Mea Culpa: The Prez Really Did NOT Say This

27 Jul

Much has been made of Obama’s gaffe in claiming that people who own businesses did not build them.  And Republicans have made much hay with this statement.

 And I blogged that this statement was the most disgusting and embarrassing thing I had ever heard a U.S. president say.

And after hearing the statement at least 20 times, I still found it disgusting.  And then I made the mistake of listening to it a 21st time – and a 22nd – and a 23rd – and more.  Not wanting to hear what I now heard, but reasonably sure that I was now hearing was the intended message.  Obama did NOT say that business owners did not build their own businesses.

 The exact quote is (after saying that the great American system was not built by today’s business owners):

 “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business  –  –  – that  –  –  – you didn’t build that –  –  –  somebody else made that happen.”

 Then he went on to the example of the Internet being built by the government – this IS, of course, a false statement.  But, nevertheless, a continuation of expressing himself about how the infrastructure got into place that the business owners now successfully exploit.

 The point is, he really was discussing those elements of society and infrastructure that helped the business owner be successful.

 A smooth continuation of his statement would have been, referring to “roads and bridges”, “If you’ve got a business –  –  – that [meaning the roads and bridges] was already in place  –  –  –  somebody else made that [the roads and bridges] happen.”

 But, alas, he did not say it this way.  It can be argued that he was unconsciously getting the intended message mixed up with what he really believed.  And maybe so.  But he was NOT saying that business owners did not build their own businesses. 

 It also still remains that the business owners do, in fact, contribute taxes toward the building of  the roads and bridges.  It is certainly not the non-taxpaying 50% who pay for them – so who does he think does pay for them?  So even here, the Republicans could have hit him pretty hard.

 But, instead, they chose to exploit a misstated point.  We can argue that if it helps win Romney the White House, it is worth crossing that line.  But it does make us conservatives look just as dirty and unethical as the liberals.  And I don’t feel good about us right now.

 

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