It's Not a Lie if You Repeat it and Add Sound Effects

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 25 2012 9:35 AM

It's Not a Lie if You Repeat it and Add Sound Effects

If you're a fan of propaganda techniques, the last week has been like a bachelor party sponsored by Barnum & Bailey's circus. The White House and the Obama campaign have decided to contest the nonsensical argument that the president really doesn't believe that small businesses build things, because in referring to the infrastructure and government goods that everyone pays for, he said "you didn't build that." The Romney campaign, RNC, and Super PACs, which have dug fingernails in every time they could beat up an Obama quote, have talked about nothing but "you didn't build that." The Obama campaign says it was taken out of context, so American Crossroads cuts a new video that repeatedly takes it out of context -- but adds sound effects!

Advertisement

Now, you're convinced. I can find no example of the Romney campaign giving up on an attack after it's been red-carded for bogosity, and sure enough, the next string of American Romney events will include businessmen who "built their businesses," and don't want to hear that the government did anything except impede them. These people are not hard to find. After I suggested that it would be tough to find businessmen who literally had never been helped by goods paid for by taxes, I got this email from Richard Drauker.

Bullshit!

In 1988 I bought my first computer.  By 1990 I had taught myself basic
programming.    I attended no school.  I received no assistance.  I
bought my books from Barnes and Noble paying full price.  Over the
next decade I worked to become highly proficient.

In 2004, sitting alone in my spare bedroom, I wrote a computer program
that automatically collects new business registration information.  I
then made the phone calls to solicit buyers of my list. Over the next
few years I generated over $100K per year from my spare bedroom
WITHOUT THE HELP OF ANYONE.

In 2008, despite countless emails to politicians who supposedly
represented me, the economy was allowed to slide, no, it was guided
into an abyss.  Most of my list customers were large banks, and in
less than 3 months my business was crushed.  That's what the
government did to me.

Through 2009, again sitting all alone in my spare bedroom, I regrouped
and launched a new business by putting my millions of new business
listings online in the form of a directory.  I toiled day and night to
learn the intricacies of getting top placement in search engines so I
could generate enough traffic to live off onsite advertising.   Again,
all by myself, I rebuilt my income to 6 figures.

Nobody helped me.  In fact, to me it seems the government has
repeatedly done everything imaginable to destroy my income.  People
like you who denigrate the efforts of small business owners and
support anti-business, anti-middle class politicians like Obama, who
think anyone who isn't on the public dole should turn over their
entire life savings to those who are, should get the hell out of
America.

One more thing... I will promise you this, I will never never ever
hire an American so long as ObamaCare exists.  It's my business, I
built it, I decide who gets what.  If you America haters want to make
those decisions, build your own damn business.   See how you feel
working day and night to have half your income given away to people
too lazy to feed themselves.

This sentiment would still be there if the Obama speech was targeted in a less-dishonest way. But the dishonest spin on the speech -- you didn't build that! Someone else did.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 17 2014 12:27 PM Listen to Our Ultimate Holiday Playlist Holiday tracks for the season, exclusively for Slate Plus members.