion call to all who heard it and wondered if Obama was not just leaning left but leaning socialist. The concept of "sharing the wealth" is a core belief of ACORN and President Obama was a community organizer with Project Vote, an affiliate of ACORN.

Gary Delgado in his 1986 book, "Organizing the Movement" stated that Wade Rathke, the founder of Acorn, when asked to describe his own roots and his vision for ACORN credited a number of organizations: "the Non-Partisan League, The Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and Huey Long's Share Our Wealth clubs..."

Huey Long was not only a controversial Senator from Louisiana, but a presidential aspirant who challenged President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On February 23, 1934, Senator Long, gave a national radio address wherein he proposed capping personal net worth by taxing the wealthy and redistributing the money to the poor. Long believed that the Depression was caused because the economic system allowed individuals to have significant wealth. Long further believed that the economic structure of the time was immoral; a refrain heard today from the White House in regard to the health care debate.

Although, Senator Long admitted that portions of his plan were socialistic; he thought it unwise to run as an avowed Socialist. The Nation quoted Senator Long as admitting, "Will you please tell me what sense there is running on a socialist ticket in America today? What's the use of being right only to be defeated?"

One year after we heard Candidate Obama tell Joe "The Plumber" that spreading the wealth around is good for everybody, we have seen plans for a massive redistribution of wealth through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the stimulus plan, cash for clunkers, and the healthcare proposal which will soon be voted on in the Congress. Both ACORN and President Obama surely appreciated the political acumen of Senator Long. Never run on the Socialist ticket just advocate policies that are socialist.


Heather S. Heidelbaugh

Heather Heidelbaugh is a shareholder in the Litigation Services Group of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. Her practice primarily focuses on complex litigation, products liability, intellectual property and election law.