Friday, July 20, 2012

We understood the context just fine

The dutiful left has come out of the woodwork to claim President Obama's famous "You didn't build that" remark I recently wrote about is being distorted, and his true message was about the need for government programs and infrastructure to exist.

Good grief, what a bunch of naive wishful thinking.

I quoted it in full context to make my point and came away with the same conclusion. He said that the government has given some amount of help to the people who build wealth, therefor they deserve no praise or credit for anything they created. Those things were a community effort and could have been created by anyone, and it's really the government who deserves credit.

Last month when he famously said the private sector is doing just fine, I chose not to write about it because it was such an obvious mistake. His supporters and staff said it wasn't something he meant, and I didn't feel it revealed any insight into his thought process. A lot of people went after him on it and they were wrong for it.

But this is different. This time President Obama and his supporters won't admit he said something stupid off the cuff. Instead, it's people like me who are at fault for misinterpreting his clear, straightforward message.

The noble thing for the president to do is take it back and say it came out wrong when he said it. I'm not asking him to crawl on his knees, just fess up and move on. But for some reason, he'd rather blame people like me for his folly.

Give it up people. The president said something stupid, don't blame us.


  1. You've got to be kidding me. He said that somewhere along the line we've all gotten help from someone. He then named one specific group of people who have helped every single person: teachers. Next, he pointed to the fact that there is a lot of infrastructure that has been built by the government rather than any business. Finally, he said that we have experienced success because of our own individual initiative, but *also* because we do things together.

    So, to summarize for you:

    1. We've all received help from others. One example is when we are able to point to a great teacher in our individual lives.

    2. The government has built and maintained most of the road and bridge infrastructure in the U.S. (He also mentioned the creation of the Internet.)

    3. He said that we succeed because of our own initiative operating in concert with the fact that we work together as a country.

    So, to put it into real terms:

    The government, not businesses, created the Interstate and built most of the bridges in the U.S. It was government research that created the Internet. If you use roads, well, good for you, but you did not build them. If you maintain a blog, that's great, but neither you nor Blogspot created the Internet.

    So when are you going to do the noble thing and take back what you have said here?

  2. Oh, I almost forgot. You have this gem:

    "I quoted it in full context to make my point and came away with the same conclusion. He said that the government has given some amount of help to the people who build wealth, therefor they deserve no praise or credit for anything they created."

    What about this line that not only gives a different conclusion with the preceding phrase, "The point is", but also gives praise to individuals?

    "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

    What is your definition of "full context"?

  3. So what you are saying is all of these things that government has built and maintained were built with money and such that the government magicked into existence. Because if it was tax money, value taxed away but created by private producers and their private success, then its really business that gets the credit for government, at least funding all of it.

    So, I'm confused, because unless you are professing to believe in magic, I see no logic in what you are saying.

    If not magic, perhaps unicorn dust or the unicorn farts Obama has promised to power our country using.

  4. What he said was that K-Mart did not build Western Avenue. Nor did Shaw's. The same goes for Hannaford and Margarita's. However, they have all benefited from the collective effort that made those roads happen. Yes, that collective effort was funded by tax dollars - dollars that were largely generated by private businesses - but no one ever said any different.

    The problem here is that he said "You didn't build that" where "that" referred to "that stuff I just mentioned in the past two or three sentences". Had he said "You didn't build those", it wouldn't be as easy to distort the fact that he was referring to the roads and bridges that composed half his paragraph.

  5. But the real question here, When is Michael Hartwell going to either 1) retract his false statement that he quoted the President in full context or 2) finally put up all the relevant portions of the speech?

    (I recommend you go with number 1 since that wouldn't require you to re-write the entire post, what with it having been entirely undermined, Michael.)

  6. Wait, you're pretending he was talking about the bridges? This is pretty amusing, please continue.

  7. "Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that."

    ~President Obama

    Even you included those two lines in your quote-mine.

    But here we have yet another case of your reading disability. I did not say he was talking about bridges as you suggest*. You see, the point is (you should pay attention to what is about to follow), he was talking about government-initiated infrastructure and publicly funded works. Bridges, as I'm not so sure you know, generally fall under those categories.

    *"As you suggest" is key here. You should think about that before you go about quoting me on roads and bridges. However, I am always happy to analyze simple English for you.

  8. (insert lecture on public goods)