Context is still king

Updated
 

Paul Ryan campaigned in Virginia yesterday, and warned supporters that President Obama is “going to try and distract” voters with trivial arguments that don’t matter. Ryan then attacked Obama over a 14-year-old quote that surfaced this week, which wasn’t especially controversial anyway.

Yes, as the Washington Post reported today, Mitt Romney is “trying to right-side his campaign by focusing on something President Obama said 14 years ago.” The quote involves Obama saying he believes in “redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody has got a shot.”

But here’s the larger context:

For those who can’t watch clips online, Obama said in 1998, “I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.”

And in case anyone missed it, radical communists are generally opposed to economic models that foster competition and work in the marketplace. For some reason, the Republicans who uncovered the clip and pushed it online took out the part that didn’t suit their partisan goals. Imagine that.

For that matter, after complaining that it’s Romney who was taken out of context at his May fundraiser – he wasn’t – it’s the Romney campaign that’s once again relying on an out-of-context quote to smear the president.

The whole thing is just dumb, even by 2012 standards. Obama and Romney both believe in “redistribution, at least at a certain level” – and that’s true with or without the appropriate context. Heck, Romney’s preferred budget plan redistributes wealth at a level unseen in modern American history, so it’s a little late for the Republican to pretend he finds redistribution outrageous.

For all I know, Romney/Ryan will talk about little else for the next 47 days, but there’s just nothing of interest here.

Wealth, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Context is still king

Updated