Down On Your Knees to the “Job Creators”

The stupid brouhaha over Barack Obama’s alleged insult to American entrepreneurship has been pretty thoroughly masticated hither and yon, so I’ll just quote TAP’s Paul Waldman on the upshot:

When this quote worked its way up from the conservative media to the Romney campaign, they knew they had something. Sure, it’s obvious that when Obama said “you didn’t build that” he was talking about roads and bridges. But who cares? You can take that one sentence out of context, lie about what “that” in the quote refers to, and you’ve got evidence of Obama’s America-hating heart.

And yes, it is a lie, a word I use carefully. Romney and the people who work for him know full well what Obama was and wasn’t saying. But they decided to go ahead and engage in an act of intentional deception anyway, and I’m sure he’ll be repeating it many times.

There’s actually a discussion to be had about the radical individualism that has taken over the conservative movement, which Obama was responding to in his speech.

Yes, there is, and the odd thing is that even as he has been lying about what Obama said, Romney himself has affirmed the very point the president was actually making about the contributions of the public sector to private-sector economic opportunities. Yet Romney and other GOP leaders have consistently pursued both rhetoric and policies that seemed entirely based on the Randian concept of the Creative Titan before whom the rest of us should bow down in gratitude for our ability to eat, and stop asking for luxuries like health insurance or anti-market powers like collective bargaining rights or anything approaching the laughably archaic twentieth-century idea of job or retirement security.

The really scary possibility was nicely articulated in a tweet today by Josh Marshall:

I think Romney really thinks he was 1 of those builders like Gates, Carnegie, Ford rather than trust fund kid who made lots of money

Maybe that’s it: Mitt expects gratitude, too, and not all this carping about outsourcing or his tax returns.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.