Watch LIVE

MSNBC Panel Genuinely Confused Over Negative Reaction to Obama Saying He Believes in 'Redistribution


"If you don’t believe in redistribution, then you don’t believe in any public services at all."

During a Thursday broadcast of MSNBC’s "NOW," a panel of like-minded journalists decided that rather than explain away the 1998 audio of then-Sen. Barack Obama saying he "believe[s] in redistribution," they would embrace the term and wonder aloud, "gee, why don’t more Americans like this idea?"

"This redistribution word, which is a word that I’m sure is intended to be befuddle people because it’s not a word that real people use," said Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet. "By using this word -- I think it’s a bit coded, first of all. But why don’t we call it 'Robin Hood-ism?'"

Time out.

Robin Hood didn't simply steal from the wealthy and redistribute it to the poor, as anyone who has actually read the book will tell you. He reclaimed what the king's tax collectors stole through unjust taxation. For the sake of your argument, Miss Sweet, we'd advise against referring to the bumper sticker version of Robin Hood.

Okay, time in.

"I think that Romney goes into this argument at his own peril because you’re not necessarily saying, 'redistribute – bad,'" she continued.

"I’m confused,” said New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore. "I assume they have some focus group data than tells them this word is a hot button for some voters that they want to reach. But the fact is that this concept is baked into American government."

He went on to argue that America’s progressive tax rates are a perfect example of "redistribution."

"Lynn said the word is a 'bit coded,' and I think it’s a lot coded," said New York Times reporter Hugo Lindgren. "It’s meant to, sort of, confuse people and create this complicated concept that government is doing something sort of devious that you didn’t think they were doing, or that is going to, kind of, double-cross you."

Or it could be that people react negatively to the word because a) the idea of an overreaching and confiscatory government isn't a foreign concept and b) the belief that government gets to decide who gets what is closely associated with the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc., who, you know, are kind of scary.

Watch the panel discussion here [via MSNBC]:

"If you don’t believe in redistribution, then you don’t believe in any public services at all," said MSNBC contributor Richard Wolffe.

Obviously, people making a big deal over the ’98 audio just don’t understand that government is here to help. Let’s face it, people only react negatively to this word because, well, they just don’t get it.

This is honestly what the panel argues.

"Perhaps the panelists should spend less time in the echo chamber and more time digesting polls. The most recent Gallup survey which showed that a majority of respondents -- 54 percent, in fact -- said that government is trying to do too much," writes Mediaite’s Noah Rothman.

"Just 39 percent said that government should do more to solve the nation’s problems. Another clear majority, 51 percent, said that government has too much power. 8 percent said that they did not have enough power," he adds.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Most recent
All Articles