So it’s Come to This: a Conservative Defending Obama
I am not a fan of president Obama. If this comes as a shock to you, welcome to my blog, first time visitor! While I am not a constant detractor, I am a conservative, thus I find myself in opposition to the president on many issues of core ideology. For that reason, I rather resent that I have to defend him in this instance.
Let’s get right to it: the president did not say you didn’t build your own business. He said (albeit a bit clumsily) that you didn’t build the roads and bridges that made your business possible.
Shall we look at the quote?
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
See it? The “you didn’t build that” bit is referring to the roads and bridges. He didn’t mean you didn’t build your business.
I really dislike having to point this out, but come on. Pretending to be so stupid that we can’t understand what the president was really saying won’t help us. Even now, a week or so later, guys like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other proponents of conservative truth are nearly apoplectic with shock (and delight?) over this quote, over the idea that president Obama has insulted the business class and handed credit for their work over to somebody else.
And why does this allegation stick so hard? Because it is very likely that Barack Obama does, in fact, believe what he seemed to say. The president is a collectivist. He believes in the village, not the individual. He promotes the government, not the private sector, as the ultimate benefactor of people. This is not an insult, or even a surprise. Most liberals would happily claim these as the basic tenets of their ideology. Thus, when the president seems to say that business owners did not create their businesses, but owe their hard work to the collective at large, we are not surprised that he believes it, but only that he had the guts to admit it.
Which he didn’t. Regardless of what most of us suspect the president truly believes, he did not say what the conservative talking heads are claiming. They are pretending to be stupid so that they can pin an outrageous (and frankly likely) quote onto the president in an election year.
But the really annoying thing– at least to anyone who values truth above ideology– is that it isn’t necessary. One does not need to take the president’s quote out of context for it to be outrageous.
He said that, when it comes to bridges and roads, business owners “didn’t build that”. But, of course, they most certainly did. Business owners, the hated capitalists that have succeeded in this country, pay far and away the majority of taxes. The top 10% of wage earners pay over 70% of taxes, while the lower 50% paid barely 2%. Clearly, the business owners did indeed pay for the bridges and roads that helped make their businesses function, while the lower 50% of wage earners– many of whom pumped their fists the hardest at Obama’s ding against corporate America– didn’t pitch in a cent for them.
This is where conservative talking points should be hitting. Not the prolonged, completely unnecessary miss-quote. I understand– and appreciate– the need to hit hard during an election year. But if that hit isn’t based firmly in the truth, then frankly I– and any conservative thinker of conscience– don’t want any part of it.