Today we will ask for your thoughts on President Obama’s recent campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia.

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.

You may also watch the extended remarks in the video after the jump.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Obama’s ideology is based on the assumption that businesses, capital, investments, entrepreneurship’s, etc. exist because of the actions of the state. Conservatives and non statists believe that the state can only exist because of the actions of businesses, capital, investments, entrepreneurship’s, and etc . It is simply two complete different ways of looking at the world.

    This was a devastating comment that will haunt the Obama campaign till November. It is his 2012 Joe the Plummer moment in which the people get an honest glimpse into the mindset that this man holds dear. It truly is a pivotal election because of the complete ideological difference between the two candidates. I have no idea where America will side on election day, but, without a doubt, if Obama can win after moving this far to the left he will prove not that he hopes to “completely transform America”, but, that he already has.

  • Anonymous

    Obama’s ideology is based on the assumption that businesses, capital, investments, entrepreneurship’s, etc. exist because of the actions of the state. Conservatives and non statists believe that the state can only exist because of the actions of businesses, capital, investments, entrepreneurship’s, and etc . It is simply two complete different ways of looking at the world.

    This was a devastating comment that will haunt the Obama campaign till November. It is his 2012 Joe the Plummer moment in which the people get an honest glimpse into the mindset that this man holds dear. It truly is a pivotal election because of the complete ideological difference between the two candidates. I have no idea where America will side on election day, but, without a doubt, if Obama can win after moving this far to the left he will prove not that he hopes to “completely transform America”, but, that he already has.

  • Edgar Harris

    NRO had a really good response to this. From the article:

    “In speeches like this one it often seems the president is not even aware he is saying something inane and meaningless. He has become a kind of caricature of himself, fighting an imaginary enemy with pointless platitudes while ignoring his own record and its consequences.”Dear Mr. Levin, I give you this comments section as proof that Obama is not fighting an “imaginary enemy”. Conservatism really has become so radicalized that its followers no longer believe Government has any place in the market place. Conservatives no longer believe that roads, education, the internet, etc… help create an environment for a vibrant free market, and if you point this out you they will respond with righteous indignation.
    As for those of you who are so upset with what Obama has said, well you’re playing right into Obama’s hands and undermining any legitimacy Conservatives may have had. Here’s a link to his critique: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/309559/what-shall-we-do-together-yuval-levin

    • Alaina Segovia

      Who said that government has no place?  Name one Conservative that has said the government should cease to exist.  You can’t, because no one ever said that.  Conservatives say ‘limited government’, but they don’t promote anarchy.

      Businesses existed in this country before the government was formed.  Before roads had been built, before there were public school systems and long before the Internet was created.  To say that one hasn’t built their own business because they didn’t build the roads they drive on to work or invent the Internet they use is a ridiculous arguement.

      Furthermore, who paid for the roads?  The taxpayers.  Who pays for public school systems?  The taxpayers.  Who paid for the fund to research and create the Internet?  The taxpayers.  Who are the taxpayers?  People who pay taxes.  Who pays taxes?  People that have jobs.  Who pays the most taxes?  Businesses.  Therefore, do they not have the right to say that they built those roads they’re driving to work on?  They paid for it so why not?

      • Edgar Harris

        So if you agree with that, then why are you so upset by Obama’s statement? He’s saying pretty much the same thing, and then he’s presenting his case as if Conservatives don’t agree that Government can be involved in promoting economic growth. The telling part of this story is, the response we’re seeing from Conservatives. Instead of pointing out that Obama is misrepresenting your point of view, you’re getting upset that he suggested Government has created an environment where businesses can succeed.

        As for your first question, I can name two conservatives off the top of my head. Ayn Rand is one, and she’s certainly the more radical of the two. Rush Limbaugh is the second. Or at the very least, Rush Limbaugh’s response would indicate that he thinks the American economic system should be bereft of government involvement, and anyone that says otherwise hates America. Here’s another link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/another-reason-the-right-would-be-better-off-without-rush-limbaugh/259906/

        By the way I actually really like Levin’s response to Obama. It’s a really well thought out, level headed, Conservative response. Too bad the vast majority of Conservatives are undermining his position.

      • Edgar Harris

        So I think I see where the disconnect is coming from. There is a little bit ambiguity when Obama said, “You didn’t build it. Someone else built it.” Typically when I see this type of ambiguity I go with the interpretation that makes the most sense. Seeing as how Obama just completed a sentence where he talked about building roads, and seeing that it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if he is saying business owners didn’t build their businesses, I’m going to say that he’s saying you didn’t build the bridge, roads, internet, etc… That’s hardly a controversial statement.

  • Edgar Harris

    NRO had a really good response to this. From the article:

    “In speeches like this one it often seems the president is not even aware he is saying something inane and meaningless. He has become a kind of caricature of himself, fighting an imaginary enemy with pointless platitudes while ignoring his own record and its consequences.”Dear Mr. Levin, I give you this comments section as proof that Obama is not fighting an “imaginary enemy”. Conservatism really has become so radicalized that its followers no longer believe Government has any place in the market place. Conservatives no longer believe that roads, education, the internet, etc… help create an environment for a vibrant free market, and if you point this out you they will respond with righteous indignation.
    As for those of you who are so upset with what Obama has said, well you’re playing right into Obama’s hands and undermining any legitimacy Conservatives may have had. Here’s a link to his critique: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/309559/what-shall-we-do-together-yuval-levin

    • Alaina Segovia

      Who said that government has no place?  Name one Conservative that has said the government should cease to exist.  You can’t, because no one ever said that.  Conservatives say ‘limited government’, but they don’t promote anarchy.

      Businesses existed in this country before the government was formed.  Before roads had been built, before there were public school systems and long before the Internet was created.  To say that one hasn’t built their own business because they didn’t build the roads they drive on to work or invent the Internet they use is a ridiculous arguement.

      Furthermore, who paid for the roads?  The taxpayers.  Who pays for public school systems?  The taxpayers.  Who paid for the fund to research and create the Internet?  The taxpayers.  Who are the taxpayers?  People who pay taxes.  Who pays taxes?  People that have jobs.  Who pays the most taxes?  Businesses.  Therefore, do they not have the right to say that they built those roads they’re driving to work on?  They paid for it so why not?

      • Edgar Harris

        So if you agree with that, then why are you so upset by Obama’s statement? He’s saying pretty much the same thing, and then he’s presenting his case as if Conservatives don’t agree that Government can be involved in promoting economic growth. The telling part of this story is, the response we’re seeing from Conservatives. Instead of pointing out that Obama is misrepresenting your point of view, you’re getting upset that he suggested Government has created an environment where businesses can succeed.

        As for your first question, I can name two conservatives off the top of my head. Ayn Rand is one, and she’s certainly the more radical of the two. Rush Limbaugh is the second. Or at the very least, Rush Limbaugh’s response would indicate that he thinks the American economic system should be bereft of government involvement, and anyone that says otherwise hates America. Here’s another link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/another-reason-the-right-would-be-better-off-without-rush-limbaugh/259906/

        By the way I actually really like Levin’s response to Obama. It’s a really well thought out, level headed, Conservative response. Too bad the vast majority of Conservatives are undermining his position.

      • Edgar Harris

        So I think I see where the disconnect is coming from. There is a little bit ambiguity when Obama said, “You didn’t build it. Someone else built it.” Typically when I see this type of ambiguity I go with the interpretation that makes the most sense. Seeing as how Obama just completed a sentence where he talked about building roads, and seeing that it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if he is saying business owners didn’t build their businesses, I’m going to say that he’s saying you didn’t build the bridge, roads, internet, etc… That’s hardly a controversial statement.

  • Gesongbird

    It is our experiences in life that help develop and determine who we are and what we become. Does the government control our experiences, I think Obama thinks our entire lives are determined by what our government does for us. Someone on Fox just said that “Small businesses are driven by the individuals.” Where does this drive come from, it comes from learning the values of hard work, integrity,  and the “freedom” to pursue the American dream. These values are taught through family values, not the government.

    It wasn’t the government who raised us, nurtured us and guided us, it was our parents. Having said that, as an educator, I can honestly state that many of the problems we have in our school systems are not the fault of our government run schools, but do to the lack of a stable home life for our children. So parents can have either a positive or a negative impact on our children. Those children who come from a stable home life are more likely to grow up and do things like start their own businesses. It is the “family” not the government who helps inspire, direct, and even motivate a child to be successful in life.

  • Gesongbird

    It is our experiences in life that help develop and determine who we are and what we become. Does the government control our experiences, I think Obama thinks our entire lives are determined by what our government does for us. Someone on Fox just said that “Small businesses are driven by the individuals.” Where does this drive come from, it comes from learning the values of hard work, integrity,  and the “freedom” to pursue the American dream. These values are taught through family values, not the government.

    It wasn’t the government who raised us, nurtured us and guided us, it was our parents. Having said that, as an educator, I can honestly state that many of the problems we have in our school systems are not the fault of our government run schools, but do to the lack of a stable home life for our children. So parents can have either a positive or a negative impact on our children. Those children who come from a stable home life are more likely to grow up and do things like start their own businesses. It is the “family” not the government who helps inspire, direct, and even motivate a child to be successful in life.

  • Whodat

    One more of a very long line of insults to about everything I believe.

    If I were the boss, I would play this quote and others like it, alternating with
    videos of him bowing to foreign kings. Every hour, every day.

    Those of us who read Marx, however, are familiar with these general concepts, we
    just never heard them restated by our president.

    Those of us who heard what Rev Wright said in church, are familiar with this
    anti-American-way concept, and should not be at all shocked or surprised that this
    president bought into it.

    While expressing ourselves here is good, let our rage power and special donation today, and get a bumper sticker right away, and talk with friends in support of our guy.

    • Anonymous

      So right, Sir Whodat.

      This is what irks me when I hear so called “conservatives” say there is not a dime of difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Are they blind or stupid? Where is outrage from even one Democrat to Obama’s weekend rhetoric? There is none. Their silence is an endorsement of his comment and his ideology. Not only is there a dime of difference, there is at least a Trillion $$$$ of difference. America is feeling the blowback of the 2006 Republican temper tantrum.

    • Steve M.

      Whodat, I’m not 100% sure you acutally understood Marx. I have read it several times over and I’m very sure that he would despise the very things Obama is saying. The idea of anyone succeeding above anyone else, even with the help of others or of government, is completely antithetical to Marx ideas.
      Marx imagines a society where everyone works hard (as hard as possible) and receives equal reward (e.g. an equal ration of bread, an identical house, etc.). Mr. Obama, myself and other Social Democrats imagine a society where people work hard, government preserves a sense of truly equal opportunity, government ensures that no one falls below a certain floor and those who are smart, work hard and take advantage of the opportunities provided them succeed.
      Marx, Engel and their modern disciples would recoil in horror at the thought of Obama’s plan being anything close to Marxism.

      • Alaina Segovia

        Define ‘government preserves a sense of truly equal opportunity’ please.

        • Steve M.

          Government provides certain advantages to those who have been naturally disadvantaged (people of color, poor, etc.). Government policies discrimination by those with power, money & influence against those without.
          This includes affirmative action, significant college/technical school assistance for the poor and middle class. I think you get my idea.

          • Alaina Segovia

            This is the line of thinking that I’ll never get… How are the poor ‘naturally’ disadvantaged?  Do they not have the same opportunities as the rest of us to get an education and get a job?  In this day and age, how are people of color ‘naturally’ disadvantaged?  Yes, there are still some racists out there (for all colors), but those instances are few and far between when it comes to being able to get an education and a job.

            Your post reads as if people of color and the poor are disabled and are unable to help themselves.  You make it easy for them to sit back and let someone else take care of them and that doesn’t help them.

            When I think of someone with a ‘natural’ disadvantage, I think of someone born with a handicap, like ceberal palsy.  These are the people the government should be concerned with helping, not those those who are able bodied and of sound mind (e.g. people of color and the poor).

            • Steve M.

              Alaina, do you honestly believe that poor people and minorities have the same opportunity at education and jobs?
              Those with more money, influence, power, etc. (and the children of them) have far greater access to the tools and people necessary to get to those places. The poor kid, with no books in his home who graduated from the innercity public school does not have the same chance of going to Harvard as the upper-middle class kid who’s been in SAT Prep classes since 8th grade and graduated from the Prep school with a history of sending kids to the Ivies, even if they have the exact same drive and intellect and othe God-given abilities.
              So yes, that inner city kid should have an advantage because his 1390 shows as much or more accomplishment than the kid Prep school kid with a 1480.
              The same is true of jobs. If I can “intern” at dad’s law firm, I certainly have “better experience” than the kid from the other side of town who had to work at Walmart.

      • Gururussell

        Steve, Just because Marx “imagines” a society where everyone works hard, doesn’t mean that his fairy tale would ever have any chance of succeeding in the real world.

        I read a fantastic piece yesterday about he early years at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The Pilgrims initially set it up as a “community ownership” (aka commune).  It’s pretty safe to say that things didn’t go so well, and radical changes were made.

        The dream that you, Obama, and Socialists share is an untenable fantasy.
        It has failed every time it has been tried.  Including in the early years of our country’s origins.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/309453/land-your-land-lee-habeeb?pg=2

        • Steve M.

          Guru, I think you missed my point. I agree that the society Marx imagines is not a reality, largely for the very reason you point out. When the only system in place is, “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” — then we lack incentive and never work hard.
          My point was, that society (of Marx imagination) is quite different than the one Obama is attempting to bring about. Obama is not trying to make America a commune — but he certainly does imagine a certain set of goods and services that are better furnished by government than by private industry. As he specifically mentions in the speech — some of these we all agree with (e.g. Police & Fire Departments).

          • Gururussell

            I see your point, Steve.
            I would argue that the goods and services that are needed from the government should be kept as local as possible.
            If I can provide it for my family, I will.
            If not, the next step is my church.
            If not them, my city.
            If not city, then my county/local.
            If not county, then state.

            I don’t want the feds to run my local police or fire departments.
            I don’t want the feds to provide my health care.
            I don’t want the feds to tell schools what to do.  That’s a state duty.
            I want the federal government to stick to providing what the constitution says that they should…things like national defense.  If, along the way, the states decide that cooperative things like interstate highways and the suchlike are necessary for the federal government to build, so be it. 

  • Whodat

    One more of a very long line of insults to about everything I believe.

    If I were the boss, I would play this quote and others like it, alternating with
    videos of him bowing to foreign kings. Every hour, every day.

    Those of us who read Marx, however, are familiar with these general concepts, we
    just never heard them restated by our president.

    Those of us who heard what Rev Wright said in church, are familiar with this
    anti-American-way concept, and should not be at all shocked or surprised that this
    president bought into it.

    While expressing ourselves here is good, let our rage power and special donation today, and get a bumper sticker right away, and talk with friends in support of our guy.

    • Anonymous

      So right, Sir Whodat.

      This is what irks me when I hear so called “conservatives” say there is not a dime of difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Are they blind or stupid? Where is outrage from even one Democrat to Obama’s weekend rhetoric? There is none. Their silence is an endorsement of his comment and his ideology. Not only is there a dime of difference, there is at least a Trillion $$$$ of difference. America is feeling the blowback of the 2006 Republican temper tantrum.

    • Steve M.

      Whodat, I’m not 100% sure you acutally understood Marx. I have read it several times over and I’m very sure that he would despise the very things Obama is saying. The idea of anyone succeeding above anyone else, even with the help of others or of government, is completely antithetical to Marx ideas.
      Marx imagines a society where everyone works hard (as hard as possible) and receives equal reward (e.g. an equal ration of bread, an identical house, etc.). Mr. Obama, myself and other Social Democrats imagine a society where people work hard, government preserves a sense of truly equal opportunity, government ensures that no one falls below a certain floor and those who are smart, work hard and take advantage of the opportunities provided them succeed.
      Marx, Engel and their modern disciples would recoil in horror at the thought of Obama’s plan being anything close to Marxism.

      • Alaina Segovia

        Define ‘government preserves a sense of truly equal opportunity’ please.

        • Steve M.

          Government provides certain advantages to those who have been naturally disadvantaged (people of color, poor, etc.). Government policies discrimination by those with power, money & influence against those without.
          This includes affirmative action, significant college/technical school assistance for the poor and middle class. I think you get my idea.

          • Alaina Segovia

            This is the line of thinking that I’ll never get… How are the poor ‘naturally’ disadvantaged?  Do they not have the same opportunities as the rest of us to get an education and get a job?  In this day and age, how are people of color ‘naturally’ disadvantaged?  Yes, there are still some racists out there (for all colors), but those instances are few and far between when it comes to being able to get an education and a job.

            Your post reads as if people of color and the poor are disabled and are unable to help themselves.  You make it easy for them to sit back and let someone else take care of them and that doesn’t help them.

            When I think of someone with a ‘natural’ disadvantage, I think of someone born with a handicap, like ceberal palsy.  These are the people the government should be concerned with helping, not those those who are able bodied and of sound mind (e.g. people of color and the poor).

            • Steve M.

              Alaina, do you honestly believe that poor people and minorities have the same opportunity at education and jobs?
              Those with more money, influence, power, etc. (and the children of them) have far greater access to the tools and people necessary to get to those places. The poor kid, with no books in his home who graduated from the innercity public school does not have the same chance of going to Harvard as the upper-middle class kid who’s been in SAT Prep classes since 8th grade and graduated from the Prep school with a history of sending kids to the Ivies, even if they have the exact same drive and intellect and othe God-given abilities.
              So yes, that inner city kid should have an advantage because his 1390 shows as much or more accomplishment than the kid Prep school kid with a 1480.
              The same is true of jobs. If I can “intern” at dad’s law firm, I certainly have “better experience” than the kid from the other side of town who had to work at Walmart.

      • Gururussell

        Steve, Just because Marx “imagines” a society where everyone works hard, doesn’t mean that his fairy tale would ever have any chance of succeeding in the real world.

        I read a fantastic piece yesterday about he early years at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The Pilgrims initially set it up as a “community ownership” (aka commune).  It’s pretty safe to say that things didn’t go so well, and radical changes were made.

        The dream that you, Obama, and Socialists share is an untenable fantasy.
        It has failed every time it has been tried.  Including in the early years of our country’s origins.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/309453/land-your-land-lee-habeeb?pg=2

        • Steve M.

          Guru, I think you missed my point. I agree that the society Marx imagines is not a reality, largely for the very reason you point out. When the only system in place is, “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” — then we lack incentive and never work hard.
          My point was, that society (of Marx imagination) is quite different than the one Obama is attempting to bring about. Obama is not trying to make America a commune — but he certainly does imagine a certain set of goods and services that are better furnished by government than by private industry. As he specifically mentions in the speech — some of these we all agree with (e.g. Police & Fire Departments).

          • Gururussell

            I see your point, Steve.
            I would argue that the goods and services that are needed from the government should be kept as local as possible.
            If I can provide it for my family, I will.
            If not, the next step is my church.
            If not them, my city.
            If not city, then my county/local.
            If not county, then state.

            I don’t want the feds to run my local police or fire departments.
            I don’t want the feds to provide my health care.
            I don’t want the feds to tell schools what to do.  That’s a state duty.
            I want the federal government to stick to providing what the constitution says that they should…things like national defense.  If, along the way, the states decide that cooperative things like interstate highways and the suchlike are necessary for the federal government to build, so be it. 

  • Alaina Segovia

    This absolutely makes my blood boil.

    You can be a {insert another word for a donkey here} and take the term “self-made” literally and we can all owe our success to caveman because, had they not existed, none of us would exist nor would the people that invented and built stuff like roads and the Internet.

    It’s so demeaning to those of us who have tried to make something for ourselves rather than sit on our couch and wait for someone to give us something.  It just gives those who aren’t pulling their own weight an excuse to keep doing nothing.  That said, if Obama if handing out businesses, I would love to be at the front of that line.

    Obama is right that there are a lot of smart people out there and a lot of people who work hard, but what he does not seem to understand is the appetite for risk that one has to have to start a business.  They often have to put their life savings on the line to pursue their dream of starting their own business.  And if you talk to many business owners, they’ve started a company and failed multiple times before they got to the one that worked.  That’s not for everyone and their is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t give anyone a right to de-value the hard work that people put into their businesses.

  • Alaina Segovia

    This absolutely makes my blood boil.

    You can be a {insert another word for a donkey here} and take the term “self-made” literally and we can all owe our success to caveman because, had they not existed, none of us would exist nor would the people that invented and built stuff like roads and the Internet.

    It’s so demeaning to those of us who have tried to make something for ourselves rather than sit on our couch and wait for someone to give us something.  It just gives those who aren’t pulling their own weight an excuse to keep doing nothing.  That said, if Obama if handing out businesses, I would love to be at the front of that line.

    Obama is right that there are a lot of smart people out there and a lot of people who work hard, but what he does not seem to understand is the appetite for risk that one has to have to start a business.  They often have to put their life savings on the line to pursue their dream of starting their own business.  And if you talk to many business owners, they’ve started a company and failed multiple times before they got to the one that worked.  That’s not for everyone and their is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t give anyone a right to de-value the hard work that people put into their businesses.

  • Anonymous

    The only one that didn’t get there on their own accomplishments is Obama.

  • Anonymous

    The only one that didn’t get there on their own accomplishments is Obama.

  • Jennifer H

    Thank you for posting it!  This should not be ignored.  

  • Jennifer H

    Thank you for posting it!  This should not be ignored.  

  • The Atomic Mom

    Looks like he’s been hanging out with Elizabeth Warren … 

  • The Atomic Mom

    Looks like he’s been hanging out with Elizabeth Warren …