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July 5, 2015

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Line of Attack: Is it fair to use Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ line against him?

Editor’s note: Line of Attack is a feature that will run each week until the Nov. 6 election. In Line of Attack, we will parse a political attack, looking at the strategy behind it, how the campaign is delivering it and what facts support or refute it. We’ll assign it a rating on the fairness meter: Legit, Eye Roll, Guffaw, Laughable or Outrageous.

Attack: President Barack Obama said: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Method of delivery: Before the Romney campaign decided to put Obama’s flubbed line in a television commercial, the meme spread across the Internet like a hashtag-fueled wildfire. Romney supporters mocked Obama in sarcastic tweets, accusing him of giving the government credit for building everything from Steve Jobs’ Apple to Noah’s Ark.

Strategy: Obama’s misspoken line plays right into Romney’s central line of attack: that he doesn’t get the American dream of individuals building a prosperous life through individual initiative. It’s an easy mark to accuse Obama of always choosing government over the private sector, further alienating business owners and Main Street America.

Fairness Meter: This is a classic example of cherry-picking a speech for comments to wield as an out-of-context sword in a campaign ad. Yes, Obama flubbed the line, making the Romney campaign’s job much easier.

But here’s the full context of what Obama said: “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 allows 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.”

Obama went on to give credit to “individual initiative” but remarked that success happens “also because we do things together.”

Obama wasn’t talking about “somebody else” building the business. Somebody else built the infrastructure. This Line of Attack is laughable.

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  1. You miss the real point of the attack on Obama altogether, This guy has a motive for the things that he says. Instead you should ask "What was Obama really getting at with his words?" His tag line was "You didn't do it" referring to building the business. Obama was deflating the notion that someone like a Steve Jobs ot a Bill Gates or even Joe or Mary, the small business person, should be CREDITED as one of those rare and exceptional people who have built a business from the ground up with their hard work, sweat, ability and risk capital. Instead Obama as the purveyor and cheer leader of the "big govenment is king" crowd was intentionally diminishing the importance of the individual in this business building process. Now, he really believes this, it being the basis for his own success in life. This is the real slam on the president--he just does not appreciate the basics of bulding his success though the prcess of building a business, and the ingredients that go into making a business successful. It's a void in his life, and it's obvious.

  2. The last line is an apt summation...

    Laughable, indeed.

    Houston, once again...
    You ain't got JACK.

  3. Of course this "line of attack" is laughable.

    But, the facts will not stop some people from taking things out of context--or worse, twisting whatever is said--in furtherance of their own beliefs.

  4. It's 'Angle-like', this silly game...

    The Head-Nut @ TeaNut Central thought they really HAD something here...

    You got NUTTIN'!
    A handful of hot air.

    And, as was the case with the Crazy one...
    the voters don't buy this crap you peddle.
    It's a waste of your precious resources;

    "Obama wasn't talking about "somebody else" building the business. Somebody else built the infrastructure. This Line of Attack is laughable."

    Ha ha ha ha!!!

    Ms. Damon...
    Good call.
    RIght on 'da money.

  5. I heard ALL of what he said and only the small right-wing minds can't seem to understand it.

  6. The use of "Osama" Obama is disgusting and disrepectful, but what can we expect from people who twist the truth and flat out lie? Hard to believe this is coming from people who think of themselves as "real" Americans. Not my country. Oh, wait, you'll probably twist that around to say I'm not a real American either. There are lots of words for people like this, and none can be printed in the newspaper. Absolutely disgusting.

  7. Obama should have said, your business is successful because of you the owner and the employees you hired. Just like he is now President today and I'll bet his wife deserves some of the credit for him getting to be President. He should have further followed up with what FDR was doing which is telling business to please just hire "1" more employee! If business who could afford to do that actually did it, we would drop the unemployment back to below 5%. But now we have this debacle to deal with.

  8. Who built the most advanced military in the world? Not the private sector.

    Who landed on the moon? Not the private sector.

    Who designed the internet? Not the private sector.

    The private sector plays a very important role, but the key word here is 'role'. It is the synergy from the private/public relationship (capitalism) that makes our country great.

    Some may believe 'games' would be better without rules. The truth is 'games' flourish because of rules. The cheaters (Romney Tax evasion in offshore bank accounts) are the problem, not the rule makers (government).

    There is a reason Romney made his millions operating in the USA. Do you think he would have had the same success operating from the Cayman Islands where he parks his money? (lack of communications, lack of security, lack of infrastructure).

  9. The race baiting president finally found his true voice. Its not being laser focused on job creation. because he has no idea how jobs are created. No, the great divider has found he is best at being laser focused on making his followers believe that success is a bad idea.

    If you support success and tell people they can do better, than whats the purpose of being a liberal? Being successful means you are less dependent on Government, and in Obama's world, that's bad.

    More government, less success, that's HIS American dream and that of his followers.

  10. Mark Anthony wins the prize for the most obtuse comments so far. Given that Bill Gates is liberal and that everyone depends on the existence of law and government to get anywhere in life at all, Mr. Anthony is living in a fantasy land.

  11. Mr. Gordon,

    We have the most advanced military in the world because the Government paid for it but each and every weapon they have was created by the private sector.

    We landed on the moon in a ship built and designed by the private sector, paid for by the government.

    The Internet was designed by individuals and paid for by the government.

    You have never seen Mr. Romney's tax returns or books or done business with him yet you state as fact that he is a tax evader.

    Our tax laws are set up to be followed yet those same laws let people create less tax burden if they know how to follow them. I am not defending Mr. Romney but you are speaking of things you have no facts to back up.

    Yes, limited government is needed, more so today then ever before because to many Americans feel they are entitled to a good life without working for it. They feel they are entitled to the riches of others that have made something of their self.

    Deal in facts, not fairy tales.

  12. It appears that what is required is that we take the Presidents speeches and run them through some "liberal speak" translation software to tell us what he really is saying because words do not mean words.

    My parents used to tell me that everyone makes mistakes. They died long before Obama came onto the scene. According to his followers he can do no wrong not realizing that they are playing the mindless guilty dupes that the DNC is counting on.

  13. Vegaslee, Thank you for supporting my statement "The private sector plays a very important role, but the key word here is 'role'. It is the synergy from the private/public relationship (capitalism) that makes our country great."

    I never stated Romney did anything illegal, just stated the fact he evades taxes with his offshore accounts. Your statement of "Our tax laws are set up to be followed yet those same laws let people create less tax burden if they know how to follow them" shows you agree with me.

    People hide things because of the negative impact. Romney should follow his father's advice and release multiple years of tax returns proving he did nothing shady.

  14. @William Gordon
    You have to be a blind man to miss the obvious that it was and is the private sector who built the most technically advanced military in the world, and who mobilized and applied the technology to voyage to the moon. It was all private sector businesses, owned and populated by private citizens. The government is nothing more than a creation of the private sector, and invididual citizens for who the government as a collective focal point has been formed by the private citizens to support and serve them.

    You obviously miss the important point about government--it is created by the private sector, funded by the private sector and achieves its only succesess because of the private sector--- enterprises who support it as businesses who are built by private citizens.

    The problem is that We The People have been asleep at the wheel and allowed the "goverment" to get out of hand. That will end soon.

  15. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  16. @Mark Anthony 8:25 Great post!!

  17. @ Mike Heeman 9:36 great post also!

  18. Vegaslee@8:50 Another great post.

    Seems that the Left is missing their points today!

  19. It would be impossible for an individual to capitalize on his/her invention if not for patent laws.

    It would be impossible for efficient billing and collecting without the US Postal Service (prior to the internet)

    If not for clean water, clean air, and a multitude of other environment laws, we would be living like the Chinese with their polluted air and water.

    Workplace safety would be non-existent without government. Compare our mining deaths with China.

    Transportation, communications, energy, all are where they are because of government. Every business benefits from the infrastructure.

    We all got a taste of finance deregulation that ended with Bush's Depression.

    A vote for Romeny is a vote to go backwards to where Bush left off...destroying the American Dream where anyone has a shot at success, not just the privileged.

  20. The logic used by some is mind boggling. It would be akin to me saying Steve Jobs did not build Apple, he simply financed the construction of huge factories in asia employing 3 million Asians. Those asians are the actual builders, Jobs just pays the bills. Right???

  21. @William Gordon 10:13

    William, you sound like the annointed one. Obviously a hopeless collectivist mentality.
    You are standing still sorry to say. You will be overtaken by the blinding speed of the private initiatives that are swarming all around you.
    One of these days you must try to move on. After all what have you to lose ?

  22. William Gordon

    Read this Economist article to see what private American enterprisers are doing without the aid of the government Obamists--if you like.

  23. Wow...

    The TeaNut's are off the rails; AGAIN!!!

    Try it!

  24. No rebuttal needed for Houstonjac and RedRocky. Any common sense person sees the failure in their arguments and propaganda. I actually think their comments drive the 80% in the middle to Obama. So thank you for repeating the failed 'talking point' dished to you from the right-wing extremists, it helps elect Obama. Keep it up. I love the name-calling, it's very telling of your character.

    Houstonjac, your article, minus the intro of propaganda, shows the successes of Obama's policies. Thank you.

  25. Obama wasn't talking about "somebody else" building the business. Somebody else built the infrastructure that helps and aids businesses sell and transport their goods. You know roads, dams, bridges.... et all. This Line of Attack is laughable.

  26. It is clear what the President meant in his speech. The content is clear.

    Houstonjac, is reaching, and reaching badly. Sounding unreasonable. You cannot have a discussion if your argument is unreasonable.

  27. There are interesting points about this "discussion":

    1. It takes place in a newspaper in a town that exists thanks to government policies and government investment that private enterprises took advantage of. A. Judge Clark's railway was subsidized by federal land grants. B. The water which makes possible a permanent population larger than about 5,000 persons is of course the result of a federal irrigation and power project -- Hoover Dam. C. The discussion takes place on the internet, using technologies sponsored by the federal government.

    2. Downtown Las Vegas is being revitalized by Zappos, an internet business. The casino industry by be benefited by the legalization of internet poker and other games.

    3. The low taxes the area enjoys are funded by tourists who: A. Arrive by publicly subsidized means of transport (roads, airports, and air traffic control); B. Use publicly furnished water supplies; and C. Eat food which is largely the result of irrigated agriculture sustained by public dams and waterworks, and transported here by air and road -- both publicly subsidized.

    And, yet, somehow, this governmental activity enabled, and apparently did not inhibit, private enterprises from becoming successful.

  28. Longtimevegan--what we have here is a failure to agree on what the annointed one actually meant. He clearly is a collectivist/socialist, as you appear to be, and talking about a streatch in interpretation, you have got to see what he was attempting to do is diminish the importance of the private individual, and magnify the power of other intervening events in deciding some individual's success. If he was not, which , he clearly was, then of course you and I would not be talking right now.What is amusing to me is that for someone sticking up for Obama's slanted speech, you seem not to be in agreement with the conclusion I reached, while defending Obama. Do you give credit to the private initiative in the success equation, or to the intervening influences that were involved, such as government infrastructure or a "good friend" LOL.

  29. William Gordon:

    See if this puts it into perspective for you. The article essentially states that Obama has nothing to do with the success of the US. Read this and see if it helps clear out the confusion in your mind:

    The fact is that people create jobs--not the government. What is government? Indidividual members of society create government entities to furnish the services and infrastructure that we as individuals require to function. Without the individual, government ceases to be. The thought that somehow, government is distinct from the individual is myth. Without the taxes. the government disappears. And who actually builds all these great monuments to progress if not the essential businesses who have been created by individuals based on their initiative, hard work, sweat and risk capital. These are the ones who do the real building--countless businesses acting as contractors in the process.

  30. George Matthews

    Your logic is foggy.

    Was it the individual or the government who created the job?

  31. Bob Jack, I'll refer you back to my first comment, maybe it puts it into perspective for you..."The private sector plays a very important role, but the key word here is 'role'. It is the synergy from the private/public relationship (capitalism) that makes our country great."

    "The fact is that people create jobs--not the government." So all the Republican whining about defense contractor job losses if the mandatory spending cuts go through, are full of it. Romney pledging to shut down the Department of Education and Housing and Urban Development will create no job losses, Am I correct in your logic?

    Do you believe defense contractors simply present ideas or do they fill the orders from the minds at the Pentagon? When the Pentagon decided it needed better communications for a competitive advantage, the minds at the government agency DARPA developed the internet in the 1950's. Republicans fought Clinton's promise to open 'the information superhighway (the internet)' to the public, thankfully Clinton won that argument and the economy received a huge economic impact.

    Bob, you'll never win the argument that the government plays no role in private business. But keep trying, it is very entertaining.

  32. William Gordon:

    This entire subject revolves about who creates businesses. The president believes that government infrastructure and a good friend are responsible.
    I say it is the individual. Take Bill Gates for example. He had infrastucture--his garage.Anything could have been done with that garage--it could have been empty. It could have been a meth lab. Who made the difference? I submit it was Bill Gates--the individual who made the difference.What say you?

  33. It's unfortunate that political campaigns have devolved into engines of division; their purpose is to put voters into "for" or "against" categories. One of the greatest strengths of a free society is grounded in the freedom of speech. Professional political operatives, which all major candidates are guilty of hiring, have corrupted this freedom into a weapon. The hero of the day could be the free press, but their voice needs to be much louder than the occasional editorial (although I do applaud this one)pointing out the flawed claims and inaccurate portrayals made my the candidates.

  34. I say the liberal Bill Gates benefited from copyright and intellectual property laws. One of Bill Gates biggest complaints is the rampant infringement by the Chinese costing his company billions.

    I say Bill Gates benefitted from a public education, flushing toilet, electricity, roads, mail service, and property laws and on and on.

  35. I'm surprised we haven't seen ads using Obama's words from barely two months into his term on March 26, 2009. He was talking about jobs that had been out-sourced when he said this:

    "So I guess the answer to the question is, not all of these jobs are going to come back. And it probably wouldn't be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back..." -

    He has clearly believes that since he (and to be fair, Congress) has done nothing to bring them back.

    The current statement being discussed is not out-of-line with that earlier one. The US population should depend upon the government to take care of them and not do it for themselves.

  36. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  37. I can't resist, does President Obama place Nobel Prize winners in the same category as those who build business? That is, would he say that they should receive those awards because their work would not be possible without everything that has gone before and all the infrastructure required to produce their work?

    I will agree that Obama's remark contains some valid observations, but I think his emphasis is misplaced.

  38. Oops! Make that "...would he say that they should NOT receive those awards ..."

  39. jwlasvegas I really like the post.
    For once I will agree this is NOT Obama's fault or rather it should be such a surprise he made a statement like that.. He has never run a small business and has no idea what it entails, so it should not be expected he could talk coherently about starting and running one.
    Infrastructure was built to encourage commerce, duh! If you really want to think who built the railroads that provided links across the country? Government or private companies? That was also to get commerce, again, the staple of any country as it puts people to work and creates economic activity. We could have Obama say the same speech expect insert "union member" for "successful" and it has the same effect.

  40. Re RedRocky. Why don't you change your user name to GOP water carrier? It's just the same ol' same ol' with you right wing sycophants isn't it? Lot's of BS rhetoric, and the same crap I've been reading here for years. LMFAO, bagger.

  41. William Gordon

    Your case keeps getting weaker. You have a flushing toilet too just like Bill Gates. But you did not use your life, capital and sweat to create Microsoft, and neither did the annointed one,who also had a flushing toilet and mail delivery. Who stands out in this picture? You , or Gates?

  42. Bob,
    How many people worked with Bill Gates creating "his" product?

  43. Mark

    Read it below:
    "Paul Allen and Bill Gates, childhood friends with a passion in computer programming, were seeking to make a successful business utilizing their shared skills. The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics featured Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems's (MITS) Altair 8800 microcomputer. Allen noticed that they could program a BASIC interpreter for the device; after a call from Gates claiming to have a working interpreter, MITS requested a demonstration. Since they didn't actually have one, Allen worked on a simulator for the Altair while Gates developed the interpreter. Although they developed the interpreter on a simulator and not the actual device, the interpreter worked flawlessly when they demonstrated the interpreter to MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 1975; MITS agreed to distribute it, marketing it as Altair BASIC.[5]:108, 112--114 They officially established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO.[7] Allen came up with the original name of "Micro-Soft," as recounted in a 1995 Fortune magazine article. In August 1977 the company formed an agreement with ASCII Magazine in Japan, resulting in its first international office, "ASCII Microsoft".[8] The company moved to a new home in Bellevue, Washington in January 1979.[7]"

  44. There are a number of less than flattering rumors about how Bill Gates came up with MS-DOS that might suggest that his generosity today comes from a sense of guilt. Those rumors are about the only thing that would support those who say he couldn't do it on his own.

  45. Bob Jack, You have hit new lows in civility, I'm sure nobody is interested in my contributions to society.

    While we are on the topic of great businessmen; tell me what product did Romney invent that made him 100's of millions of dollars? Please explain to me how Romney made millions with no products, no creative invention or idea. Don't give some bull of he invested capital, all the evidence shows he did just the opposite, he sucked capital from otherwise healthy companies...putting them on a path to bankruptcy...and parking his ill-gotten gains offshore to avoid taxes. Doesn't sound like a job creator, more like an American job destroyer.

  46. William Gordon

    It's wrong to diminish the contributions of our great innovators and risk takers who have built this nation by attributing their feats to flushing toilets as you did. Now to Mitt Romney.

    President Obama and you demonstrate your lack of understanding of American capitalism when you criticize Mitt Romney for his role as Bain Capital's chief.

    Bain is a private equity firm that for many years has invested in companies that are usually considered by Bain to be undervalued. It then blends the talents of its own management team with those of the acquired entity, restructuring and adding new talent.

    Bain undertakes a long-term commitment to these entities with the objective of improving performance, increasing their value and ultimately selling them for a profit.

    Under our capitalist system, Bain and Romney both participate in a virtuous activity.

  47. Obama is a joke who doesn't care about people who work hard and deserve to reap the fruits of their labors. Instead, he's rather take care of the bums that didn't pay attention in school and instead want to live off of everyone else who's successful. It's pure socialism and a joke.


  48. TomD1228,

    You are right, there are many, too many, people who through no fault of their own are suffering and need an advocate.

    What you have not stated, or possibly don't want to admit, is that there are many, again too many, people who choose to take advantage of those who would be advocates for those in need.

    The people who choose to take advantage of others are no different than pimps or drug dealers.

    The reason that President Obama, and other Democrats, might lose in November is that there are many, hopefully enough, people who want to help those who are truly in need but have no desire to see our valuable and limited resources wasted on those who are nothing but scam artists who do nothing and have no desire to improve human society or the human race.

  49. TomD1228,

    It would seem like we have some common ground in that I freely admit that there are people who have been screwed by circumstances beyond their control and you admit that there are deadbeats such as welfare moms.

    The problem we face is how to tell the difference between them, and what we do, and more importantly, don't do about it.

    You say to get something done, so do I.

    It starts by finding ways to get people like us who will see *both* problems elected, from either party, instead of the partisan tools that we have been presented with.

    With regard to the problem of healthcare, I submit that it will be impossible to arrive at a real solution as long as the people we elect put ideology ahead of reality, no matter what party they belong to. What is needed is to get people who will adopt rational, practical solutions in place and then debate the question of healthcare as being part of the infrastructure instead of both sides seeing it as an entitlement.

    Find a new way of looking at the problem and maybe, just maybe, our leaders might see a solution.

  50. I'm not optimistic at all. In fact, I am more committed than ever to vote "None of the above" this year after hearing the remark in question made by President Obama.

    Something that would help a lot, in my opinion, is if we can ever break the two and only two party mentality that we have today. I think we would see a lot more compromise in Congress if no single party had a clear majority. Get members from the Libertarians, Greens and Whigs in there to help sway the discussions.

    That would be a Congress that more truly represents the American people.

  51. With any luck we won't have to deal with BHO after November.

  52. Bob,
    Who built that Altair simulator? How wealthy was Bill Gates father and how did that help? How many people did it take to provide the electrical and other infrastructure that was like the air we breathe but crucial for anyone's success? How did Bill Gates learn programming? When he attended Harvard was it? Who wrote this?
    "If I have seen further than other men it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants"

  53. With any luck "we" won't have to deal with Tom Allison after November.

  54. By the way Bob,
    Did you notice how Bill lied about having an interpreter up front when he and his partner didn't have any such thing? Do you condone lying by business people in pursuit of profit?

  55. Also,
    Bob has, albeit unwittingly, shown that Bill Gates DIDN'T do it on his own. In fact, he couldn't have done it without the infrastructure and partner he had.

  56. MORE than fair. Every politician is required to have some sense of priorities and than seems to be exactly what is lacking now. We must prioritize the American way of life, not the illegals, not the dependent whiners, not every other country that has "needs", but the workers, the taxpayers, the self-reliant, and those who were but are now senior or retired and rely upon the infrastructure they paid for but haven't received--Medicare, SS, senior "discounts" for Americans. Instead, all the "slack" has been usurped and handed to illegals, dependent whiners, foreign aide.

  57. I think the primary topic of this article was lost in the discussion. The question of is it fair to use these words against him? The answer is yes, as long as the complete statement is used. You can't take a three sentence statement and use only the middle sentence without using the descriptive sentences to keep it in context. I have a problem with anyone who uses incomplete statements, and wordsmith's that change such statement's for their Political gain.
    As for the discussion, The Private sector needed the Gov. and the Gov needed the Private sector. A good example of this is Package delivery. Until the 1950's the Post Office was pretty much the sole deliverer of Packages. Then the PO said this is too expensive and UPS was created from a small company to what it is now. Also, Express mail was created by the PO and FedEx expanded it and refined it, into the business it is now.
    We need both in proper size and context.

  58. I want to know if it was fair to inflict that horrible rendition of "America the Beautiful" upon us for the next 4 months.

  59. bimmerdude,

    Here is the full context of the remark, including the preface to it that most have been omitting, and what I think is the real meat of the complaint:

    "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 first paragraph makes it abundantly clear that the President was denigrating people who took pride in what they have accomplished.

    And the final sentence is just laughable. Yes, the Internet research was funded by DARPA, but I can assure it was not done with an intent for future commercial use. In fact, many of us who used the Internet in the early days fought very hard for years and years to prohibit or greatly restrict commercial activity on the Internet other than necessary communications between participants, especially in usenet. (Remember the green card lottery?) It was the creation of the World Wide Web that turned the Internet into a full-blown commercial arena.

    I think it is legit to go after the President on this comment in so much that I feel he has placed too much emphasis on "infrastructure" (which can be seen as a "tool" in its broadest sense) while forgetting that any tool is only as good as the person putting it to use.

  60. bimmerdude,

    Like you, I am neither right or left. I was not looking for "evil" in what he said, but just calling it like I see it.

    I come at this from a somewhat different angle having done the programming that put tens of millions of dollars in my boss' pocket as well as helping my brother start a computer store. I have always played the supporting role (though I do independent contracting on occasion.)

    My main point is that infrastructure should be seen as a tool that needs to be used by someone in order to have value.

    So far as the political debate goes, I am going to vote for "None of the above" in November unless someone invents a machine to establish and maintain a wormhole that allows for a human to traverse through time and survive first.

  61. Jeff,

    I think that since I am a Whig I can refute at least part of your statement since I know what a wormhole is and the likelyhood that my conditions will be met.

    Besides, scientific fact honors no politics (regardless of what those on either side of the global warming debate say.) :)

  62. Mark

    You said:"Also,
    Bob has, albeit unwittingly, shown that Bill Gates DIDN'T do it on his own. In fact, he couldn't have done it without the infrastructure and partner he had."

    It is the INDIVIDUAL achievement that must be credited--In this case Allen (an individual)and Gates (an individual) who deserve the credit for the birth of a major business--the infrastructure is indifferent--it's there no matter what. You get it Mark--it just rubs your collectivist mentality rhe wrong way.

  63. Houstonjac,

    Bravo!! BRAVO!!

  64. How many American financiers did it take to build the Cayman Islands? How many wealthy financiers did it take to pay for the Republican Primaries? Let me know what you discover (hint: it's less than 100).

  65. I think I've seen it all now; a neocon wearing a whig. My have you changed Jim, used to think you had a grip on reality, what happened? (just teasing ;-)

    I'll enjoy the next 4 months debating, I've been working on my library, just need my old nemesis Patrick Gibbons to join back, he at least brings 'reality' to the table.

    Bob Jack, please explain "the infrastructure is indifferent--it's there no matter what". You worked at a major engineering firm that specializes in designing public infrastructure, that's just astounding.

  66. William,

    I doubt that anyone would ever call me a neo-con. :)

    The left says I am too much to the right on finances, the right says I am far too much of a bleeding heart who doesn't pray, and the Libertarian Party can't stand how I say a free education is the right of every American along with roads, police and fire protection.

    That leaves only the Whigs for me. :)

    Here, take a look:

  67. Jeff,

    I would think that you would be open to the idea of infrastructure being seen as a tool waiting to be used (and even more so to the idea that healthcare should be discussed a form of infrastructure.)

    I feel it is perfectly fair to call out the President on his remarks that are the subject of this ad for the reasons I have given. At the same time, I have also said that there is some validity to Obama's remarks in as much as infrastructure does make progress possible in almost every case.

    There *is* a middle ground on this. But President Obama and Governor Romney seem to have little desire stand on it or have their supporters find it.

  68. "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Anyone want to take a stab at who said that? No one accomplishes anything without the help of others. From our earliest days with family, to school, and well beyond we are always dependent on others. Name one person born, abandoned, and left alone that flourished. You can't because they all died.

  69. Mark,

    No rational person will deny the truth of that quote. That said, no rational person will deny that those who go beyond what the giants saw deserve credit for what they have seen.

    The past is but a tool waiting to be used by those who want the future.

  70. Boftx--Point well stated!!

  71. William Gordon

    We are focusing on the individuals who had the courage and applied the effort and risk capital and sweat, drive an ingenuity to create the business at present. In my example that was Ralph Parsons, and his successor Bill Leonhard who were the individauls who created Parsons so that it could engineer and build the infrasructures for society. It is necessary to distinguish betwwen the individual who creates the business, and the product of that business.The collectivist mentality is incapable of that feat--making that distinction. It is contrary to their mind set--so you can be excused for that. I understand your mentality on that point. That is exactly the problem that Obama has--he is a collectist, and cannot separate the individual and his or her contributions from the surrounding environment, and it is a waste of time to attempt to explain it--to him or you. You either get it or you refuse to see it.

  72. The point is that no one does it on their own. We all owe others a debt and humanity is a group effort.

  73. boftx: "Here is the full context of the remark, including the preface to it that most have been omitting, and what I think is the real meat of the complaint"

    Full context, not quite, why did you leave off the very next line that defeats your argument:

    "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 we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the GI Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. 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." also did a very good analysis here

  74. And even Romney himself agrees when he stated in response to Obama's comments on July 17, 2012:

    Mitt Romney: "And, of course, he describes people who we care very deeply about, who make a difference in our lives: our school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads. We need those things. We value school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads. You really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things."

  75. Forgot the link for Romney's comment here

  76. Someone else .... is almost as logical as the violent tax protestors claiming they pay the salary of government employees so they are the boss. Think again, if you don't pay taxes, you are NOT supporting the system. OK if you miss a year or two during extended unemployment but not OK if you are forever receiving social welfare benefits whether or not you clock some time as an employee. But then, one could conclude that the incumbent is disinterested in sustaining the American way of life but sure would like to be re-elected and at the helm...... So it seems likely that should he be re-elected things WILL CHANGE--to more and more taxes for the middle and working classes, for fewer and fewer considerations for the employed and more and more freebies for the whining dependents. They've all but bought billboards saying "ONE more year and then we're gonna HIKE EVERYTHING. Just wait until the election and then we'll gear up."