Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Say 'Oops!' and Get Out (The 'Romney Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead' Edition)

By now we all know about the "you didn't build that" gaffe that wasn't a gaffe. President Obama was referring to roads, bridges, schools and infrastructure already in place, when he said business had help along the way. But just so we're clear, he's the full statement.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. 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 hardworking people out there. (Applause.) 
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. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So the Romney campaign, and some would say rightfully so in the world of negative campaigning, decided not only to quote the President out of context to show that he was maligning and dismissing small business and individual achievement, they quickly produced a commercial to further illustrate their point.

And there you have it. A pretty good, effective ad. If only it were true. The whole premise is based on a heavily edited version of Obama's quotes over three paragraphs. But one thing the Romney camp missed was the possibility that the person they were lying to for use in an opportunistic ad can't be controlled once the cameras leave.

Neil Cavuto thought it would be a good idea to interview the "star" of the new ad, New "Live Free or Die" Hampshire small businessman Jack Gilchrist. Cavuto asked what he thought of the President's comments... and it seems that Gilchrist knew all of them, not just the one line soundbite. (2:30 mark)

Gilchrist: "Well, I mean, there's truth to what [President Obama] says, I mean, Helen Bresnehan, Ms. Bresnehan was my eleventh grade English teacher and she made an impression on me that will last with me for the rest of my life. I can't even tell you what but she just sticks with me. I think my dad and his parents, they're great generations, on their back we built the interstate highway systems, bridges and whatnot. But we all pay taxes every time we put gas in our tank which go to maintaining the roads and keeping up the bridges. I think the military maybe, I don't know if it was Al Gore I'm not sure which that created the internet for whatever purposes it was intended but we all get the benefit from it since then, so ya, there's been some help along the way."
Watching the full Cavuto interview with Gilchirst is a little disappointing and unfortunate because while he actually agrees with the President's premise, he still accepts Romney's wrongly contextualized interpretation. But hey, I know a lot of successful businessmen that aren't the brightest bulbs or worse yet, willfully choose to believe something other than the truth in order to fit their narrative. I don't know if Gilchrist is the former or the latter, but his "Al Gore internet" jibe sheds a little light, doesn't it?

Finally, not only does Gilchrist fundamentally agree with President Obama that without infrastructure in place that only a centralized entity like the government can create (albeit with tax funds) business ventures would be much harder if not next to impossible, someone else agrees with Obama as well. Mitt. Freakin'. Romney!

Romney: "We value teachers, firefighters, people that build roads... so you really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things."
They couldn't leave well enough alone. They kept hammering until they smashed their own thumb. Romney even tried it again with a Roxbury, Massachusetts businessman.
Company owner Brian Maloney, 69, agreed with Romney's assessment. "I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don't start and build businesses," Maloney said. "I started out with 500 bucks and worked with my hands to afford grad school at night. My wife supported me. Started a little body shop and was able to bring together people, one at a time." 
He added: "We don't need any more of government's help. We haven't had any. We've only had pain. It's overbearing. It's top-heavy." 
But in an interview with Boston-based reporter Jon Keller of WBZ-TV, Maloney acknowledged that his business received some government help. "The only way I was able to come here, because I had no money, was with an industrial revenue bond," Maloney said in the interview. Industrial revenue bonds are typically issued by local and state governments to attract new business to an area. They create low-interest loans for new development and startups.
That thumping sound you hear is my head banging against my desk. How many of these "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" morons are out there?! Mitt Romney wants to take advantage of every one of them. And it seems they're more than willing to oblige.


(Cross-posted at ABLC)

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