Early on, Rush Limbaugh said about President Obama, “I hope he fails” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would focus all his efforts on making Obama “a one-term president.” These were both statements about policy. They understood what Obama meant when he said America would be “fundamentally transformed” and believed what he had in mind would increase human misery. So they announced their intention to do everything they could to prevent it from happening.
Their political opposites saw an advantage in mischaracterizing these statements as being not about policy and other things that constitute legitimate, good-faith discussion, but personal. They wouldn’t give this man who was going to cause the waters to stop rising (among other things) a chance to succeed, all out of sheer dislike for the guy and flat-out nastiness.
Thus, such statements required no response, had no standing. They should be discounted and dismissed, but not before their proponents’ wickedness is fully exposed, lest anyone take seriously anything they say in the future.
This is a dirty, pervasive game. At the risk of being accused of being blinkered, I will say I believe people of the Left are far more inclined towards this constant cherry-picking, out-of-context, twisting, mischaracterization, and re-sculpting-of-meaning than is the Right. That’s why when the Right does it, as in the case of Hillary’s “short circuit,” it is somehow even more painful to see. We should all be better than this, including, and perhaps especially the people we tend to side with.