1998 audio: I believe in redistribution, says Obama

Can’t hurt to remind low-information voters of this by having Drudge give it the red-font treatment, but … you guys already knew this, yes? The whole point of the Buffett Rule is that O wants a showy yet meaningless peg on which to hang his “the rich aren’t paying their fair share” argument. It would do next to nothing to reduce the deficit or help pull America out of its bottomless well of liabilities, but it’s a symbolic blow for redistribution and, hey, that’s good enough — especially when you’re running against a rich guy prone to saying stuff like this. (It also helps prepare the way for the more substantive battle over letting the Bush tax cuts lapse later this year.) Ace reminds me that this isn’t even the first clip of O talking about redistribution to make a splash during a presidential campaign: He said something similar in 2001, the audio of which appeared on Drudge’s site late in the 2008 race. In fact, there’s an even more famous example than that. As lefty Matt Yglesias tweeted earlier, doesn’t anyone remember Joe the Plumber?

“Of course not,” said Obama. “But what’s happened is that we end up – we’ve cut taxes a lot for folks like me who make a lot more than 250. We haven’t given a break to folks who make less, and as a consequence, the average wage and income for ordinary folks, the vast majority of Americans, has actually gone down over the last eight years. So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes, is I’m gonna cut taxes a little bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well – even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.”…

Obama said, “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

O’s never been terribly shy about admitting this, but it’s useful to remind voters of it while the media’s sputtering over what a grave insult the makers-versus-takers formulation in Romney’s “47 percent” comments is. Which, of course, is why the clip was leaked to Drudge.