The blogs and message forums are on fire over this, as they should be, and as I'm reading through the responses and comments all over the blogosphere, one thing I keep seeing pop up, is the claim that this is somehow being taken out of context.
Just listen to it. If you think this is being taken out of context then listen to it!
One particular gem I read at a Christian message forum was:
"The quote is from 2007 in regards to what an honest candidate should say to the citizens if they didn't care about becoming president. It's a slam against the republicans, who were in office at this time, and about how the republicans were handling health care reform."
No way is that even close to the truth. To begin with, the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress in 2007. And at the risk of being redundant- just listen to the clip. Robert Reich prefaces his infamous and revealing statements by saying:
"This is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what candidates should say if we were in a kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship and they were educated in terms of what the issues were, and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them."
Did you get that first part? "This is what the truth is." In other words, Robert Reich thinks the misanthropic view of medicine that he spouted is just the plain truth about how our system should work so that it actually fulfills its goal of treating sick people.
That part, by the way- the part where he criticizes our system for avoiding sick people, would make absolutely no sense if it were simply what he thinks a Republican would say if they were being honest.
Instead, he is clearly arguing that this is what a politician would say if they could be honest about the real issues facing health care (as Robert Reich sees it in his warped view of humanity), and the necessary precondition of such honesty for him is an honorable, educated, discerning citizenry.
In other words: "We could have our socialized medicine if you selfish, uneducated ingrates would just let go of your hard-earned income, your wasteful spending on your parents' and grandparents' health, your desire to live longer, and your demand for new and better technologies to make you healthier and fight diseases."
Anyone who actually thinks he's elucidating what Republicans are really thinking, and not what he's really thinking, and wishing he could say to normal, non-Berkley student, middle Americans (except that we're just too uneducated)- needs to listen to the two minute clip again.
If that doesn't change their mind, it might help to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. If they refuse to do that, there's nothing you or I can do for them. As this story spreads, expect more of this from stubborn partisans.
They're going to say Reich's words were taken out of context. Just keep pointing them back to the clip. Earnest, independent-minded, grassroots (and uneducated in Reich's view) Americans will be able to tell the truth.