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“THE SYSTEM OBAMA WAS RAISED TO ABHOR”
by Don Fredrick, ©2012, blogging at TheObamaTimeline
(Aug. 22, 2012) — Thousands of words have been written about Obama’s July 13 “You didn’t build that” remark. After an immediate salvo of criticism, the Obama team responded that his words were taken out of context and he was referring to roads and bridges, not businesses. (Of course, “roads and bridges” would have been referred to as “those,” not “that.”) Mitt Romney correctly noted that the context was actually worse than Obama’s statement itself. But the words reveal even more than many might believe.
Obama said, “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me [about raising taxes] 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 hard-working 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 American system that Obama claims allows businesses to thrive is certainly not roads and bridges and teachers. It is freedom and capitalism. We should not need the government’s permission to thrive. We need only for the government to get out of the way. That Obama cannot understand such a concept is more significant than anything else in his controversial statement, and supports the claim that he does not see things from the unique American perspective we expect from an elected official. Government did not make America great. Government protected the freedoms and free enterprise that made America great.
Obama’s “No man is an island” argument does nothing to explain why some men are more productive than others. They all have access to the same coconut trees on the island. Why do some climb the trees to get to the coconuts, while others sit in the shade and wait for them to fall to the ground? (Perhaps some are simply stationed on the barren side of the island, heeding the advice of Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson that it might “tip over and capsize” if all the inhabitants were to gather in the same place.)
Romney is right to emphasize that if a student makes the honor roll we congratulate the student, rather than the bus driver who takes him to and from school every day. Obama is correct that society needs bus drivers and road builders, but he is wrong to believe they should march across the stage with the student and share his award.
Yet there is more behind Obama’s words. Conservatives have no objection to paying taxes to maintain roads and bridges, the Armed Forces, the courts, the police, and fire fighters. But beyond those functions, there is almost nothing the government does that the private sector cannot do more efficiently and at a much lower cost. Others prefer as large and powerful a government as possible—one that can provide for them from cradle to grave and reduce or remove the burden of personal responsibility. But what the “progressives” fail to appreciate—or even understand—is that personal responsibility yields individual accomplishments. Those individual accomplishments are the purpose of life. From those accomplishments come pride, satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Those are feelings that most conservatives enjoy on a regular basis, and that, tragically, many liberals experience only occasionally. Instead, liberals experience envy, resentment, anger, and frustration. Those are the emotional buttons Obama is pushing with his class warfare tactics.
It is not an accident that Tea Party events consist of generally happy people calling for a less-intrusive government, while Occupy Wall Street events consist of generally angry people demanding a more-intrusive government. The leftist wants to be given something by the government. The conservative wants the government to step aside and allow human genius and productivity to flourish. The leftist wants to be free from the cost of a doctor visit and a strep throat test. The conservative seeks to market an inexpensive at-home test kit that will eliminate the doctor visit altogether. The leftist wants to place his burdens on the shoulders of others. The conservative wants to eliminate the burdens.
Those who are conditioned to believe that government support is a necessary condition of life find it almost impossible to comprehend that others do not feel the same way. Thus, they see “racism” in any criticism of Obama. “How can anyone possibly oppose big government?” necessarily becomes, “Of course they are racists!” (“He can’t really oppose ObamaCare; so he must be a racist.”)
Far too many Americans are so used to relying on government that they no longer know how to rely on themselves—and they resent others who can. For some, that resentment is replaced by a refusal to even accept the existence of the self-reliant. Liberals see retirees at Tea Party gatherings and cite their Social Security benefits as “proof” that “everyone” depends on the government—conveniently forgetting that those retirees paid for those benefits (and would have far greater wealth had they put their money in gold rather than into a non-existent Social Security “Trust Fund”). Those on the far left believe everyone is a dependent in one way or another. To a leftist, a person on welfare and the owner of a business are therefore morally equivalent. The former receives direct government assistance, while the latter is successful only because everyone else provided them with the tools of success.
Some seem willing—even eager—to argue that Beethoven would have amounted to nothing had someone else not first invented the piano, Shakespeare would have been a disease-ridden beggar were it not for Gutenberg’s printing press, Thomas Edison owes his success to the inventor of glass, and Andrew Carnegie would never have made a fortune producing steel had a cave man not discovered the fire needed for his blast furnaces. That is the nonsense being peddled by Obama (and Elizabeth Warren).
Of course, there are some people who do owe almost all of their success to others. Throughout his life the current temporary occupant of our Oval Office was aided every step of the way. Others bailed him out on a recurring basis, paying for his enrollment at expensive private schools, writing letters of recommendation to get him into Harvard Law School, providing him with affirmative action benefits, not calling him to account when he voted “present” in the Illinois State Senate, putting his name on legislation written by others, ghost-writing his biography, giving him sweetheart mortgage deals, getting the sealed divorce records of his opponents unsealed, changing the Democrat primary rules to deny Hillary Clinton votes from Florida and Michigan, shielding his school records, forging birth certificates and a Selective Service registration form, pretending he slept through 20 years of inflammatory sermons, ignoring his thuggish campaign tactics, and showering him with sycophantic media coverage worth even more than the massive campaign funds he raised.
Being aided and abetted along the way is the only life Obama ever knew. He therefore assumes that everyone else who has achieved a modicum of success was generously aided by others or obtained success by cheating. Obama is desperate to “prove” that Romney cheated on his taxes and lied on SEC statements because he cannot comprehend the existence of a successful person who is not a crook. Obama has been surrounded by shady characters throughout his life. They include his drug-dealing, pornographer, communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis; former fugitives from the FBI, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; money-man Tony Rezko (now in jail); former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (now in jail); close advisor Valerie “slumlord” Jarrett; political hatchet man David Axelrod; campaign bundler Jon Corzine, who stole more than $1 billion in customer funds from MF Global investors; and, of course, Attorney General Eric Holder—who has been called “the biggest enabler of financial crime in U.S. history.”
Mitt Romney does not fit the image that Obama needs to attack. He neither drinks nor smokes. He attends church. He donates millions of dollars to charity. He married his high-school sweetheart and has five clean-cut sons. He succeeded in business. He created jobs. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from failure. He is the ultimate American.
That is why Obama hates Mitt Romney. Romney is a self-made man. His father, George Romney, started from nothing but eventually became the head of American Motors and the governor of Michigan. When he died, Mitt donated his entire inheritance to charity. (Obama, on the other hand, refuses to help his half-brother George Obama, who lives in poverty in a Nairobi slum. Barack Obama is only generous with other people’s money.)
Romney is more than a political opponent. He is a symbol of capitalism, the system Obama was raised to abhor. Even worse for Obama, Romney has selected as his running mate a man who can articulate what capitalism means. Romney represents capitalism, but Paul Ryan can explain it.
The words, “You didn’t build that” are far less dangerous for America than the attitude that prompted them. Romney and Ryan are making that known. Obama is not running against Romney-Ryan. He has been forced to run against America. That is why Obama is angry, and that is why he will lose.