Dewey lives on in the education reform ideas espoused by former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Ayers, now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, often invokes Dewey when justifying his own dream of indoctrinating public school students in "social justice." Obama doesn't condone Ayers' '70s-era bombings, but he certainly subscribes to Ayers' educational vision. In fact, Ayers' educational work is the primary defense for the candidate's association with an unrepentant terrorist.
Much has been made of Obama's comment to "Joe the Plumber" that things are better when we "spread the wealth around." The Obama campaign has rebuffed charges of "socialism" or "radicalism" with the usual eye-rolling.
But Obama's words that day in Ohio were consistent with his past statements.
A just-unearthed 2001 interview with Obama on Chicago public radio reveals as much. Then a law school instructor and state legislator, Obama offered an eloquent indictment of the Warren Court for not being radical enough. While the court rightly gave blacks traditional rights, argued Obama, "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." Unfortunately, according to Obama, "it didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."
Officially, Obama says he is not advocating single-payer health care. That would seem too un-moderate. But in 2003, Obama told the AFL-CIO, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. ... But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to back the Senate, and we have to take back the House."
Note: If Obama wins next week, all three of his preconditions will have been met, and his colleagues in the House and Senate are itching like junkies for a new New Deal. Only in a country of amnesiacs could one claim that socialized medicine is a "new idea."
Blowing away the dust and cobwebs from ancient wares doesn't make them new. Save for his skin color, Obama doesn't represent anything novel. Rather, he symbolizes a return to an older vision of the United States that was seen as the "wave of the future" eight decades ago.
I for one have no desire to go back to that future.