I have noticed something that is becoming increasingly common. After a politician says something pandering to appeal to some constituency, and is then quoted those words back and asked to explain it to a different constituency that may not share the same sympathies, the politician simply says that the quoted words had been “taken out of context”.
Sarah Palin provides the latest example. In an interview, she said in her usual confused fashion that president Obama’s “philosophy of radicalism” had the intent of taking us back to the “days before the Civil War”, whatever the hell that means. When those words were throwing back at her later, she trotted out the usual defense that her words had been “taken out of context”.
But if someone makes that claim, at the very least they should provide a clarification of what they actually meant to say and provide the context that provides evidence that supports that that was what they meant. But that is not what happens. Palin, like others, simply say the phrase “taken out of context” and move on, and interviewers seem to passively accept it. It has become a ‘get out of jail free’ card for dealing with past statements that have become inconvenient.