Opinion: Obama "You Didn't Build That" Comment Incites Class Warfare
Friday, July 20, 2012 - 01:00 PM
Ever since President Obama made his anti-business comments there has been an outcry by liberals that his words were taken out of context. I would never want to misquote my president so here is the full comment:
Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
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.
The argument from the left goes that Obama didn't mean that you didn't build your business, just that you didn't build your own roads. Let's disregard for a moment that, as James Taranto points out, the grammar insists he meant business (singular-that) and not roads and bridges (plural-those). Let's forget that it is obvious to a mule (it sounds better in Russian--"kanyoo yasna") that most people didn't build their own roads. And let's not think about the fact that business owners, particularly successful ones demonized here, pay the high taxes that pay for those roads and bridges.
The theme in Obama's words is undeserved success. Obama didn't accidentally say that the successful didn't make it on their own. Take a good look at his opponent. Mitt Romney was born rich, that's true, (his father was a successful auto exec) but not the kind of rich he would eventually become on his own. Barack Obama was taking the world's most obvious shot at Mitt Romney for being successful and when it blew up in his face it became a case of being misquote or words taken out of context. That's simply not true. Most of Barack Obama's monetary success came from his bestselling books. Now we're supposed to believe that the man who earned his multi-million dollar wealth writing books clumsily tumbled over words. Unlikely.
The other reason that the president is attacking business owners is that it creates a convenient "us vs. them" dynamic in a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty. Instead of taking responsibility that his policies have done nothing to improve our unemployment numbers, the president can instead turn the rage of the unemployed and underpaid onto those who have been successful.
It isn't Obama failing you, it's these rich people who don't recognize that your hard work helped get them there. Perhaps what the unemployed are really lacking is the same access to roads, bridges and teachers as the successful. Or perhaps Barack Obama is playing a class warfare game to win an election.