When the Obama presidency is studied in years to come, the president’s recent remarks in Roanoke, Va., may well come to be regarded as a defining moment.
Unlike the “bitter clingers” impromptu, the speech was not delivered behind closed doors. Nor was the president caught off guard as he was when he expressed a “spread the wealth” philosophy to Joe the Plumber. This speech was pure Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama’s governing political philosophy is summed up in two sentences uttered in Roanoke:
“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. Somebody else made that happen.”
In the president’s view, that “somebody else” is government.
Rich Lowry has a must-read column today on this stunning take down of the self-made man or woman. Lowry writes:
The Obama theory of entrepreneurship is that behind every successful businessman, there is a successful government. Everyone is helpless without the state, the great protector, builder, and innovator. Everything is ultimately a collective enterprise. Individual initiative is only an ingredient in the more important work when “we do things together.”
The Obama riff is a direct steal from Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts who sent liberal hearts aflutter by throwing the same wet towel on the notion of individual success a few months ago. The Obama/Warren view is a warrant for socialization of the proceeds of success. Behind its faux sophistication is a faculty-lounge disdain for business, and all those who make more than tenured professors by excelling at it. Behind its smiley we’re-all-in-it-together façade is a frank demand: You owe us.
For that most American figure of the self-made man, exemplified most famously by Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, President Obama wants to substitute the figure of the guy who happened to get lucky while not paying his fair share in taxes. What a dreary and pinched view of human endeavor. What a telling insight into his animating philosophy.
This is an administration that not only denigrates extraordinary success in business but seeks to stymie such success with taxes and regulations. And you can't say it's not working! Fewer and fewer people are able to get rich in Barack Obama's regulated economy.
To understand why unemployment is at 8.2 percent (and in reality probably much higher), you need to look no farther than the Roanoke speech. The government is targeting success.
Needless to say, no man is an island. We are a product of our families, schools, and churches. Without the liberty and rule of law that characterize America, entrepreneurship would indeed be impossible. Any successful American who is not a patriot is a rank ingrate.
But the president believes that among the highest expressions of patriotism are a 39.6 percent top individual tax rate and a 25 percent capital-gains rate.
There are few phrases that President Obama likes less than “on your own.” He considers it a lie when people think they’ve made it on their own, and he thinks that the most damning thing that can be said about the Republican vision is that it will leave people on their own. For him, “we’re in this together,” and the inspiring institution embodying that togetherness is none other than the Internal Revenue Service.