I just received a fundraising solicitation from the RNC with this quote from Hillary Clinton on the envelope, at the top of the letter, and in the body of the letter: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
It's presented with no context in the first two cases. And in the body of the letter, RNC chairman Ken Mehlman writes:
As you decide how much to send I want you to take to heart the words of New York Senator Hillary Clinton when she said, "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
These words of warning have profound and troubling implications for all Americans.
President Reagan frequently reminded us that in America the government works for us. The leaders of the Democrats see it the other way around.
If the liberal Democrats win in 2006, we can expect massive tax and spending increases and a total defeat of the Bush agenda.
Now, I'm no Hillary fan and don't like the language she used, but the RNC is taking the quote at least partially out of context. It comes from a speech Hillary gave in San Francisco last year, which the AP reported as follows:
Headlining an appearance with other Democratic women senators on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is up for re-election this year, Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters -- some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend -- to expect to lose some of the tax cuts passed by President Bush if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress.
"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
In short, she was talking specifically to the rich donors who were her audience, and she was advocating the repeal of tax cuts, not the confiscation of property. But knowing the way the media echo chamber works, I'm sure the out-of-context version will take on a life of its own soon enough.