Letter to the Editor in the Nov. 27, 2007, issue:
To The Editor:
After reading Mr. Tobin's "Ups-N-Downs" article from Tuesday, Nov. 13, I felt compelled to respond. A refresher for those who missed it, a "History" lesson/quiz asking the reader to match fairly negative political quotes with fairly negative political leaders. After finishing this quiz, the reader is told that, in fact, Hillary Clinton was responsible for each of these "provocative" statements.
First of all, I am a Barack Obama supporter, not an advocate for Mrs. Clinton. With that said, I still understand the potential for this "history lesson" to misinform and mislead a large number of readers (by listing statements, taken out of context, for political mudslinging purposes). The truth is, each of these statements were/are valid and sincere, when placed in the context with which they originated.
A few examples:
"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” This statement was actually made in front of a group of well-to-do Democrats attending a fund raiser in California back in 2004. Mrs. Clinton's statements referred to a desire to repeal the recently enacted tax cuts which overwhelmingly favor the ultra wealthy.
"We have to build a political consensus, and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own ... in order to create this common ground.” This statement was taken from a 2007 CNN "Presidential Forum" last June. In its full context Mrs. Clinton is actually referring to our ongoing problems with the health care industry. Sky rocketing prices, and even more important, the uninsured (in its full context she explains how the U.S. has 45 million uninsured people, 9 million of whom are children). Her quote was an attempt to engage other political members, with the hope of fixing a broken system.
"I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in the entire economy that they are being watched.” This statement, made in front of a group of her constituents in 2005, was actually an expression of the need for regulatory oversight of the oil industry. In its full context, it showed Mrs. Clinton's desire to put the big oil companies in check, in turn, cutting back incredibly high gas prices and reducing the need for dependence on foreign oil.
The other three quotes from Mr. Tobin's article have very similar explanations, when placed in their proper context. The term "history lesson" now feels like a bit of a stretch. A "history lesson" should be historically accurate, tell the whole story, not bits and pieces to fuel a political agenda.