Monday, September 03, 2012

Hostile to business - WashPost: "Obama faces mounting questions over 'you didn't build that' remark"

The timeline of this gaffe is telling: for a solid week, the White House issued no kind of clarification - "we meant roads and bridges!" - until the snap poll results rolled in and then the Most Articulate President ever had to cut a quick commercial to explain what he really meant.  Of course, to believe Obama wasn't being derisive of the hard work of small business owners, you merely need to review the rest of the speech.

Oh, sure, roads and bridges.  Gotcha.


Nigel Tufnel said...

The only thing 'telling' about the timeline is that the 24x7 attack spin was working in this case.

They started off ignoring it because it was just another another bit of groundless noise that they assumed would go away. But sometimes the 'throw it at the wall and see what sticks' works, viz., birthers, he's a secret muslim, wasn't legitimately president of the Harvard Law Review, etc.

When this thrown spaghetti stuck to the wall, they reacted to it. So what?

'Derisive'? Let me get this straight, Vike. You believe, for real, that the President of the United States was trying to explain to small business people that he thinks they're lame? You honestly don't think that phrase was referencing the roads and bridges, and that he wasn't talking about the fundamental progressive notion that government and infrastructure facilitates and enables small business success?

Libenter homines id quod volunt credunt, indeed.

another Eric Lindholm said...

I agree that the Obama camp has mishandled this one from the outset. He should have just said, "Yep, I misspoke and it's embarrassing, but the point I was trying to make was this." Anyone remember when George the First said he had sex with Reagan ( Jeez, if the wrong words come out of your mouth, just man up and move on.

Eric said...

Nigel, have you read the transcript? Obama says your intelligence and hard work are nothing special, Mr. Businessman. That's "derision."

Forget about the roads and bridges and drink in the tone.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has read the transcript and honestly believes that, maybe their intelligence is nothing special.

From the transcript:
At the heart of this country, its central idea is the idea that in this country, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, you can make it if you try... That your kids can get a great education, and if they’re willing to work hard, then they can achieve things that you wouldn’t have even imagined achieving. And then you can maybe retire with some dignity and some respect, and be part of a community and give something back.

...We’re having a good, healthy, democratic debate. That’s how this works. And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy. And the theory is very simple: They think that the economy grows from the top down. So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well. So if we spend trillions of dollars on more tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, that that’s somehow going to create jobs, even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and gutting job-training programs and gutting transportation projects, and maybe even seeing middle-class folks have a higher tax burden.

So that’s part number one, right. More tax cuts for those at the top. Part number two is they believe if you tear down all the regulations that we’ve put in place -- for example, on Wall Street banks or on insurance companies or on credit card companies or on polluters -- that somehow the economy is going to do much, much better. So those are their two theories. They’ve got the tax cuts for the high end, and they’ve got rollback regulation.

Now, here’s the problem. You may have guessed -- we tried this. We tried this in the last decade and it did not work... But I just want to point out that we tried their theory for almost 10 years, and here’s what it got us: We got the slowest job growth in decades. We got deficits as far as the eye can see. Your incomes and your wages didn’t go up. And it culminated in a crisis because there weren’t enough regulations on Wall Street and they could make reckless bets with other people’s money that resulted in this financial crisis, and you had to foot the bill. So that’s where their theory turned out.

Now, we don’t need more top-down economics. I’ve got a different view. I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out. I believe that you grow the economy from the bottom up. I believe that when working people are doing well, the country does well.

Anonymous said...

...I do believe we can cut -- we’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently. Not every government program works the way it’s supposed to. And frankly, government can’t solve every problem. If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, government can’t always help them. Parents -- we can put more money into schools, but if your kids don’t want to learn it’s hard to teach them.

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them. So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. And, by the way, we’ve tried that before -- a guy named Bill Clinton did it. We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- 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 Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.

Nigel Tufnel said...


Sorry to get all metaphysical, but it's you and siacd999's ilk who are saying that that's what Obama is saying.

What Obama is actually saying was posted above by Anonymous.

Eric said...

Uh-huh. That's why the White House went into spin control, because Americans "misunderstood" what he said. That's why Obama, who has never met a teleprompter speech he didn't like, has never repeated this line of attack since, even though it was totally cool.

Honestly, I don't know what's worse: the original sin or trying to cover it up with poll-tested "explanations."

Anonymous said...

And that's why Romney has just ZOOMED in the polls since the party's three-day "We Built That" circle jerk. That "Obama derides business" message is really resonating with non-Republicans.

The transcript simply isn't cooperating with you. Share the code with the rest of us. Do we have to read it backwards, or circle every eighth letter or something? Do we need a decoder ring? Does Obama hate all companies, except for Ovaltine?

Eric said...

Oh, we're talking about polls now? Because both CNN and ABC/WashPost indicate that Obama is now underwater in favorability with collapsing confidence on economic matters.

Democracy Corps (James Carville's polling group) found that Independents (non-Republicans) support Romney by a +16 margin.

We'll see how your circle jerk compares with our circle jerk. So far, Obama has moved indoors because of...rain, yeah, that's it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, we're talking about polls now?


the White House issued no kind of clarification - "we meant roads and bridges!" - until the snap poll results rolled in

Honestly, I don't know what's worse: the original sin or trying to cover it up with poll-tested "explanations."

Anonymous said...

Since 1968, just three eventual losing candidates have NOT held the polling lead immediately following their quadrennial circle jerk... ehh, convention.

Those three candidates were McGovern, Mondale and Dole.

R-r-r-r-Roker Face said...

We'll see how your circle jerk compares with our circle jerk. So far, Obama has moved indoors because of...rain, yeah, that's it.

Good call, Doppler Pundit.

Eric said...

Yes, and the last President to win re-election when the unemployment rate was above 7.2% was FDR.

Obama is no FDR.

NY Times ombudsman: "Across the papers many many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism - for lack of a better term - that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of the times."

Silver is different because of all those numbers he uses.

Numbers, do my bidding! said...

Wow, that's some sample size. Three elections, total.

The “above 7.2% qualifier is cute, since it’s specifically chosen to firewall Reagan. Alas, November unemployment numbers aren't available until a month after Election Day. Ronald Reagan’s actual number was the October rate, 7.4%.

Jimmy Carter (7.5% in October 1980) should have known better than to carry that extra 0.1%. Historically, no man has ever crossed that statistical Rubicon and lived.