What’s different about these two quotes?

Democratic President Barack Obama:

“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.

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

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney:

“There are a lot of people in government who help us and allow us to have an economy that works and allow entrepenuers and business leaders of various kinds to start businesses and create jobs. We all recognize that. That’s an important thing.


I know that you recognize that a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There’s no question your mom and dad. Your school teachers. The people that provide roads, the fire, and the police. A lot of people help.”

While many Republicans – including Mitt Romney – have attacked President Obama for his comments (while using an out-of-context snippet of the full comments), Mitt Romney hasn’t come under the same fire for his comments, which really express the same thoughts as President Obama.

Clearly Republicans are being overtaken by Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS), because any rational person understands that without help from the government – help that comes in the form of infrastructure, fire & police protection, laws and regulations governing criminal behavior and appropriate business practices, and an educated workforce (just to name a few) businesses large and small wouldn’t be able to thrive in our nation. The fact is, government has a role in our lives and our economy – and it’s an important role at that.


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2 thoughts on “What’s different about these two quotes?

  1. What Obama should mention, and Romney never would say, is that government itself is a huge job creator. Always has been. FDR’s jobs programs created 11,000,000 jobs which mostly ended the Great Depression. World War 2, with its massive expenditures, completed our recovery. We could take a big bite out of the unemployment figures today if the federal government restored subsidies to the states. Teachers, firefighters and police could be put back to work. Our infrastructure is dangerously deteriorating. Federal money to rebuild bridges, dams and highways would pump billions into the economy. If Walker had accepted the $850 million for high speed rail that would have created hundreds, if not thousands of jobs in Wisconsin. Don’t tell me that government doesn’t create jobs. That is just nonsense.

  2. Point well taken about the role of government. May I add that this recursive backtracking on Romney’s part should not be taken as an isolated incident. This kind of weak echo has been occurring for quite some time among Conservatives. We’ve seen it in the discourse on infrastructure and medicare. Mostly, however, we’ve seen it on the negative side where criticism from Obama or the Left is parroted by the right – out of touch elitism is one example, the war on women is another. It is an ugly phenomenon to be sure, but it is only a carrot and an empty one at that. There’s no truth or sincerity at all to Romney’s line. It is limpid subversion. Examine how weak, thin and without substance the construction of his argument is. It’s not a true critique or a meaningful synthesis of societal-economic structure in this country. Romney remains an Anti-Government Radical Extremist and a Hypocritical Elitist who favors wealth distribution policies that siphon gains earned by working people to “meritorious job creators” and corporate entities in the upper strata. What Romney really represents is a betrayal of everything that made America broadly prosperous and the envy of the world.

    The bottom line is Conservatism cannot stand on its own because the implications of its trajectory hinder American prosperity and prevent individuals from exercising the liberties of economic independence. This faux-support for the public sector will end very soon. Romney is merely paying lip service because he must, at the moment, deflect. Pay heed to the balancing end of that deflection: Conservative resurgence of Cold War rhetoric and fanning the fires of a new Red Scare. What that does is vilify government and the public sector in a distorted comparison. In so doing the private sector wrongfully reigns supreme and uncontested, unchallenged, and unregulated. It is a fraudulent narrative and deeply subversive because it upturns the reality of how the private sector is soaking the American public for quite literally everything average Americans are worth. Now is the time to fully critique the private sector and the “free” enterprise system.

    Contrary to Romney’s insistence that “free” enterprise should be regarded as the premiere engine that generates opportunity, advancement, and prosperity, “free” enterprise should be on trial because it isn’t working properly and it isn’t working for the majority of Americans. Now is the time to demand an active government that does what the Constitution intended it to do: Regulate, Tax, and Spend.

    Capital and growth do have an important place in our society, but when it is the dominant role the public is on the losing end. Unlimited growth and solely valuing profit cannot ever be sustained. We have thirty years of narrowing opportunity and steady decline to evidence this fundamental truth.

    Now is the time to demand that individuals be allowed to take control of their own lives by returning to the public the critical spheres of telecommunications and utilities, transportation and the natural resources that make possible a standard of living that is humane and sustainable.

    The private sector is not more efficient than the government in the provision of critical services because the private sector requires a return-on-investment transaction. The entire notion of capital transfer depends on charging more for a commodity than its invested worth. That is the only way to make a profit. There was a time in this country where public goal trumped private profit.

    Thomas Jefferson understood that notion; he understood that the vagaries inherent within the decentralized nature of the private sector were less reliable and not of benefit to the public interest. Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of public control of our societal foundations – of critical spheres of service which comprise societal infrastructure. He wrote about it in his letters where he lamented the irregularities and inefficiencies of the private sector and implemented legislation to remove American infrastructure from private enterprise and into the public sphere. Thomas Jefferson valued the goal of infrastructure provision over the goal of private profit.

    Need we be reminded that the Constitution was not written to serve for the advancement of “free” enterprise. Need we be reminded that the 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights is not a license for incorporated intrusion upon the lives of we the people:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    reserved to … Not the private sector.

    reserved to… Not the “free” market.

    Self governance cannot be realized, it is in fact obliterated, if the profits of the private sector are prioritized over the basic needs of the public at large.

    There is a difference between these two quotes. President Obama’s speech comes closest to the principle of self-governance embodied within a strong, preeminent public sector. Candidate Romney’s speech doesn’t reference the public sector at all, rather his speech subverts it. His is a lame attempt to articulate a notion of community and in his speech he conflates freedom with “free” enterprise. “Free” enterprise is not self-governance. He also identifies the success of Ford Motor Company to Henry Ford, Apple to Steve Jobs, Microsoft to Bill Gates and McDonald’s to Ray Crock. Romney attributes business success only to entrepreneurs and business leaders…. to only “job creators.” For Romney the sweat and toil of labor plays no part in a successful business. His is a crude, elitist, meritocratic view where self-governance is unattainable to those whose labor produced and continually sustained the marketable product.

    But the oddest and most disturbing part about this speech is where and how he localizes the meritorious “job creators.” He says this of entrepreneurs and business leaders: “Don’t forget, by the way, government doesn’t invent those people out of thin air. We pay for those people with our taxes. We pay for those resources we receive.” What he does here is conflate the entrepreneurial private sector with the foundational element that is the public sector. What this suggests, of course, is that it is entirely appropriate for our tax monies to be diverted to the private sector in the holy name of “job creation.” It’s a stunning and twisted logic which justifies the contorted inversion we have now: of privatizing monetary profit and socializing monetary loss. It is a perverted subversion of the public sector – whom the public sector was intended to serve and to whom the public sector actually refers.

    There is a grave difference between these two quotes. One is grounded in the realities of history and economic sanity. The other is the Conservative “free” enterprise fantasy world where we the people will continue to forever carry the weight of “free” enterprise upon our backs, where our taxes will continually pay for the mollification of “job creators” in order to induce them to create more jobs. The difference is the latter is a system where economic liberty can never be achieved by any other than those precious few “job creators.” The latter illustrates clearly the entitlement society consists of “job creators” and incorporated entities. The public interest and the public good are entirely eliminated in this scenario.

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