No, Glenn Beck, SEIU's Stern is not an advocate for "distorting politics" through political contributions
Blog ››› ››› GREG LEWIS
In his apparent quest to distort and attack everything ever said by SEIU president Andy Stern, Glenn Beck aired another chopped-up distortion of another set of Stern's comments on his show earlier tonight:
BECK: I'm going to have Andy Stern answer why is it we're passing and jamming health care through.
STERN: The politics aren't complicated. People are making investments in politics, and they expect a return on their investments. There's not ideology involved in corporations. They're looking for return on their investment. [Cut in video clip.] I'm totally involved in distorting the political system you know, with contributions. That's what we've become in America so we have to do that.
BECK: Wow, I didn't know that's what we've -- have you gotten that memo? I didn't think that we were into distorting politics for -- and just looking for a return on my investment. That's what's happening, from the guy who helped design this health care nightmare. He just wants a return on his investment.
The manner in which Beck presented Stern's comments makes it sound like Stern is endorsing or justifying the state of our political system. Beck also suggested that Stern is brandishing his "distortion" of politics to get health care reform.
But a closer look at what Stern actually said shows that Beck is being disingenuous. The video Beck played comes from a June 20, 2007 discussion with Stern at an event hosted by NDN. During the Q&A portion of the event, Stern is asked the following question, which occurs around one hour and six minutes into the video:
QUESTION: The other [question] is on political contributions. Someone mentioned that many of these multinational companies are operating on a completely global basis [...] Yet they're able to make the political contributions that help to determine policy and elections. If you can speak a little about some of those points, the politics of this. What lessons can we learn and how do we move forward?
Stern responded by telling the audience that that the way the campaign finance system works now, corporations and others are essentially making "investments in politics" that Stern suggests distort the political system, a reality which he acknowledges he is a part of. But Stern, in the portion of his answer that Beck skips over, makes clear that he opposes the current campaign finance system and advocates a system of publicly financed campaigns in which Americans wouldn't be forced to make campaign contributions to have their voices heard. That's pretty much the opposite of what Beck suggested Stern was saying.
Here's Stern's full answer, with the portion that Beck didn't air on his program in bold:
STERN: The politics aren't complicated. You know, people are making investments in politics, and they expect a return on their investments. There's not ideology involved in corporations. They're looking for return on their investment. So they're going to make as much investment as they think is good policy. I'm just talking macro, there's lots of individuals that have -- So I'm just saying, let's just publicly finance these elections and get that over with. I appreciate that there's always going to be independent expenditures. One of these days Buckley v Valeo will get overturned because it was written at a different time under different circumstances. But unless we want people investing in politics like they invest in capital and they invest in training, you know, we're just going to have a distorted political system. I'm totally involved in distorting the political system you know, with contributions. You know, that's what we've become in America so we have to do that.