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“The pool of hysterics” is my new home, according to an early reviewer of my column disputing President Obama’s assertion that entrepreneurs “didn’t do it” when it came to building businesses.
Want hysterics? From the left, try the riff on the notion that the tea party is a conspiracy created by Wall Street investment bankers. A young university teacher went on and on about this at a recent social gathering.
On the right, there are the nuts who give Libertarians a bad name. They start with dumping the Federal Reserve and demonstrate their pro-gun positions by strapping on a pistol and strutting around town, behavior I see as rude and arrogant, however legal.
Revisiting the topic is motivated by a falsehood in the President’s Roanoke speech, another look at the context of the famous single sentence and a brilliant “web video” from Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who seeks reelection against a lefty professor.
Brown’s video shows five presidents celebrating entrepreneurs as people who build America and create jobs. The video then shows President Obama’s remark. The presidents are John Kennedy of Massachusetts, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. See http://www.scottbrown.com/2012/07/brown-campaign-launches-new-web-video-....
By comparison, President Obama is diminished.
To mention the obvious, the Internet offers those who care to look masses of material ranging from the silly to the hysterical and beyond. The President has been well mocked. I’ll leave that task to the hysterics. Serious analysis is the mode here.
In situations such as this, apologists always appeal to context, “taken out of context” is the claim. Here, the surrounding four paragraphs of context help the President slightly and then hurt. The paragraphs are posted at capitolreportnm.blogspot.com.
Some claims exist that the President misspoke and/or that the context explains or justifies.
In the paragraph following, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” the President said, “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
As examples of things done together, he cited teaching (can you imagine a group leading a classroom), roads, bridges, fighting fires, going to the moon, paying for the GI Bill and that “government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
With the last claim, the President’s logic leapt the light fantastic.
The Internet’s origin is debated. “It was at the Xerox PARC Labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks,” Gordon Crovitz wrote July 23 in the Wall Street Journal. The next day slate.com technology columnist Farhad Manjoo responded that Crovitz was totally wrong on all counts.
Obama’s explicit, preposterous and impossible claim of private profit being the objective of the government research got no defense.
The mitigation by context argument fails. This was a 5,500-word speech. Such things are planned and reviewed. The President said what he said and not by accident.
About 600,000 New Mexicans have private — sector wage jobs. Another 110,000 business establishments including mine have no employees according to the legal definition. The private sector makes the profits and pays most of the wages that provide the taxes paying for the government activity.
My advice remains the same. If you think the private sector makes it happen, then find a like-minded federal level candidate in the state who is not yet elected and who has a chance of getting elected. Provide your time, money, and, in November, your vote.
In my view, there are two, Janice Arnold-Jones running for congress in the Albuquerque area and Heather Wilson running for senate.