July 21, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Mitt Romney’s ‘you didn’t build that’ moment
President Obama accurately explained in a recent speech (used out of context by the right for political gain) that the people who start businesses rely on the infrastructure that “We the People” have built. In a civil and democratic society, we collectively build the roads, bridges, schools and employ the teachers that make it possible for anyone with a dream to pursue it and start a business. Remove politics from the equation and you won’t find many who would disagree with this, but there are many who forget it when they say government is the problem, not the solution. This is not a zero sum game. The success of business, the economy and capitalism itself can be achieved through hard work in both the public and private sectors.
Excerpt of President Obama’s campaign speech in Virginia on July 13th:
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.
I added emphasis to that key line in Obama’s speech used by the right to attack the president for being against business. Watching the speech, the president clearly pauses before saying “you didn’t build that” because he was connecting it to everything he said before saying “If you’ve got a business.” The president was explaining that this “unbelievable American system” is what made it possible for you to build your business. You didn’t build the American system on your own, we all did it together. That is the context of Obama’s message, but Mitt Romney and the conservative media are using Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line over and over for one purpose: political gain. What is near certain is that most of the conservatives using this line out of context probably agree with the core message, and I’ll prove at least one of them does indeed agree, and his name is Mitt Romney.
First, let’s see how Mitt Romney chose to respond. Excerpt of Romney campaign speech in Pennsylvania on July 17th:
To say something like that is not just foolishness, it’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America, and it’s wrong.
Second, a Romney campaign ad:
So Mitt Romney has no problem butchering Obama’s speech to change the message from the idea of “we are all in this together” and instead “Obama is against business.” This isn’t just deceptive, it’s a flat-out lie.
If your blood isn’t boiling by now, it will be momentarily when you read the following excerpt from that same Mitt Romney speech in Pennsylvania on July 17th:
He [Obama] goes on to describe the people who deserve the credit, for building this business. And of course he describes people who we care very deeply about, who make a difference in our lives, our school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads. We need those things. We value school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads. You really couldn’t have a business if you didn’t have those things.
Go ahead, you can scream now!
This exemplifies the time wasted in politics arguing over issues for which we are all in agreement. And it’s done, not to benefit the country, but to benefit the politician.
This article was written as a compliment to a segment aired on Up with Chris Hayes on the July 21, 2012 on MSNBC.