Worshipping the Idol of Government:The political class does, Americans don’t
Obama’s America – and Ours
by Patrick J. Buchanan
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Mitt Romney fell on this Obama quote like an NFL lineman on an end zone fumble during the Super Bowl. And understandably so.
For this was no gaffe, said Romney, this is what Obama believes. This is straight out of the catechism. Obama thinks that had not the government created the preconditions, none of us could succeed. We all depend on government. None of us can make it on our own.
Had Obama been channeling Isaac Newton – “If I have seen further than others it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants” – or John Donne – “No man is an island, entire of itself” – many would have nodded in agreement.
But what Obama seemed to be saying – indeed, was saying – was that, without government, no business can succeed.
Realizing that statement rubs against a deeply ingrained American belief – that the people built the nation – Obama and his acolytes are charging that Romney ripped his words out of context.
Here is Obama’s full quote:
“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 it happen.”
Even with this preamble, Romney seems to have it right. Obama sees government as indispensable. Without the roads and bridges that government builds, without the teachers government provides, no one succeeds. It takes a village.
Yet Obama’s narrative does not tell us why some succeed and others fail. Does Obama understand America? For he surely does not seem to understand her history as once taught to every schoolchild.