We were heartened when the Romney campaign pounced on President Obama’s comment that, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen…" and seemed to take the point, as we did, that Obama’s remark was no gaffe. It was a well articulated, albeit scary, position.
While Governor Romney was quick to rebut Obama, we wondered if the campaign would actually drive the message home to its logical conclusion. Fortunately, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has weighed-in on the matter to show them the path forward.
What Buchanan pointed out (in a recent column in Real Clear Politics) was that Obama’s remark was so damaging because it “rubs against a deeply ingrained American belief -- that the people built the nation.”
And more to the point, that President Obama’s worship of centralized power makes one wonder, “Does Obama understand America?”
This is not an idle question.
It is doubtful that any American President has spent more time or received more of his education outside of the borders of this country than has Barack Obama.
What’s more, as Buchanan observed, “His mother and father, his role models like Frank Marshall Davis and Saul Alinsky, his neighbors like Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, all came out of the anti-capitalist left… Obama's life has been spent in tax-exempt, tax-subsidized and tax-supported institutions.”
As we said in a recent column, at the heart of Obama’s personal choices and politics has always been a strange antipathy for capitalism and entrepreneurship.
The politics of resentment are not just a cynical ploy with Obama, as they are with many other Democrats. It is obvious that deep down inside, Obama really dislikes the private economy and those who achieve economic success through it.
This, Pat Buchanan observed, frames the great issue of 2012: it is not spending or foreign policy or the Bush tax cuts – it is, “Which is the true creator of wealth and engine of prosperity?.”
Obama’s remark that, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen…" goes so deeply against what is fundamental to the American psyche – at least outside the Beltway – that it is like fingernails on a mental chalkboard.
Mitt Romney would be well advised to take Pat Buchanan’s advice and tap into American’s deep distrust of Big Government and their unquenchable desire to be the masters of their future.
If he keeps pounding away on Buchanan’s point that “Obama has it backward. In America, individuals, families, communities came first. Hardworking men and women built the society,” Governor Romney just might find a message that resonates and connects him with everyday citizens in a way that the poll-tested content-free campaign his advisors are telling him to run can never hope to match.