Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Authenticity And Tape Gaps

In his rousing acceptance speech, Rep. Paul Ryan justified yesterday's "we built that" theme, built with a 43-word presidential tape gap, a cynical distortion of Barack Obama's July speech in Virginia. Ryan said:
Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.
Obama's point was gratuitously professorial. Why pick a fight with the other side's idealization of job creators, especially when your greatest and perhaps decisive error was failing to make job creation a top priority from the beginning? Even so, he wasn't crediting government with being entrepreneurs' partner but rather our "unbelievable American system." If Republicans think Obama's a lefty, find some lefty language, and make fun of that. Don't stand up for honesty and authenticity and then cheat.

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