“We Built It’

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.


  1. cheapseats says:

    While not a huge fan of Obama, the Republicans are being stupid rallying around this phrase. (Of course, Democrats are being stupid too in other ways with other stuff but, that’s not the subject of this post.)

    Without any loyalty to any party but with 3 decades of business and entrepreneurial experience and a couple of degrees in bid’ness, I’m telling you that Obama was absolutely correct in his message though the delivery was quite clumsy.
    There is not now and has never been in the history of humanity any such thing as a “free market”. Commerce of virtually every kind has always been dependent upon some sort of organized civilization. Even the world’s oldest profession was built primarily on a client-base provided by towns, villages, and mostly armies. Population centers are built around business arteries and businesses are dependent upon them.

    My point is this: We’ve got to progress beyond “bumper sticker” politics or we will continue to fail as a nation.

    • peachstealth says:

      I don’t believe Obama’s “you didn’t build that” point was the same “no one person can make a pencil” point Milton Freedman made in “Free to Choose”.
      I think Obama’s point was” you couldn’t have built your business without government, therefore you owe government more in taxes”
      I don’t understand why you think civilization precludes a free market, or perhaps you and I just have a different definition of that a free market is.
      In my definition, an individual sees a need in society and sets out to supply it.

      • peachstealth says:

        That last line “an individual sees a need in society and sets out to supply it.” should had been
        “An individual sees a need in society and sets out to earn a profit by supplying it.”

  2. saltycracker says:

    We built it is a good version of take personal responsibility.

    I agree we need to move beyond the catch phrases and take action to wean individuals and corporations off permanent welfare. As Clinton said, a hand up not a hand out.
    We all know too many either taking or tax dodging or both.

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    What will happen to those folks that didn’t have health insurance because the “free market” didn’t offer them a plan due to a previously existing condition that have coverage now through Obamacare? I think as conservatives, this is a serious question. While “Obamacare” has a huge negative connotation, the free market failed to deliver a product. What will Romneycare do with these newly insureds?

    • Harry says:

      They had and still have Medicaid. Yes, they would have to exhaust their resources to get it. The tradeoff of risk reduction is loss of freedom.

      • taylor says:

        I think Harry is wrong. Many people with pre-existing conditions do NOT have access to Medicaid.

        According to the Department of Community Health, you must have low income and one of the following: think you are pregnant; be a child or teenager; be age 65 or older; be legally blind; have a disability; need nursing home care. The income criteria varies but for Medically Needy: less than $4K a year for an individual, less than $5K for a couple.

        Basically, if you have a job – which many with pre-existing conditions do – you’re out of luck if the employer doesn’t provide group coverage.

        Freedom is great. Not sure if freedom is really helping a 30-year-old who had cancer as a child get coverage.

    • Engineer says:

      Yeah, I know a few folks in that situation (no company would take them because of their pre-existing conditions), so I’m curious what their plan is regarding those newly insured folks.

      • Pretend it’s not actually a problem, or as Harry instructs (at least he’s being honest) they should have to exhaust all of their other resources until they can qualify for Medicaid, at which point you and I and the rest of the taxpayers can pay for them.

        When did we start making it an American principle that the debts that cancer or some other illness causes are more important than all others? Keep in mind please that Romney made a fortune offloading other pre-existing conditions (like pension promises) onto the federal government way before he exhausted his own personal resources.

        • Scott65 says:

          …and thanks to Gov. Deal…that is only going to stay the same or get worse. He is going to refuse a 100% federal backing to expand medicaid in GA for 2 years (with 90% paid by the feds thereafter), yet, we have plenty of money for tax breaks for corporations. This was a nobrainer and Deal decided that Panderer in Chief was a better title than Governor…sickening realy…its making the hyperbole “die quickly” being the GOP healthcare plan seam just a little more real

          • TheEiger says:

            Where are the feds going to get that money? We are$16 trillion dollars in debt as it is. This will also cost the state an additional $4 billion a year. We cannot print money like the feds can. We have to have a balanced budget. When the state cuts teachers pay again to pay for this unfunded mandate you will be crying foul.

    • peachstealth says:

      When Obama was running for president he said there were about 15 million people who didn’t have insurance and he wanted to fix that. I was OK with that.
      Call me naive , I just didn’t realize he intended to take over the entire medical care system to do it.
      Unlike Georgia , many states have a “high risk” pool for such people. I think that’s a good idea. I also think the state should appropriate all or part of the Punitive Damage portion of medical malpractice awards to help fund it.

      • Blake says:

        He didn’t take over anything. Private insurance companies are still providing all of the insurance, not the government. Is there another meaning for “take over the entire medical care system”?

        • TheEiger says:

          Forcing states to expand their Medicaid roles? That’s not private insurance at work. Also, the president’s healthcare plan forces you to buy things that you may not want or need. Why would a single male in his 20s need to have coverage for an OBGYN and mammograms? He doesn’t. The hole point is to drive up the cost of health insurance so that the government will be forced to provide it themselves. Obama has said he is for a single payer system. This was the first step. Expand current programs (Medicaid and Medicare) and force the rest of the folks in the middle out of their current private insurance. That is what is called taking over the health care system.

          • Scott65 says:

            “hole point” maybe we should focus more on education. As far as paying for what you dont need…that was how it was already…before Obamacare. Healthcare costs were skyrocketing way before Obama…also before Obama, people were getting dropped left and right from private insurance plans. By insuring more people through medicaid is bad…you should have a look at the costs we pay in catistrophic care for indigent patients who if they had preventative care they can get through “obamacare” might have avoided it. Also, in repealing Obamacare which is such the fashion with the GOP, they will reinstate the donut hole for seniors… costing them a couple thousand more in drug costs…there’s a “hole point” for you…

            • TheEiger says:

              The president’s health care plan does nothing to control the costs of health care. It says we will force you to buy something you don’t want and pay for it by cutting $716 billion out of Medicare.

              You mention preventative care. This is how we should have solved the health care debate. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124476804026308603.html Under Obama’s plan, it is now illegal for Safeway to do this with their employees.

          • Blake says:

            Well, lucky for you, the Supreme Court struck down the Medicaid-forcing provisions, so that’s not an issue. And you will have to find me a citation to show that Obamacare forces a single male in his 20s to get coverage for an OBGYN and mammograms, because I don’t believe it.

            Finally, the idea that the point of Obamacare “is to drive up the cost of health insurance so that the government will be forced to provide it themselves” is laughable. Health insurance needs no help whatsoever to skyrocket; it has been doing it for 30 years. If that were the plan, then we would have had single-payer in a heartbeat instead of Obamacare.

            • TheEiger says:

              I would be more than willing to source my comments because I know what I’m talking about unlike you sir. Please read the following. http://www.bingaman.senate.gov/policy/crs_privhins.pdf

              Take note of page 14. “Essential health benefits will include at least the following categories: maternity and newborn care:”

              Again, you can talk about what is not in the bill all you want. Until you read it like I have, I will continue to say you are WRONG.

              • Blake says:

                Well, you’ve ignored my first and third points; on the second, you’re half right on a wrong assumption: right on the OB/GYN, wrong on the mammograms. Your incorrect assumption is that you would be forced into the individual or small group markets, a community health insurance option, or a state program for low-income individuals not eligible for Medicaid. Those are the only plans to which the essential health benefits apply, so far as I can tell. And, of course, if sharing the cost of maternity coverage offends you so much (not very pro-family of you), you can always forgo insurance and pay the tax penalty.

                I believe you’ve read a summary of the bill, like that Bingaman link. I sincerely doubt you’ve read the full 906-page bill, much less grasped its full references and implications.

                • TheEiger says:

                  Once again you are wrong. The essential health benefits package applies to all private insurance plans that are provided through your work or purchased as an individual. And yes I have read the 906 page bill. I also read the first version that was over 2,000 pages. The link I provided was for you so that you could understand that Obamacare does mandate you purchase something that you don’t want or need. On your other points.

                  The fact is that this bill as written would have forced states to expand Medicaid. The court basically rewrote the law to allow states opt out.

                  On your last point, I’ve already posted the video of Obama saying he wants a single payer system. So you are still wrong.

        • peachstealth says:

          That’s temporary. Omama care stipulates that insurance companies spend 85% funds from premiums on claims leaving only 15% of premium money for overhead and profit. Historically they’ve spent 65% on claims and 35% on overhead and profit. In a few years they’ll be out of business and we’ll have single payer.

          • Scott65 says:

            you explained how it “might”…thats not how they “did”…hypothetical is not concrete…try again…I’m listening. Educate me

            • TheEiger says:

              I will let Mr. Obama tell you he wants to take over health care. He can do a better job than I can.

              • Blake says:

                Oh my god, that’s hilarious. You take as evidence remarks by Obama in 2003, totally disregarding that he ruthlessly eliminated single-payer even from being considered when the legislation was actually being worked on and passed in 2009-10. Which is more credible, ancient words or current deeds?

                • TheEiger says:

                  I would say you have to listen to what politicians say. He clearly wants to put us on the road to a single payer system. You can continue to deny it all you want.

    • saltycracker says:

      Fix it with an individual mandate for a basic insurance policy. Open up the private markets. The uninsured will have to look to charity. Government regulations not ownership.

      • saltycracker says:

        PS a poor relative of mine with cancer has a blue cross/blue shield plan she pays $550 a month for. She’s fine with the coverage. Imagine in a bigger more competitive market it could get cheaper.

        • Scott65 says:

          before obamacare she would be dropped like a hot potato…they cant do that now. BCBS is also notorious for denying care

          • saltycracker says:

            she had the insurance and cancer before obamacare, in fact she went on Medicare this month and they wrote the secondary – so far they have covered stuff I never thought they would and she has been very happy with it…..

  4. bgsmallz says:

    Uhh…we rebuilt the Navy so quickly through the continuation of the Naval Acts of 1936, 38, and the Two Ocean Naval Act (Vinson-Smith Act) in 1940, a $8.5 Billion dollar government program that GA’s own Carl Vinson had helped pass into law in July of 1940.

    De-Regulation is a big problem…but re-building the Navy has nothing to do with that, Buzz.

    However, it does shine a light on a bigger problem of how grid-lock, beuracracy, and ideological battles are preventing government at any level from actually investing in necessary infrastructure and defense programs.

    • David C says:

      Yeah, clearly the Government had nothing to do with winning World War II. Saying somehow in World War II we were Less Regulated then we are now is a mountain full of stupid. During World War II, we had wage controls, price controls, the War Production Board that mandated building priorities, assigned materials to specific factories, and prohibited production of inessential goods. You had the War Manpower Board allocating labor needs between economic sectors. It was, in many ways, a command economy. To describe FDR’s World War II Government as the great de-regulated past is to betray a complete ignorance.

      And of course, it also has absolutely nothing to do with the towers in New York City, which, news flash, take a long time to build. So did their predecessors. The World Trade Center was proposed in 1961, construction started in 1966, and they didn’t open until 1971-2.

  5. I’m sorry Buzz, but we can’t have a “serious debate” with someone who also thinks…
    “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.”

    We can have a serious debate, or we can have the debate you want to have.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      It’s the masquarade called fair and balanced.

      It’s the principle that Mona Charen was applying in stating that Akin really may be on to something concerning his “shut it down” remark.

  6. Harry says:

    Here’s an alternative approach to avoid the paying for long-term coverage, as provided by one of mt e-mail correspondents:
    You’re a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home available for you. So what do you do?
    Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. You are allowed to shoot four Politicians.
    Of course, this means you will be sent to prison where you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air conditioning and all the health care you need!
    Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They’re all covered.
    As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often as they do now.
    And who will be paying for all of this? It’s the same government that just told you that you they cannot afford for you to go into a home.
    And you can get rid of 4 useless politicians while you are at it.
    Plus, and because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any income taxes anymore.
    Is this a great country or what?

    • rrrrr says:

      Your plan is interesting, but requires a moratorium be included concerning the replacement of any politicians eliminated under its clauses.

      That may be the “Change we can Believe in!”

  7. T-Bone says:

    I consider myself a political news junkie. I love even most of the trivial stories that get overblown on Twitter. However, I don’t know how much longer I can take this “you didn’t build that” baloney. I get why Republicans are repeating it. It strikes a certain nerve with conservatives and confirms their preexisting feelings about Obama’s socialism.

    But, like Chris Huttman, I don’t know how you can have a serious debate on the context of this phrase. How can you watch or read the full paragraph of that speech and glean that Obama means to say that people did not actually build their businesses? It doesn’t even make sense. His point was obvious, and I think your average, uninformed voter would agree with his sentiment.

  8. Three Jack says:

    Obama said, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

    If he instead said, ‘If you’ve got a business — you benefit from the infrastructure provided by government at the expense of all taxpayers’, then he would not have faced criticism. Based on Obama’s history, it is not hard to imagine what he meant when he said what he said.

    Of more concern should be the previous sentence where he implies that government ‘allows you to thrive’. My understanding is that should be the other way around, we the people allow government to exist in order to maintain a lawful civilization. But again it fits with Obama’s lifelong worship of big government.

    Maybe the GOP should have another theme night, ‘We allowed him one term, now time to thrive’

  9. Rick Day says:

    So..I wonder how many of these alleged “I built it”‘s were more likely to start their businesses.

    Under a GOP POTUS
    Under a DEM POTUS

    conversely, how many went UNDER during said tenures.

    Then we can figure out who built what, and who is just using another ‘joe the plumber’ jingoistic tag line to get poor people to support the not poor with votes.

    DISCLAIMER: As a small business starting out in 2005, we struggled with profitability until 20o9. Today we are on a growth pattern trending to $2 million a year in revenue. We built it, Buzz. Neither Obama nor Mittens had ZERO to do with what we built, for the record.

  10. xdog says:

    Gopers do distortion and pandering really well, along with SuperPacs. They’re smart enough to feed their base what what they want. Note their attention to the Obama administration offering states the opportunity to receive a waiver from the 1996 law’s work participation requirements under the condition that more recipients find jobs. Brainwipes like Rick Santorum are the latest to repeat the clearly demonstrable lie that Obama is gutting welfare reform. I’ll be glad to see the last of him for a while.

  11. SallyForth says:

    Reading this spool of comments made me realize how many people posting to P/P seem to be Democrats these days.

    That being said, I personally loved Ann’s touching speech last night (and the hot dude in those pictures with her). Christy not so much, but Arthur Davis hit a home run.

    Buzz, looks like even you honchos on P/P could use a functional modify/delete button – “…chocking the life out of that spirit.”? Free the hostage modify button!

    • SallyForth says:

      I also meant to point out S Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley – she was guns-blazing dynamite.

    • Scott65 says:

      SallyForth…I think we are 100% in agreement on the Modify/Delete…why did it go away???
      I dont think these people in this thread as so much Democrats as just tired of the truth being an afterthought. Truth is a nonpartisan process

      • SallyForth says:

        Scott65, good point re truth. I have no idea why Modify/Delete went away – there has been a hew and cry from the P/P community the last couple of months, begging for it to be fixed by WordPress or whoever is our webmaster. So far, nothing doing. Charlie said a couple of weeks that it is permanently dead – don’t know whether he was joking or not. 🙁

      • bgsmallz says:


        Agreed. I’m sorry I pointed out that the rebuild of the Navy after Pearl Harbor wasn’t the result of de-regulation but rather was the result of a pre-meditated plan….gasp!!!…that started in 1936 under the leadership of Georgia’s own Carl Vinson and was unanimously approved by all members of the house in July of 1940.

        But that doesn’t make me a democrat. Truth is always the best platform.

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