Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

The Road to Welfaredom

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 29, 2010

In what could arguably go down as one of the most laughable quotes ever to come out of the office of an American President, Real Clear Politics lands this Moby Dick of bullsh*t from President Obama, during remarks that were apparently uttered yesterday:

“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

The link will take you to actual footage of these words, from a man who’s shaping up to be the ultimate barker in the carnival of anti-capitalist, anti-free market insanity.

I spent a part of my day (ok, the last 15 minutes or so) parsing the sentence quoted above.  There’s a lot of voodoo in this sentence, and I would urge most readers to not dismiss it as Obama simply pimping to a room of “ordinary Americans.”  Not at all.  In fact, these words are quite lethal.

“I want to be clear…”

I only add that because it’s a staple of any Obama speech, and I find it funny.

“[W]e’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success…”

Oh, heavens no.  By no means does the President or his cadre of tax cheats and bank failure friends begrudge success.  They’re hugely, massively, hilariously wealthy.  The President himself is wealthy by nearly any standard you want to measure him against.  And they’re getting more wealthy every day.  And you, Ordinary Citizen, are not to begrudge them this success.

“[success] that’s fairly earned…”

We do not need a financial reform, headed by hand-picked success auditors, to begrudge success that’s fairly earned.  What we need to do is create measuring devices to determine what is fairly earned, and what is not fairly earned.  What is fairly earned will be ours.  What is not fairly earned will be theirs.

This right here is us.  That over there is them.  And all around is a system of class warfare.

I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.

A personal aside: I am a producer, not a moocher.  I’m also a capitalist, and notoriously greedy.  I’m greedy for myself and I’m greedy for my neighbors.  And yet even I (yes, me!) think that there’s a certain point that you’ve made enough money.

And that point is… when there’s no more money left for you to possibly make.  Either the day isn’t long enough, the market has been tapped, saturated, milked dry, or else when the spirit is willing but the body is unable, even I know that there’s a certain point when someone has made enough money.

But I’m not the person who gets to decide that.  Our markets get to define that.  Our demand gets to define it.  Our supply gets to quantify it.

But not the President of the United States.  And not Congress.  And not even “community organizers” shouting vaguely bubble-gummy flavored slogans.

There’s any number of directions that the speechwriter (or the President himself) could have taken the end of that statement.

It could have been said, for example, “I do think that at a certain point Wall Street has made enough money.”

Wall Street is made up of big boys and girls who are used to being rolled around.  Insulting Wall Street is like insulting used car salesmen and lawyers: it really can’t even be done.  Giving the imaginary Monopoly Guy who rules Wall Street a delicious cod punch is always a crowd pleaser, and plays well to the “ordinary Americans.”  Talk about fired up and ready to go!  Nearly every flunky working in an Organizing for America office would have stood and cheered at that one.

The President may also have said, “I do think that at a certain point people who wish to commit fraud have made enough money.”

If he had said that, then I think we could reach a milquetoast agreement that he said something true.  That breaking the law to make money is unethical and immoral.  That gains must not be ill-gotten.  We all could have been happy.

Is this a case of the President committing a Freudian slip?  Or one of a work weary blogger totally over analyzing and blowing out of proportion a throwaway line in yet another of our President’s ridiculously dumb speeches?

I hope it’s the latter.  I hope years from now we can sit back and laugh, like we do when we think of, well, basically anything that came out of the mouth of James Earl Carter.

But I don’t think this is going to be.  I’m deeply suspicious that, years from now, we’re going to sit back and wish we’d paid closer attention to the things this man said.  To the way he said them.  To the way he liked to utter “us” and “them,” all the while meaning himself, his friends, his cronies, his confidants.

And all the while not realizing that when he said “you” at the end of that line, he really did mean you and me.

One Response to “The Road to Welfaredom”

  1. Dan Draney said

    Paraphrasing Glenn Reynolds: Obama as the second coming of Jimmy Carter? That’s looking like a best case scenario these days.

    Often people will reveal their real plans and viewpoints by a preemptive denial. It’s a tipoff that they know what they are saying/doing looks really bad, because it is bad. Think Tricky Dick: “Let me be perfectly clear: I am not a crook.” That’s exactly what this is:

    Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned.

    And the confirmation is in the very next sentence:

    I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

    He might even have ad libbed that, because he does love the sound of his own voice, and it sounds like something that a thoughtful speaker/writer would have left out.

    I’d say everyone would agree that at a certain point they have made enough money. These days that means, “Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home.”

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