Obama's small business misfire
"If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. " Obama said that (yesterday I think.) Those words in that order.
This is why I didn't get too hotwired about Romney's presumed insensitivity to his NAACP audience last week This pair of sentences -- apparently off script (Obama must be feeling his oats this week) screams insensitivity to business people and entrepreneurs.
Like Romney's gaffe, this clunky rhetorical flourish re-enforces a bad recurring narrative for Obama: that Obama disdains business and does not understand it. More significantly, it gives Romney some room to do a bit of punching his way out of the Bain/Taxes corner -- using Obama's words (QUOTED ACCURATELY). It certainly gives Romney a better rhetorical weapon than he had before Obama laid this egg.
Unlike Romney's gaffe, Obama's comes at the expense of an audience he needs: small business men and women and the people who depend on small businesses for their livelihood.
Romney isn't going to need, or get, even a modicum of African-American support in any state he expects to win in November. As for Obama, if he fails to get a modicum of support from small business people and the communities that depend on them, he is going to lose a bunch of states between Ohio and Colorado.
Was this quote really taken out of context, as MSNBC and the knee jerk left are saying. No more so than "retroactive retirement" or any one of a couple clunkers from the NAACP speech. But, as our elementary grammar teachers taught us all, a sentence is A COMPLETE THOUGHT THAT CAN STAND ALONE. Obama gave Romney two of them right in a row... in today's communications that is a paragraph. Romney not only jumped on it, he jumped on it in the right way -- both politically and substantially.
I am of two minds about Obama's gaffe. On the one hand, he IS going to make them. And the harder he fights and the more carried away he gets, the more likely he is to do so. It may come as part of the price of seeing him really get enthusiastic about the fight he is in. And I fully support the hard knocks, aggressive approach I am seeing.
On the otherhand, as for "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." This is my N-word. This is my "slut." My parents, both children of unlettered immigrants who grew up during the Depression, owned and developed a successful small food service franchise and sent my brother and me to college on it. Did they have very good employees? Yes -- not one of whom depended on the restaurant for the majority of their livelihood; they were college students supported by their parents or adults supplementing their full time income with part time shifts at our place. Indeed, we could not have done it without them.
That doesn't mean my parents "didn't build that.? Is Obama the dumbest man to ever graduate from Harvard? My parents put every penny they had into the business, including "loans" from my brother's and my college funds and treasury bonds our grandparents had given us as birthday gifts along the way.
The restaurant was open 363 days a year, 11 AM - 10 PM (closed Xmas and Thanksgiving [it was a chicken delivery place, forerunner to KFC]). Someone with my last name mopped the floor twice every day for a decade (sometimes that person was in his/her 40s, sometimes that person was in his teens or younger). My parents worked every shift every day. My brother and I worked in it from the time we were in elementary school until we went away to college. Every dinner at home was a board of directors meeting. I do not believe my parents took a single vacation together during the 10 years they had the place. ("If your customers can live without you for a week, they can live without you forever" -- My dad, who knew more about business than every economics advisor on Obama's team combined.)
Obama's dumba$$ phrasing hurt me. My parents didn't "build that"? F you and the Limo you road in on, Sir. I was there. You weren't. My parents were lifelong Democrats; they knew they didn't make a success of it entirely ALONE. They got that. They understood the "village" concept. But they sure as hell BUILT it. "Somebody else made that happen." Umm. No. Not even Michelle Bachamnn is that stupid... Sir. Somebody else HELPED... even helped A LOT. But MY PARENTS made that happen.
This probably won't neutralize Bain and Romney's taxes, but it was a very very useful gift to Romney. I wish he hadn't done it... and certainly wish he hadn't insulted the dignity of my parents' life in the process.
There is a part of me that doesn't want anything to stop the momentum of the Romney/Bain story. Yet there is a small, but palpable, part of me that wants Romney and the GOP to kick Obama's a$$ oon this until he walks it back... about the length of a football field.