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For Mitt Romney, it’s always a good time to take President Obama out of context, and days before the election is the best time of all. In robocalls, and in his final stops on the campaign trail, the Republican presidential candidate has exhibited manufactured disgust over this comment: “Voting is the best revenge.”
That was Barack Obama at a campaign rally. He was starting into an anecdote about onetime Massachusetts senate candidate Mitt Romney when the crowd reverberated with boos. “Don’t boo, vote. Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
See Mittens? Your opponent was actually trying to tamp down the raw anger his supporters have toward you and put it into something constructive. He said something quite similar four years ago when a crowd started to boo then opponent John McCain, and Obama replied, “We don’t need to do that. We just need to vote.” Exact same concept: if you are mad, don’t just growl, do something about it. Vote.
But no, screw the concept, this is a golden opportunity for one last spurt of fake anger.
“Vote for revenge?” Romney scoffed. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country.”
Ah, and of course we get one more not so subtle jab at how Obama just isn’t quite as, y’know, American, as the rest of us. I mean sure, he was born here, probably, but revenge? Real Americans don’t vote out of revenge. They vote because they love their country! And latent racism!
Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki brought the discussion up to an eighth grade reading level with this explanation:
“The message he [Obama] was sending is if you don’t like the policies, if you don’t like the plan that Gov. Romney is putting forward, if you think that’s a bad deal for the middle class, then you can go to the voting booth and cast your ballot. It’s nothing more complicated than that.”
Republican columnist and noise legitimizer Charles Krauthammer, explained that, while Obama was referencing one of the great American authors, it was a bad choice of words, and kudos to Romney for jumping all over it:
"I think that played right in the Romney strategy of going large and it showed how small Obama remains, always on the attack. Now to be fair, he was quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, who said living well is the best revenge. But revenge is not a word you want to use in your closing argument and I think Romney pounced on that extremely effectively. I think it was within 6 hours he had the ad out … why should you vote? Obama says for revenge, I say for love of country. That is the perfect contrast of large versus small, and I think it is a mistake Obama will regret."
Because it’s not about having a real discussion about real ideas, it’s about jumping on individual words and then repeating them until you actually believe there is something to get angry about.
Image credit: Reuters