The Republican National Committee is doing a smart thing:
The Republican National Committee and the Romney for President Campaign have created a new program to ensure that the voice of successful Americans can be heard. The “Built By Us” program is designed to show the president and his proponents personal stories of success that individuals have built themselves throughout this great nation.
“At a time when this nation is more and more divided along political lines, the president once again forgets the people who have made this nation great,” said Nathan Conrad, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. ‘The Built By Us’ program was designed with one ultimate goal: have real people across America show the president that hard work and diligence makes one successful, not a handout from the federal government.”
To participate in the program, please create a video and post it to the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s Facebook Page, here, or you can submit your video directly to the Romney for President Campaign at email@example.com.
The stories submitted need not only be by business owners. Any story of success based on something that one has built is greatly appreciated. If an individual wrote a book, raised a family, or built something in their community without the intrusion of the government, their stories are welcome.
You can tell the GOP thinks Obama’s gaffe is a winning issue by the attention the party is paying to it. But the GOP isn’t the only group paying attention to it. Rasmussen Reports reports:
Most Americans believe entrepreneurs who start businesses do more to create jobs and economic growth than big businesses or government. They also believe overwhelmingly that small business owners work harder than other Americans and are primarily responsible for the success or failure of their businesses.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe that people who start small businesses are primarily responsible for their success or failure. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 13% disagree.
The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer takes a slightly different tack on this issue:
To say that all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom. …
Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.
Absurd. We don’t credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein’s manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he created the Mac and the iPad.
Obama’s infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What’s variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.
The ultimate Obama fallacy, however, is the conceit that belief in the value of infrastructure — and willingness to invest in its creation and maintenance — is what divides liberals from conservatives.
More nonsense. Infrastructure is not a liberal idea, nor is it particularly new. The Via Appia was built 2,300 years ago. The Romans built aqueducts, too. And sewers. Since forever, infrastructure has been consensually understood to be a core function of government.
The argument between left and right is about what you do beyond infrastructure. It’s about transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to central planners. It’s about free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work — the latest Obama entitlement-by-decree that would fatally undermine the great bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. It’s about endless government handouts that, ironically, are crowding out necessary spending on, yes, infrastructure.
What divides liberals and conservatives is not roads and bridges but Julia’s world, an Obama campaign creation that may be the most self-revealing parody of liberalism ever conceived. It’s a series of cartoon illustrations in which a fictional Julia is swaddled and subsidized throughout her life by an all- giving government of bottomless pockets and “Queen for a Day” magnanimity. At every stage, the state is there to provide — preschool classes and cut-rate college loans, birth control and maternity care, business loans and retirement. The only time she’s on her own is at her grave site.
Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She’s married to the provider state.
Or to put it slightly differently, the “Life of Julia” represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.
Beyond infrastructure, the conservative sees the proper role of government as providing not European-style universal entitlements but a firm safety net, meaning Julia-like treatment for those who really cannot make it on their own — those too young or too old, too mentally or physically impaired, to provide for themselves.
Newspaper opinion pages are also weighing in:
New York Daily News: “The President Demeaned The Qualities Of Initiative, Industriousness And Ingenuity That Drive America’s Ladder-Climbers.” “Regardless of whether Obama was talking about ‘roads and bridges’ or about ‘a business’ when he said, ‘you didn’t build that,’ there is no question that as he extolled the virtues of government — the government he claims Romney would dismantle — the President demeaned the qualities of initiative, industriousness and ingenuity that drive America’s ladder-climbers.” (Editorial, “President Obama Distorts Mitt Romney’s Record And Ignores His Own,” New York Daily News, 7/22/12) …
Albuquerque Journal: “[President Obama’s] Off-The-Cuff Comment Devalues The Importance Of Effort, Sacrifice, Dedication And Hard Work. And It’s Not How It Works Outside D.C.” “It’s been a tough week to be an American entrepreneur. President Barack Obama told campaign supporters ‘if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.’ At minimum, his off-the-cuff comment devalues the importance of effort, sacrifice, dedication and hard work. And it’s not how it works outside D.C.” (Editorial, “President Discounts U.S. Small Businesses,”Albuquerque Journal, 7/20/12) …
Las Vegas Review-Journal: “[President Obama] Clearly Believes … That Business Owners Who Risked It All For A Better Life Aren’t Responsible For Their Own Prosperity.” “Without a record of economic recovery to run on, President Barack Obama is taking a startling gamble this summer. He clearly believes that not only do Americans lack such entrepreneurial dreams, but that business owners who risked it all for a better life aren’t responsible for their own prosperity.” (Editorial, “Diminishing Entrepreneurship,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/20/12) …
San Diego Union-Tribune: “[President Obama] Offered Hosannas To Genius Entrepreneurs Like Steve Jobs In His Prepared Remarks, But When Speaking Off The Cuff Betrayed His Faculty-Lounge View Of The World.” “He took office at a time when the U.S. economy was on its worst slide in 75 years, but pushed policies using borrowed money that were more meant to preserve government jobs than broadly help the private sector where the great majority of Americans work, ensuring the jobs crisis continued. … He offered hosannas to genius entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs in his prepared remarks, but when speaking off the cuff betrayed his faculty-lounge view of the world, saying of businesspeople, ‘if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.’” (Editorial, “Presidential Busts: The Worst Of All: Barack Obama (2009-?),” San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/22/12) …
The Wall Street Journal: “The President Who Says He Wants To Be Transformational May Be Succeeding—And Subordinating To Government The Individual Enterprise And Risk-Taking That Underlies Prosperity.” “Beneath the satire is the serious point that Mr. Obama’s homily is the soul of his campaign message. The President who says he wants to be transformational may be succeeding—and subordinating to government the individual enterprise and risk-taking that underlies prosperity. The question is whether this is the America that most Americans want to build.” (Editorial, “’You Didn’t Build That’,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/17/12)
Chicago Tribune: “We’re Troubled … By The President’s Decision To Stoke Resentment Toward The People Who Have Taken Risks And Succeeded In This Nation.” “We’re troubled, too, by the president’s decision to stoke resentment toward the people who have taken risks and succeeded in this nation. ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,’ Obama said Friday.” (Editorial, “The Roar Offshore,” Chicago Tribune, 7/19/12)
Not that Obama cares, but musician Charlie Daniels thinks Obama is, shall we say, tone-deaf:
here was your government when I spent as much as 16 weeks away from my wife and infant son to get a business started?
Where were you on those cold winter nights when my old bus broke down in the middle of nowhere and we had to scramble to make the next show, nobody from the government came along to give us a ride?
Where was your government when I had to borrow money from a bank to make my payroll?
Where was your government while I was digging out of a two million dollar debt, playing every smoky beer joint I could to keep from losing everything I owned?
Mr. Obama, I want to make you aware of a fact. It is the federal government’s responsibility to build roads and bridges and keep the nation safe. That’s what the federal government is supposed to do, not create an entitlement society that is totally unsustainable and pile up debt that we can’t pay.
And who do you think paid for those roads and bridges in the first place, and have been doing it for 200 years before you were even born? …
Mr. Obama I don’t think you like America very much. I think you’d like to redesign it from the ground up, to turn it into a lazy, unproductive, secular, socialist society.
Well, that just wont flush in a lot of ways, the most prominent being that when all the productive people have given up and stopped trying, when all the investors stop investing, when 80% of the population is living on government hand outs, your government is going to run out of money and this nation will sink into chaos. …
My help cometh from the Lord who made Heaven and Earth — not the government who made debt and class envy.
I wonder if the Ego-in-Chief or any of his minions in the White House has any idea what a stupid, stupid thing he said. And I wonder if Obama’s supposedly brilliant political advisors have any idea of how to get out of the mess into which their leader led himself.
Perhaps they should consult one of Obama’s predecessors:
Small business is the gateway to opportunity for those who want a piece of the American Dream. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a little more about the forgotten heroes of America, those who create most of our new jobs, like the owners of stores down the street, the faithful who support our churches, synagogues, schools and communities. The brave men and women everywhere who produce our goods, feed a hungry world, and keep our families warm while they invest in the future to build a better America. That’s where miracles are made. Not In Washington, D.C.