Commentary

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, left, has drawn harsh criticism and backlash for comments he made regarding Arizona Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema, right, after she refused to vote with Democrats to end the filibuster.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, left, has drawn harsh criticism and backlash for comments he made regarding Arizona Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema, right, after she refused to vote with Democrats to end the filibuster. (Victoria Will – Invision / AP ; Chris Carlson / AP)

 By Mike Landry  January 24, 2022 at 3:56pm

If a woman gets out of line, slap her.

Whoa, what right-wing crude dude said that? Publicly, no less? On Twitter?

Why, it was Robert Reich — an individual known for his leftist ideas.

Unamused by Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona not falling in line with Democrats’ efforts to abolish the filibuster, Reich, a University of California-Berkeley professor who was Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, tweeted Thursday that “Democratic Senators should have given her the backs of their hands.”

pic.twitter.com/11hoBAzcXc

— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 20, 2022

Whoops. Bad form, Mr. Secretary. Because after he tweeted it, the roof fell in.

Last night I deleted a tweet because it was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media. “Back of the hand” is an idiom for rebuke. I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women.

— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 20, 2022

Accusations that Reich advocated violence toward women came pouring in. He brushed it off, saying his tweet (since removed) “was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media.”

Should Reich have made his tweet, even though the language was figurative?

“‘Back of the hand’ is an idiom for rebuke,” Reich tweeted. “I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women.”

Despite Reich’s claim, there were accusations coming from outside conservative media. Objections also came from progressive women, according to The Blaze, which quoted editor JD Rucker: “Hate to tell you this, tough guy, but the comments I read before you deleted the tweet weren’t coming from ‘conservative media.’ It was women, many of them progressives, who didn’t appreciate your ‘idiom’ with its origins squarely tied to physical violence.”

Joining Sinema in opposition to scrapping the filibuster was Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and a tweet posted by an individual named Anita asked why Reich failed to use such pointed language against him.

If that were truly the case, why did you not include Senator Manchin for “rebuke” in your statement? Why direct your statement only towards the female Senator? And why use a phrase that also is known as what is depicted below? pic.twitter.com/SshqQyikL4

— Anita (@AnitaBA321) January 20, 2022


I wonder if the universal leftist soup we all seem to live in means individuals like Reich think they don’t have to do what we conservatives do: Think about what we say or write lest the left pounces.

As far back as 2011 there was an incident in which Republican star Sarah Palin’s political action committee used an obvious political term related to targeting specific opponents — putting them in the “crosshairs” of an election map.

But, following an assassination attempt which left Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona seriously wounded, the left loudly decried the crosshairs ad by Palin and her PAC, claiming it prompted the attack on Giffords.

Despite huffing and puffing by The New York Times, the left ultimately had to withdraw their accusation, there being no link between the Palin map and Gifford’s shooting. Even though the Times toned it down a bit, Palin’s lawsuit against the outlet is beginning in court Feb. 1.

It was a clear lesson to the right: Watch what you say.

And it’s a lesson for everyone in the public eye.

Including Reich, whose leftist credentials are sterling — he believes in activist government and redistribution of wealth to the needy and opposes what he calls the “myth of the free market,” according to Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institution.

Criticizing the opposition of former Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota to the minimum wage, Reich once wrote that following her logic would lead to the justification of slavery.

Reich is a leftist.

It’s disconcerting to see idioms becoming offensive by being converted into literal statements. But it is telling to see leftists and feminists object when someone uses even figurative language that crosses the line.

Despite all the girl power and alleged interchangeability of the sexes, everybody knows it’s not right for a man to hit a woman.

Shockingly, the backlash from the left towards Reich goes against what syndicated radio talk show host Chris Pilante once said: “If it wasn’t for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.”

It is refreshing to see the rules applying to everyone.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.

Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.

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