Obama line about building a business…

By: Citizen Scribe

While this has the potential to become quite contentious, permit me to offer a couple of points.

Some of my friends and I disagree a bit on the essence of the money quote, the “if you have a business, you didn’t build that” thing. Their take is that he meant it as he said it. And my take is “yes, but…”

And here is my “yes but…”

The entire quote runs to about two paragraphs. It is clear that his meaning is that no one who succeeds can take all the credit for having succeeded, because the government made his success possible.

His semi-inarticulate blunder — the money quote — amounts to a Freudian slip of epic proportions.

Yeah, sure, he meant to say that those who built a business didn’t build the roads and bridges, but what he really means — under all the awkward wording — is that you didn’t build that. He goes on at length to make his “point” that without the government’s help, without the government’s having established all the infrastructure, you would have had nowhere to stand in order to accomplish your success. (He conveniently omits that every freeloading loser had that same infrastructure available.)

His “money quote” is the clearest, most succinct distillation of what he means here.

Yeah, he slipped up in trying to make the point, and gave his opponents a super clean sound bite, but that sound bite — even with all its “out of context” framing — is exactly what he meant.

The honest interpretation boils down to exactly that sound bite. It doesn’t matter what his intended wording was, what he actually said is what he actually means.

And this goes deeper…

He’s desperately trying to make the point that no one is responsible for his own success.

And why is that, Doktor Freud?

It’s because he is not, himself, responsible for his own success.

He’s a “made man.” And not just figuratively speaking, either. He is an entirely manufactured phenomenon. There’s no “there” there. He’s a story, not a person.

A whole cadre of people collaborated to put him where he is. People of great means and evil intent financed him. People of letters and evil intent educated him. People with power to grab and an axe to grind propelled him. And none of this is unknown to him.

He knows he’s a made man. He knows who made him.

And he can’t interpret success through any other lens.

So, while I agree that he “meant” to say that a businessman didn’t build the infrastructure, I also see clearly that he really means that no one who succeeds did it himself.

His money quote betrays him.

We need to hit this and hit it hard. It is his essence.

The money quote sound bite can be the intro, and a “summary clarification” can be made that he said two paragraphs of stuff, but the ultimate intent of his slam on business people and those who strive to succeed is embodied in that very quote.

Don’t cut him any slack on this.

Couch it in whatever terms you must, but after you take the time to “clarify” the context, take that clarification all the way out: in the end, he said exactly what he means.

And he means it because it is an entirely and excruciatingly precisely accurate self-description.

He is that person about whom he speaks.

Make him own that.

6 thoughts on “Obama line about building a business…

  1. Pingback:   Obama…Freudian Slip Reveals His Inner Insecurities — Pink Flamingo Bar

  2. Again the ultra-conservative propaganda service takes Obama’s statements completely out of context. What he was saying was simple: Business requires the services of government to succeed. They require the services of public school to educate the employees they once had—before they off-shored so many of the jobs. (Or at least the needed education the was made possible by government grants to charter schools, universities, and students.) Many businesses required government contracts and incentive to get started—before they discovered that the incentives available in communist China were more lucrative. Etc., etc., etc.

  3. Propaganda? You wish.

    His money quote *is* the context.

    Businesses have been succeeding without benefit of government intervention for a very long time. Inventors have been inventing without benefit of government meddling for a very long time.

    Government doesn’t solve problems, government “manages” other people’s solutions to problems, and does so at great expense, while blowing its trumpet about how indispensable it (government) is to the process. And every time government inserts itself into the process, the process becomes horrifically expensive and time consuming, and the successes “belong” to government, while the failures — the many, many staggering failures — are billed to the taxpayers under the pretext that “if we had only had more money, it all would have worked.”

    Public school? Really? Yes, tell me again how hugely successful public schools are. Tell me again how government has “fixed” the schools and boosted the SAT scores for the last forty years. Tell me again how the US has risen in the international rankings for scholastic achievement under the tender guidance of government.

    And, as usual, you leave out the inconvenient fact that everything “provided” by government to those who succeed in business was also provided to those freeloading losers who whine about the “unfair” successes of those who work their asses off to make something happen in their lives.

    Next you’re gonna try to have the government take credit for my church, and for all the stability, insight, and sanity it’s brought to my life. Go ahead. Try to sell that.

    Hey, why don’t you head on over to http://didntbuildthat.com for a little perspective?

    And say hello to your “dear leader” — the one who killed Bin Laden all by himself.

  4. Seriously? There was commerce and personal business ownership and success LONG before the government built the first federally funded roads. Please don’t post such an ignorant explanation of a very bad comment!

  5. Pingback: Peek-a-Boo, Mr. President. We see you.

  6. How about a three pronged oversimplification:

    1. Obama fails to mention the risk taken by the small biz entrepreneur. Where is the participation of others here?

    2. The business starter faces more government interference and costs in the form of permits, zoning inter alia. That’s help? More like opposition.

    3. The entrepreneur pays taxes that nearly 50% of Americans don’t, so that sort of eliminates half of the “others” that built his business and furthermore puts the entrepreneur on the same footing with those who do finance government, maybe more so than most. So in the context of Obama’s stupid, that help is cancelled out, so we are left with the risk factor as the defining reality of a new business.

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