July 24, 2012

Chronology of a Chastened Politician

Justin Katz

Here's President Obama, speaking in Roanoke, Virginia, on Friday, July 13:

I'm always struck by people who think, "Well, it must be because I was just so smart." There are a lot of smart people out there! "It must be because I worked harder than everybody else." Let me tell you something: There are a whole bunch of hard workin' people out there!

And here's President Obama, speaking in California, on Monday, July 23:
I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and the ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success. I always have and I always will. The ability for somebody who’s willing to work hard, put in their sweat and their sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that’s the nature of America.

Trying to combine the two statements into a coherent perspective leaves me tempted to suggest that the missing part of the first speech was that the whole bunch of smart, hard-working people who whom the president at first referred must have lacked drive and ingenuity.

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Do not try to make sense of Hussein. He is a pathetic, desperate failure lunging at windmills and......solar panels. He won't stop until he disables the country. If he gets a second shot he's got great plans for you and me. He wants more from those evil producers so he can distribute to the "disabled".


Posted by: ANTHONY at July 24, 2012 8:29 PM

A second term means a nothing-to-lose president. If you think he sucked as president during his first term, wait and see how much worse it can get.

Posted by: Max D at July 24, 2012 9:26 PM

Max D -

Yet another message to transmit to Vladimir. . . lot's more "flexibility" after the election on a variety of issues!

Posted by: brassband at July 25, 2012 6:07 AM

Plus add in the recent "Under Me" comment and this guy is finally coming clean. The training wheels are off for the wanna-be-tyrant.

Posted by: dave at July 25, 2012 7:27 AM

Justin, clearly hasn't even bothered to read the speech (hey, why that get in the way?)...

And what this reminded me of was that, at the heart of this country, its central idea is the idea that in this country, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, you can make it if you try. That you can find a job that supports a family and find a home you can make your own; that you won’t go bankrupt when you get sick. That maybe you can take a little vacation with your family once in a while -- nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love. Maybe see the country a little bit, maybe come down to Roanoke. That your kids can get a great education, and if they’re willing to work hard, then they can achieve things that you wouldn’t have even imagined achieving.

Let me get this straight, in the new political correctness of the fringe-right, the President is culpable for not saying that those hard workers who take responsibility for themselves are also smart. The outrage!

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 9:10 AM

Nice try, Russ. Take a closer look at the definition of "make it" in the paragraph that you quote: support family, own a home, not go bankrupt, a little "nothing fancy" vacation every now and then (unlike the Obamas' habitual luxuries).

That's clearly a different definition of success than that which he attacks in the speech as having nothing to do with being "smart" or "working harder."

Thank you for clarifying the President's vision for the American people, though! Work hard and rely on government, and you, too, can live a just-above-subsistence lifestyle; get lucky, too, and you become They.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 25, 2012 9:30 AM

Ah, I see. He wasn't deferential enough to the wealthiest business owners when praising hard work and resposibility, which is insensitive and hurts the feelings of conservatives like yourself. This new conservative PC movement is fascinating!

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 9:44 AM

Honestly, Russ, I'm unable to follow the twists and turns of what it is you're trying to make it seem like I'm saying, and I'm not that interested in doing so.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 25, 2012 9:57 AM

Every obama statement comes with a expiration date, sometimes even within hours.

Posted by: dave at July 25, 2012 11:36 AM

Russ is so confused even he doesn't understand his posts. Russ gets too busy trying to cover Husseins (like the mainstream media) tracks and finds himself in a maze. Russ give up...Hussein is taking the country down and you with it.

From a Ft. Worth TEA Party Member....you know the kind ABC said was responsible for Aurora,Columbine,Oklahoma City,Chernobyl,Japanese Tsunami,and Big Gulp drinks in NYC.

Posted by: ANTHONY at July 25, 2012 11:45 AM

"I'm unable to follow the twists and turns of what it is you're trying to make it seem like I'm saying..."

Now you know how the rest of the country feels about the twists and turns of this manufactured issue! That was one of my initial comments in fact, until I realized this is simply fringe-conservative political correctness.


The clear and obvious takeaway from the “you didn’t build that” controversy is that it’s another instance of a campaign seizing on its opponent’s mangled syntax to accuse him of believing something he clearly does not believe. There have been several of these episodes already — “you people” being the most recent — and there will undoubtedly be several more. To the extent that this latest gaffe debate reveals Something Larger, it’s the extraordinary hypersensivity surrounding the egos of the rich in our current political culture. The best analogy I can think of is the touchiness surrounding race and gender in the political microclimate of Ann Arbor (and other left-leaning academic environs) when I attended college in the earlier nineties...

The outrage is that Obama would, even in the course of hailing the contributions and achievements of the rich, introduce context that in some way minimizes them. Nobody actually disputes Obama’s claim that government contributes some measure toward the success of business owners. They concede it is true, even banally so. Conservatives, nonetheless, feel angry that he would verbalize it.

If you're not familiar with the "you people" controversy, it's actually pretty funny (and equally riduculous)...

Keep in mind, I think there's plenty of real issues with the Obama administration that you could be criticizing. I didn't even vote for the guy.

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 12:15 PM

"That's clearly a different definition of success than that which he attacks in the speech as having nothing to do with being 'smart' or 'working harder.'"

You're obviously intent on misrepresenting his remarks, or perhaps I'm correct that you never actually listened to the speech. Of course Obama never said anything of the sort, quite the contrary.

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

But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good emotional argument?

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 1:25 PM


It's not my fault the President's speech is incoherent. (Properly speaking, it's not his fault either, because he begins with the incoherent worldview that you and he share.)

Keep in mind, this is the same speech in which the president says, "We created a lot of millionaires." "We" being the federal government (and specifically Democrats).

I suppose you'd think it more fair to put that in the broader context, but as usual with this guy, that only makes it worse. "We" created millionaires by raising taxes? So, the government put the taxes into effect in shared services which produced more millionaires as if in some technocrat's formula?

"We created a lot of millionaires." "You didn't build that; somebody else made that happen."

I sympathize that Obama hasn't made it easy for liberals to keep the mask on.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 25, 2012 1:53 PM

"'We' created millionaires by raising taxes?"

And by balancing the budget according to Obama. No wonder you "conservatives" are so outraged! That's not my worldview (I didn't vote for Clinton either), but why let that get in the way of your emotional appeal?

More over, if you read the entire speech (which I'm sure pundits count on people not doing), Obama clearly uses "we" to mean the American people. It's pretty much the theme of the whole speech, which I'm sure you know.

And so, just as we came together in the last campaign -- not just Democrats, by the way, but Republicans and independents, because we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we’re Americans first...

We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.

He goes on and on about that point. In that part you're actually right. As a proud American I share that worldview.

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 3:10 PM

Maybe I am misreading. Clarify for me, Russ: When the President says, "We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts," does he mean American families have cut their own budgets by that much? And when he goes on to say that "a guy named Bill Clinton did it," does "Bill Clinton" mean "the American people"?

Why, then, when he talks about "rich people," does that become "they"?

It is crystal clear that Obama's "we" is the collection of people willing to sublimate themselves to government. "We came together in the last campaign," because "yes we can" means that we can give Obama power, as we did to "a guy named Bill Clinton," and HE can do wonderful things like create millionaires (mainly among his friends in the green industry).

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 25, 2012 3:25 PM

Look disagree with him if you like. It's clearly a stump speech before a sympathetic audience. Those folks would understand that by "we" the president meant regular, hard working, repsonsible Americans like themselves (even if you don't).

But denigrating those people as mindless followers (I'm guessing that's what you mean by those who "sublimate" themselves), won't win you many votes.

"Why, then, when he talks about 'rich people,' does that become 'they'?"

Kind of makes my point. If he were talking about himself and his administration "we" would be closer to the truth. As for the green indusrty, let's at least admit that the Obama administration's millionaire friends are at Goldman Sachs.

Posted by: Russ at July 25, 2012 3:45 PM

Trying to follow Russ's arguments from one post to the next always makes my head hurt ("He's a maniac, maniac on the floor..."), but on the topic of the speech itself:

When I first heard it, I was shocked that a President would think it's appropriate to make such statements, or at the very least, that he wouldn't be more concerned about how it would be received or (rightfully) used against him in the campaign. It shows astonishingly poor judgment. I don't understand how something like that even made it to the podium. It should have been reviewed and alarms should have gone off immediately. I hope a speechwriter or a staffer was fired for that one.

Posted by: Dan at July 25, 2012 3:55 PM
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