In an effort to differentiate itself from President Obama, the Romney campaign identified four themes they wanted the then four day convention to focus on. The four themes were; “We Can Do Better,” “We Built It,” “We Can Change It,” and “We Believe in America.” Monday’s theme of “We Can Do Better” was deleted due to the cancellation of that day of the convention. Last night’s theme is “We Built It.”
You can debate whether or not President Obama’s comments that included the phrase “you didn’t build that” were taken out of context or indicate a moment where the President revealed his true self. Nevertheless, the phrase has taken on a life of it’s own and become an issue in the campaign.
The Romney campaign has seized upon the President’s statement by producing t-shirts and marshaling small business owners to make statements about the hard work they’ve put into their own businesses. As evidenced by Tuesday’s speeches, they intend this to be a key election issue during the remaining seventy days of the campaign.
Speaker after speaker Tuesday night drove home this theme, talking about the businesses they and their families started and grew. Delegates had signs that said “We Built It” and throughout the night they chanted it. It’s a powerful message that has resonated and will continue to resonate I predict.
The entrepreneurial sprit we’ve had in America has been crucial to our success. The ever-expanding reach of Federal and State regulation is choking the life out of that spirit. Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot said last December if he had to start his company again today he wouldn’t be able to.
Another way to measure how regulation has increased in America is to remember that Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 destroying or damaging 21 ships, almost 200 aircraft, and killing 2403 of our soldiers. We rebuilt our Navy, converted our manufacturing base from a peacetime one to wartime one, and defeated the Germans and Japanese in four years. Almost twelve years after the 9/11 attacks,the Ground Zero Memorial is finally completed but the Freedom Tower on the same site isn’t. The slow pace of getting things done isn’t healthy for our economy.
We need to have a serious debate during this election about free markets, regulation, and the importance of the entrepreneurial sprit. Last night’s speeches at the GOP Convention, while certainly political in nature, will help further that conversation.