“Do you think not getting caught in a lie is the same as telling the truth?…”—Robert Redford, “Three Days of the Condor” (1975)
In the long, undistinguished annals of big-time gaffes in American politics, Barack Hussein Obama’s recent shot at small businesspeople ranks near the top. Indeed, this astonishing verbal blunder has taken on a life of its own.
As a result, three weeks after the president’s ill-advised comments during a July 13 campaign speech in Roanoke, Va., much of America is still talking about his unseemly words. And they are still hard to believe. To wit:
“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.” Ugh!
What’s the best way to describe what Obama said? Here’s what some pundits are calling it: “botch,” “blunder,” “bungle,” “delusional,” “faux pas,” “fumble,” “gaffe,” “goof,” “loopy,” “misstep,” “stumble” and, quite simply, that he put his foot in his mouth big-time.
In effect, Obama dissed America’s business community in general, and small businesspeople in particular. It’s unconscionable that a president of the United States would do this. His words were stunning and simply unbelievable. And they continue to resonate.
What could Obama have been thinking? Some have speculated that it was due to “going off teleprompter”—that is, speaking off the cuff without reading from the multiple teleprompters that always surround him. Doing so is not his strong suit. Others say this president is simply anti-free market business.
If the former was the case—perhaps surprisingly to his worshippers—Obama is in for a tough time in the upcoming presidential debates against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. American political debates are a contact sport and spontaneous.
If it was the latter, Obama truly is out of his depth as president. Doesn’t he understand that the nation’s economy was built by the blood, sweat and tears of hard-working businesspeople—small as well as large? His fixation with the federal government as a panacea is, quite frankly, an embarrassment and reeks of socialism.
Here’s how Romney responded to Obama’s blunder: “To say something like that is not just foolishness, it’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America. I don’t think the president, by his comments, understands what makes America a unique nation. If you attack success, you’ll see what we’ve seen over the past few years—less success. I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a president of the United States.”
In the same vein, Romney took Obama to task for failing to meet with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness for the last six months. And the explanation by the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney? “He’s got a lot on his plate.” Huh? Can you believe it?
Predictably, Obama’s loopy small business gaffe, which has strongly galvanized Republicans, is reflected in many pointed letters to the editor in big-city newspapers. The writers leave no doubt as to their negative feelings. Following are some excerpts:
“Would the late, great Sylvia Woods, the ‘Queen of Soul Food,’ have agreed with President Obama that someone else made her tremendous success happen?”
“Of all of Obama’s rhetoric in the White House, his attack on the very notion of creativity has been the most destructive, by far. If he had said this in 2008, he would have been unelectable.”
“Beyond the small business community, which suffered a direct insult, Obama has just told each and every American that they cannot expect to succeed without him. I think that comes as a shock to even his most fervent followers.”
“According to Obama’s philosophy, no one builds anything. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller and the rest of the great entrepreneurs in history are merely leeching off the efforts of others.”
“By letting his view slip out, Obama displays a lack of faith in our economic system, diligence and people.”
These sentiments express very clearly why Obama’s classic gaffe could be what millions of Americans will remember in the voting booth on Nov. 6. Prior to the election, his inexplicable diss of small businesspeople may also become a focal point of the three presidential debates in October.
A concrete result of Obama’s small business comments is reflected in a new Gallup poll released July 26. In it, his approval rating among business owners dropped from 59 percent to 35 percent. Meanwhile, the latest Rasmussen tracking poll has Romney leading Obama overall by six points—49 percent to 43 percent.
Finally, Obama’s intemperate remarks of July 13 were exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. America is a working-class nation whose citizens don’t like anyone telling them they didn’t make it on their own. That’s because most small businesspeople did.
Bottom line: It’s clear the land is rife with political unrest among independents—such as this writer—and Republicans. If you’re a Democrat, you’d better hope Obama gets his act together or, indeed, he’ll be a one-term president. And that’s the name of that tune.
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