The latest sample of right-wing context-screwing “ah-ha-Obama’s-a-socialist” is the snipping of a stump speech he gave in Virginia last weekend where he said basically that we’re all in this together. The usual suspects at Fox News did some judicious editing and turned him into Lenin, as did S.E. Cupp, the second-string dingbat from MSNBC’s new show The Cycle: “It’s collectivism!”
Here, via TPM, is the full quote:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.
My theory is that the folks on the right have the attention span of a goldfish or that polysyllabic words confuse them. Or, to be cynical, they know exactly what Mr. Obama meant but knew that they could yank bits and pieces out of it and turn it into a bullshit quote out of context and feed it to their audience, most of whom still think Elvis is working in the Burger King in Grand Rapids.
The only way anyone could believe this is socialism, collectivism, or anything other than a ringing endorsement of the American tradition of working together would be if they’re really stupid or so filled with blind hatred for Barack Obama that they’ll believe anything rotten that someone else feeds them about him. Which is pretty much the same thing anyway.
HT to Benjamin J. Kirby.