Obama’s ‘Redistribution’ Video: Again, Context Is King

Mitt Romney’s camp may have struck fool’s gold when it comes to President Barack Obama’s recorded 1998 confession that he believes in the redistribution of resources.

Yes, once again, we are embroiled in a finger-pointing and petty election with secret videos, alleged ulterior motives, and shocking twists and revelations. While Mitt Romney’s secret tapes released by blog Mother Jones may or may not have polarized you the way the media wanted them to, his reaction might have sealed the deal. Furthermore, the GOP’s rebuttal, Obama’s 14-year-old “secret tape” in which he professes his undying allegiance to Communism, Socialism, the death of the United States, etc., might not have titillated you either, but just in case it did, remember that all speeches have context and all tapes are selectively combed for a best-of mix-tape of talking points and sound-bytes.

Case in point, Obama’s secret 1998 tape in which he calls himself a believer in redistribution. Here is the full quote:

“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.”

Notes the maddowblog, “radical communists are generally opposed to economic models that foster competition and work in the marketplace.”

Now in light of the full transcript, you could make a couple of arguments from the right side of the aisle. For one, you could say that the President was a bit naive in 1998, and that the values of capitalism (free market, competition) don’t play well with the values of socialism or communism (levels of resource redistribution) and that some kind of a hybrid-government model of the two is unrealistic and a bit of a pipe dream. You could argue that redistribution of wealth and resources creates envy and entitlement. You could even argue that some of President Obama’s policies that seek to reconcile the differences between two different philosophies of government haven’t really worked out the way we thought they would.

But then, you’d be having a substantive political discussion. And we can’t have that.