During a campaign stop last week in Virginia, President Obama spoke about how Americans are assisted or inspired by others on their journey to succeed. Or, if you follow the conservative media, the President simply said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
Conservative news pounced on this sound byte like Lindsay Lohan to the bar at last call. GOP groupie site The Gateway Pundit provided a video source of the event, shedding more detail and context on what was actually said by the president.
Whoops – no, they didn’t. What is frighteningly displayed on the talk backs on many of these sites is that people actually believe this presentation of Friday’s speech.
I’ve seen multiple links to this ridiculousness show up in my feed on social sites such as Facebook more than once today when I could have been watching YouTube clips of cats playing the keyboard.
What the president said in context:
“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.
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.”
Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren made similar comments last year.
This is far from the first time the President has been quoted out of context. One of the more memorable twists came last November.
We get what Bizarro World interpreted the speech as, but here’s what the president actually said:
“But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”
At no point did the president refer to American citizens as ‘lazy.’ Obama is very clearly speaking about the government’s lack of initiative to sell foreign investment in the United States.
Common sense did not prevent Mitt Romney from tackling this as if it were a dog trying get off the roof of a car, saying:
“Sometimes, I just don’t think that President Obama understands America. I say that because this week — or was it last week? — he said that Americans are lazy. I don’t think that describes America. Before that, I think it was in October, he was saying we have lost our inventiveness, and our ambition. Before that he was saying other disparaging things about Americans. I just don’t think he understands — he was saying we just weren’t working hard enough. I don’t think he gets what’s happening in this country.”
Fox News misrepresents the President (or as Sean Hannity calls him, “The Anointed One”) so often you would be better informed by TMZ.
Let’s step over to the other side of the fence, because RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said something about Obama destroying “our way of life in America” last Sunday. That can’t be right, can it?
During an interview on Fox News (Seriously, who saw that coming?), Priebus said:
“The fact is that it’s not a question of can Mitt Romney win, the question is – the statement is Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom.
And we have to put an end to this Barack Obama presidency before it puts an end to our way of life in America.”
Priebus is unclear how or exactly what parts of “our way of life” are coming to an end. Perhaps he is referring to:
- Supporting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage
- Insuring women are paid less than their male counterparts by not supporting Fair Pay legislation
- Restricting access for citizens to female contraceptives
- Defunding Planned Parenthood, limiting access to screenings and healthcare for millions
Wait, those are all Republican policies. I think Priebus needs to take a look at his own party’s views against women’s health and equality before making such a statement in the future.
In April Florida Republican Representative Allen West claimed:
“I believe there is about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”
Was this a misunderstanding? Clearly no sane individual without substantial evidence would make such a claim. Thankfully, West’s campaign manager, Tim Edson, further explained West’s outlandish comment: “He stands by the comment.”
West is an Easter basket of crazy. When speaking to the Christian women’s group Women Impacting the Nation, West blamed the nation’s debt on Planned Parenthood, Code Pink (a women led anti-war group) and feminists (or whoever it is West believes that neuters “American men”).
Do you notice how the modern-day Republican Party has to take Obama’s words out of context to appear insane when the GOP actually IS insane?
We are seeing an unprecedented amount of misinformation being spread through out the election season. Issues that have long been settled, such as contraception or the science of evolution and global warming, are now fair game again among the modern-day Republican Party.
What is truly disturbing is that nobody within the GOP is correcting them. Jon Huntsman was ignored by fellow Republicans for expressing his consensus with scientists on evolution and global warming while as recently as last week RNC Chairman Priebus continued to praise West as “one of the most dynamic new Republican stars in our party.”
This November you are going to have to bring common sense to the voting booth, because the GOP sure as hell isn’t going to.