Can't Drudge Do Anything Right?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 18 2012 3:52 PM

Can't Drudge Do Anything Right?

For most of yesterday, the Drudge Report's response to the Romney tape story was benign neglect. No mention of it. Maybe it would go away. After Romney addressed the tape, at 10 p.m. ET on Monday, that became untenable, so the news site that still drives beaucoups traffic on the right started mocking the story. Now, on the principle that All Secret Tapes Are Created Equal, Drudge re-heats a portion of a speech Obama gave at Loyola University in 1998, when he was a freshman state senator. And I do mean re-heats.

Screen shot 2012-09-18 at 5.45.26 PM

A fairly intelligent child can tell the difference between this and Romney's tape. Obama's speech was public, at Loyala University; Romney was talking in confidence to donors. Romney's comment differentiated people who pay net income taxes from the 47 percent who don't, arguing that he could never win over such lazy people as constituted the second group. Obama's eventual comment is: "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." That's full of Obama's classic on-the-other-hands, to make a point that's very popular politically. (Check the polls on how many people want to erase the top-rate Bush tax cuts.) It's about as scary as a puppet show.

Actually, hold on. I've exclusively obtained this shocking tape of Obama talking about wealth redistribution. If people see it before an election, it might change everything.

There are times when the political risk of a mistake are obvious, and times when the size of the mistake is revealed by the scrambling, silly response of partisans. This is one of those other times.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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