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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Robert Reich Taken Out of Context?

In the third day of this jaw-dropping story, wherein an Obama adviser admits exactly what the Democrats want for our health care (higher prices for healthy people, no care for old people, and less medical breakthroughs and innovation), I am seeing links coming in from all over.

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.


  1. Great points Wes. Of course Reich meant what he said, the proof, among other things; is the repsonse(es) that you list here. Nice work.

  2. Thanks, Rebel! Keep 'em honest in California!

  3. Check this out, this is the original video:

    "BraveNewFilms" chopped this and altered the content.

    Please analyze for honesty's sake.

    Much respect,
    Nonpartisan Anonymous

  4. Kinda goofy, but an interesting perspective:


  5. Thanks for covering this story Wes. There is always something to read here.

  6. Yes, and it's STILL just a CLIP taken from a WHOLE SPEECH. Why not provide the entire speech, Mr. Humble? Why not let us see for ourselves that this was not taken out of context??

    Funny, for all the bellowing going on out there in Rightie world, not one of you has had the balls to post the thing in it's entirety. Nice way to emulate the small-minded King of out of context snippets, Hannity.

  7. Yes, an ALTERED clip no less. That is altered AND shortened. Content is taken out and changed from the original. Oh the irony of "fair and balanced"... what' is fair or balanced about putting words into the mouth of your competitor?

  8. Like he said, where's the entire speech? I'm willing to bet that entire clip is a satirical "icebreaker" to loosen up the crowd at the start of the speech. Notice how the crowd is laughing? Would you laugh if someone stood in front of you and said seriously this is what we're going to do? I don't think so. Show me the entire speech, beginning to end, and prove to me that it wasn't taken out of context. Believe me, if I take a clip of you saying, "I enjoy making breakfast because I love to feed my daughter," and edit to say "I enjoy making love to my daughter," well than I can call you a pedophile. Don't believe me? Think I'm taking it out of context? Just watch the clip I posted again, it's right there!