Even In Paraphrase Romney Steps In "It" -- like a "barn raising"

In yet the most recent example of poor Romney messaging and due diligence, Romney has released an ad which, in paraphrase, takes Obama’s words of last week stating that no one is an island, no one “builds it alone” out of context — a reference that factually states that no company, entrepreneur, individual delivers his or her goods or services on an infrastructure that they built by themselves (ranging from one’s education to the military protecting the petrol shipping lanes to roads, airports, and bridges).

In the Romney ad, Jack Gilchrist of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating discusses Romney talking points but the New Hampshire Union Leader has found trouble in Mr. Gilchrist’s claims in that the Gilchrist firm has been the recipient of much “public aid,” undermining the Romney narrative (CNN reporting).

To further undermine the Romney narrative, in 2002 at the Salt Lake Games he touts as “experience” (in video),

You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power . . .

And if all this wasn’t enough, Romney cites collectivist “barn raisings” as examples of the American spirit.  Said in a business round-table,

The reality is what can we as people do? Our heritage as a nation is that when there are people problems, people respond to them and people solve them,” he said, noting that Alexis de Tocqueville said Americans are unique because of “our willingness to serve one another, the barn raisings, if you will.

We need more barn raisings in America, more people who don’t just look and say, ‘What can government do?’ but instead, ‘What things can I do to make a difference in the lives of people near me?

What Romney fails to remember is that government is a collective made up of tax paying citizens and though in different form, his Olympian and de Tocqueville references still advocate for the social collective.

When Romney is off “the stump,” away from the pre-packaged political sound bites issued by his advisers, Romney in fact shows he has a lot in common with the centrist tenor, tone (and when in context the perspective) of the President!  The real question then is why he allows himself to be “dragged” to fringe positions and fringe rhetoric?  What then does this inability say about his character?


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  • "Centrist"?? OUR President? Hardly. He's farther left than any president we've ever had. Dangerously so.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Puhleeze, FDR had "a set" that Obama only dreams of -- I dare say LBJ as well! Let me spell it out for you in 2012:

    1) Stewart Alexander, Socialist Party -- Ultra Liberal

    2) Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party -- Liberal

    3) President Barack Obama, Democrat -- Moderate-to-Centrist (Read up on 3rd Way Centrist politics. It fits the Obama 1st term to a tee!).

    4) What's left of the Republican Party -- Conservative-to-cookoo for cocoa puffs, demographically challenged moving into the 21st century and apparently not able to adapt to the on-coming "majority minority" nation that IS evolving. Not solely my opinion, but also that of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove, Michael Steele, Ed Rollins and a number of Republican operatives.

    5) . . . and for you, we could add Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party -- Ultra conservative

    You seem over 50 so I imagine don't get what is going on in the country -- in the streets! You will undoubtedly discount the first two candidates, but Dr. Stein is especially commanding attention with much of the disaffected 99%!

    The point is that there are choices for "left-wing" Socialists -- Barack Obama is not one of those choices. So, given the cited 5 candidates, it is clear that Barack Obama is a moderate centrist!

    The country IS changing -- less male, less Anglo, less straight, etc.. Join and embrace the future (adapt) or become marginalized. Your choice.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Even left of FDR? Remember FDR was a "traitor to his class"---the patrician corporatists.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Well said . . .

  • If Romney 2012 would go back to the Romney of 2008 he would actually appeal to enough people to get elected. But by pandering to the "I got mine, screw everyone else" crowd, he doesn't have a chance, even in a difficult but improving economy. An yes, Obama is a centrist, but a big government centrist, where GWB was a big government moderate.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    To me "big government" is a red herring as I am more interested in whether the government is responsive and efficient for an advanced, diverse, 21st Century nation -- I am sure we can both agree that there are far too many inefficiencies regardless of "size". But there is little to quibble with here, though I would suggest that either "Romneys" would need voter suppression tactics to overcome the record 2008 vote that Obama garnered.

    The electorate is changing and we saw the beginning of this in 2008. 2010 was an aberration in that 50 million fewer voters voted than in 2008. If 2012 numbers repeat those of 2008, Romney loses easily . . . hence Republican efforts at suppression (lessons "learned" 2010 v. 2008) in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

  • The issue with socialism is there was never a trial, condemnation, and execution of its leaders in a similar vein to fascists after WWII. Those 60 million murdered under Stalin, his predecessors, and the state unfortunately never found the justice they deserved. The lack of prosecution and condemnation from the West regarding that form of socialism gave the movement an open door after WWII. If there was a trial and execution of socialist leaders, as in Nuremberg, the movement would have been rightly burdened by the same indignation as fascists are today. Socialists can chalk it up to the spoils of war.

  • In reply to gwill:

    Do NOT confuse "Socialism" with what was practiced in the Soviet Union. There are "crony" varieties of EVERYthing! Furthermore, don't confuse "socialism" with "communism" as these are also not interchangable definitions, ideals, or goals in reality.

    Most importantly, "socialism" as a concept, has been practiced for eons -- well before Marx wrote "Das Kapital" and his efforts to make rational and scientific a deconstructive set of analyses of feudalism/capitalism for the European. Marx simply provided a knowledge that much of the non-European world practiced and understood and that Europeans themselves lost memory of with the rise of feudalism and Christian fiefdoms (hereditary monarchies). He never promoted any particular direct manifestation of his and Engles' thoughts (see the Communist Manifesto) and certainly would never have thought the Soviet model to be desirous!

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    "Do NOT confuse "Socialism" with what was practiced in the Soviet Union. "
    >>> how ever you define what was going on in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, it is undoubtedly closer to socialism as a concept, that capitalism.

    "There are "crony" varieties of EVERYthing!"
    >>>absolutely, and our crony variety is still the best model out there.

  • In reply to gwill:

    I agree! . . . it was crony socialism!

    And I disagree, "the Nordic Model" has taken what was good in our FDR-era model, improved upon it, and now IT is the world's best template -- by any measurable standards! All good things must adapt or get passed -- we are currently going backward, again in all measurable ways (like objective markers in access to heathcare, infant mortality, life expectancy, math and science ability and the like where we are dropping closer to 3rd world despotic countries rather than rising toward the northern European Socialist ones. This is largely due to our lack of social/civic commitment to our citizens via the aforementioned panoply of social investment. Instead, we are too busy in scheming tax breaks for the elite -- and near elite -- few).

    Remember, these Nordic/northern European countries can afford/provide a solid set of social safety while still managing to create millionaires . . . not that creating millionaires is at all a reflective measure of middle-class stability! This is something we were able to do when the unions were strong and "the government" bold. "Neo-Conservatism" seeks to repeal the 20th Century and with it all that made America . . . America. Fortunately, our projected demographic shift will likely address this regression once-and-for-all over the next generation or two.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the current ability for the United States to inspire.

    . . . but in this demographic shift there is hope for . . . America!

  • Wow, you really think your boy is the answer another four years. How bout this..... actually stop blaming Bush for once and be accountable for the hundreds of mistakes you have made during this term so far. Might be a good start. Bring him back to Chicago where he belongs, with his boy Rahm. While you are at it, try and vote in a Governor who can stay out of jail. The rest of the country is having quite the laugh.

  • In reply to Mash007:

    In the potentially racist overtone to your post, who is my "boy"? If you are referring the the President, show me anywhere that I haven't been critical of many of his centrist positions! He has made some mistakes! Like not fighting for single-payer healthcare, closing Guantanamo, continuing BUSH-era bailouts . . .

    "Blaming Bush" will continue as the "whole ball of yarn" unraveled under his two terms. For Obama to not have cleansed us from 8 years of incompetence in one term is laughable as is your perspective if you think this should be the case!

    Apparently you have trouble reading? The papers reported that Pat Quinn assumed office January 29, 2009!

    Depending what state you come from (Texas, Utah, Indiana, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, etc.) we are undoubtedly pitying you so I quess fair-is-fair! As you may know, the "blue states" roundly out perform the "red states" in GDP, literacy, access to healthcare, infant mortality, education . . . need I really go on, I don't want to make you feel bad or jealous.

  • There is a difference between a barn raising and a barn mandate.

    I would not be so quick as to criticize what Romney says, which may seem a contradiction, versus what Obama says, which has him talking from both sides of his mouth.

    I'm afraid no matter how this dust about "doing it yourself" is swept, most are seeing a certain pattern. Had Obama's words been clear to the majority, nothing Romney or the Evil Elephants could say could keep it alive.

    There are many roads in Cuba. I've been there. Yet, just because there is a road does not mean there is are successful, thriving enterprise along it. The government is your partner 51% in all but the smallest businesses, and, more often than not, not only is doing it yourself out of the question, it does not get done. Period.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    And as we know, Romney was for mandates before he was against them! What is your point?

    Romney's rhetoric will never be a good place for you to hang your rhetorical hat. I would avoid, at all costs, ever using him as an example of anything other than aristocratic greed.

    The current events literate "majority" knows well what he means. The scientifically studied, low info Fox "News" majority may be whom of which you speak? I encourage you to read this study's conclusion on the average Fox consumer.

    Okay? . . .Cuba? . . . So what? Go to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Belgum, Germany, France, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand -- you know the "socialist states" -- as I have and see how "the government" gets things done! In many of those states, "the government" isn't your partner -- they are your employer! You know, like here when we were building great things like the Hoover Dam, the National Highway System, the Panama Canal . . . need I really continue?

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    If you believe Romney's rhetoric is only an example of "aristocratic" greed, then we can look at Obama's rhetoric as dressed up (and warmed over) socialist blather.

    If I remember history correctly, too, it was not government that built the Hoover Dam, the Interstates or even the Panama Canal; the government put out specifications and the work was conducted by private citizens, most likely engaged in enterprises that they "did not build", that bid on the government specs.

    [Edited by moderator. We don't do "rants". That is why we started our own blog; so we could rant without endlessly intruding on others]

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    If you believe Obama's policies reflect that of "socialism" you are simply stuck in a propaganda feedback loop and are woefully undereducated! Again, read up on 3rd-way centrism! Obama policies reflect those of a CENTRIST! Approximately 5-10% of Obama's "negatives" are attributed to those who want him to enact more "public friendly" polices -- policies you would call "socialist". He may have "socialism" in his heart (neither of us can say without talking to the man) but his policies certainly don't reflect that!

    Perhaps this is a semantic debate but the entity, the source from whence the monies flow is ulitmately "the employer"! Those "private citizens" you speak of had jobs because of US (the taxpayer . . . "the government")! If ADP cuts your check, they are not your employer the employer is whomever funds ADP!

    WE (through "the government") MADE THOSE NATIONAL PROJECTS HAPPEN!

  • This is simply a general, observational comment.

    I can tell in some of the tone if not wording that some people may become receptive to an "alternative" perspective. Let me just suggest one thing: for those of you for whom this might be true, simply and honestly survey American history and ask yourselves, "when have the rich (the elite, the aristocratic, the 1%, whatever) ever willingly done anything for 'my' class."

    This is not a Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Whig, Green, or Socialist endeavor as all parties have their contingent of self-serving elite which is why the answer to this question must remain party neutral. They all also have had true civil servants in their day -- though the two big parties are quite short of these types today!

    For those "middle-class" that would like to vote Democratic, Green, even Socialist but for whom "culture issues" are important let me remind you of three things:

    1) I am quite sure your "god" didn't appoint you the returned "savior,"
    2) If you don't like it don't do it and,
    3) Voting against your class' interests will simply empower the elite and will end up costing you in the end.

    If those "enlightened" and curious and historically "on the right" can swollow these few relatively simple ideas . . . a new politics might be borne as this will allow for less snarky, more constructive dialogue. Clinging to positions out of habit or spite, . . . you know what is said about the finger pointer: three more are pointing at you!

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    What class are you in?

    Are you forever in this "class"?

    Class society is not something I am familiar with, at least in my mind. I am conscious that one can move either way on the class scale in the US. Many have.

    You are looking for examples of what the "aristocratic" rich have done over history for the unwashed? I'll give you an example that you can see when driving through most medium and small towns: the Carnegie Libraries, which were funded in large part by that evil steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie.

    Currently, you have Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation, giving away billions on various projects.

    Your simple ideas are non-sensical, the first two, and the third, assumes that all voters in a certain economic block identify themselves with a certain "class" based only on their economic situation, when a vote cast is often more than just about the filthy lucre but includes --gasp-- what they consider "moral" issues.

    I'm happy you see fit to let my "ramblings" back onto your blog, but I really can tell that you are committed to a more "socialist" America, which is fine, if that is what you want, and any discourse is spit into the wind.

    My salutes are to those who make no bones about what they want, be it to the left or to the right. They at least say what they mean and mean what they say. To harken back, this is why the Obama problem: he is trying to fool enough of the people that he is not a collectivist at heart. My bet is that he will succeed, because it is easier to take than to give.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "What class are you in?"
    Doesn't matter and is not germane to this discussion. Nor is it any of your business.

    "Are you forever in this “class”?"
    Statistically speaking "we" Americans are but not as rigidly as the Brits. What gets lost in the analysis (and your question) are the systemic and historical factors that result in "class intertia" for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans (many of whom were "here" far before most Europeans -- remember the Spanish Emipire of "our" West?), Native Americans, and a host of ethnic Europeans -- as well as women in general!

    You cite "charities" as your great example of what the elite has done for the middle-and-working classes (you conveniently never mention the blood, sweat, and tears of the worker as s/he enriches "the man". You never note the "black lung disease" of the coal miner as the mine "owners" smoke cigars). How benevolent to give the little people books and computers! This will really help the 15 million uninsured or the impoverished -- but they will have books and solitaire on their deathbeds (though I concede and know Gates works to eradicate AIDS as well)! Seriously, these ARE nice gestures, however something more structural is what is needed to secure the "blessings and liberties" for the middle-class. We saw this start to unfold in the 20th Century and is why Paul Ryan and his ilk are doing their lords' bidding and trying to repeal that century and "re-establish" the self-prescribed "American order".

    "Sense" can be seen as the difference between that which is imagined and that which is true, Both of my first suggestions are true (unless one really is the returned Christ figure). The inference that may be drawn from the comment post and the third suggestion speaks for itself. It is doean't make "sense" to you then that is a personal issue you will have to contend with I am afraid. As far as "class identity" is concerned, like many things . . . we are waking up and now catching up to many of our motherlands (Europe).

    I don't advocate for any specific politcal outcome, rather the just, free, and equitable nation envisaged -- and yet realized. Philosophically I guess I could be called an Envirosocialist. If you want to call that "socialism" that is your definition, but these tenets far precede the analysis of Marx/Engles, are found in the philosophies of Native Americans (indeed native peoples globally including the Vikings and Celts) and can actually be found in much biblical teaching (Matthew 25:34 for but one of many examples so I must be in good company!). "Socialism" (little "s") predates Christianity . . . so term things as you need them to make "sense" to you!

    I too applaud those who "make no bones" about their perspective(s). I only wish many on "your side" would admit to the anxiety they are under as "white males" in this time of massive and substantial change (and socio-cultural-economic shift) and admit to their longing for the days when "father knew best," when Mary Tyler Moore was a stay-at-home wife/mother not a cutting-edge journalist . . . when Archie Bunker didn't have to be jealous in his "inferiority complex" of George Jefferson's accomplishments as an entrepreneurial capitalist. "Admissions" are desired both ways.

    Hey, we agree! One of my issues with Obama is that he is a politician: like Bush before him, like most! What is in his heart we can't know but I do know that he is operationally a centrist . . . and in there I am not a big fan.

    Thank you once again Richard. As stated before, this is not meant to foster endless posturing. Your voice has been duly and respectfully offered and now in the immortal jargon of Faux News: you spoke, let the reader decide.

  • Just so you know and do not assume: I am not a total blaco-American. I would send you this privately, but you have no way of contact.

    Good luck with your vision; just remember, it cannot be fostered on any people by force or disguise, just because there are an elite few who think they know better the way the world should go. If that happens, then you have the Soviet Union, Communist China and Cuba.

    Do not worry, people are takers, gladly accepting goods and services they did not earn and have no right to, except that politics decides the situation. I just do not understand the desire to take from my neighbor, but that is life. If only the takers were brave enough to actually walk next door and demand an amount.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I do appreciate the sentiment, but luck won't be necessary. Understanding America as it continues to "transition" is what will be required. And I agree, only by way of a honest, intelligent, inclusive, thorough discussion and debate should then candidates (hopefully more than two) be offered to the people for "final" judgement! This is what makes attempts at voter supression by "the right" (Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Bros, reactionary governors, and other operatives like ALEC, Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh) so troubling as it reflects a tyrannical impulse to turn the United States into the very countries you reference -- and fear, as do I.

    Power hates the antisceptic cleansing that "truth" provides -- ask those that want to keep our food supply a secret as they resist labeling -- "ask" Christ, ask MLK, ask Ghandi. There is a burgeoning truth unfolding in our generation, in America, and they must feel some sort of clock is running out.

    But . . . clocks don't turn backwards. So the question is; why are they fighting time and the tide? What are they afraid of?

    People might be takers, but they can also be "doers" and when properly and UNselfishly "led" can reflect and charge forth in immersing themselves in the rights and responsibilities of "establishing Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defence, promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty . . .". Unfortunately such leaders are few and far between. One such leader and my personal "hero" as I write this is Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders. Others include Christ, Ghandi, Malcolm X, MLK -- the Buddah.

    You sadly end your note on a tone of hostility. Let it go. Anxiety, angst and fear eat at one's soul like a cancer. Instead of worrying about your neighbor "taking," be Christ-like and ask yourself what you might give.


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