After a hurricane of blowback from his “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” remark, Obama’s elite and overworked speech-clarification team sprang into action to spin that remark so that he doesn’t look like Hugo Chavez’s ventriloquist dummy. Here’s what they came up with:
Though Republicans say the president was implying that business owners didn’t build their businesses, Obama said he was just talking about roads and bridges.
In an interview with WCTV-TV in Tallahassee that aired Friday, Obama said: “What I said was together we build roads and we build bridges.”
He added: “That’s the point I’ve made millions of times, and by the way…
Really, that’s the best they can do. Ok, so let’s look at the two options we’ve been presented for interpreting this remark and point out why they both make the speaker look stupid:
In “you didn’t build that,” the “that” refers to the business you’ve built – Is stupid because it completely discounts the role of individual initiative and hard work, things that you’d think the president of a free republic should be encouraging. Obama wants to give credit for your business to teachers you had or road crews who built the highways you drive on. Well, everybody has teachers and everybody drives on roads, but not everybody has created Nike or Walmart. It might just be possible that those achievements have something to do with the actual people who actually worked on them.
In “you didn’t build that,” the “that” refers to the roads and bridges that your business uses – Is stupid because it makes Obama look like he thinks that business owners don’t already pay taxes to support the building of roads and bridges (along with the thousands of other boondoggles the government wastes money on that businesses don’t need so much). As far as funding is concerned, business owners had more to do with building “that” than anybody else. And if it weren’t for them providing income taxes and payroll taxes and corporate taxes and capital gains taxes and so on ad infinitum, you wouldn’t have enough of “that” to wax Thomas Friedman’s mustache.
So, to sum up: the first try resulted in a display of incredible ignorance. The second try, equally incredible ignorance. Would they care to try for three?