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Mitt Romney: Each Business Owner Must Build His Own Roads and Bridges

07/31/2012 10:50 am ET | Updated Sep 30, 2012
  • Ian Reifowitz Author of 'Obama’s America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity'

It's pretty simple, folks. Mitt Romney thinks each business owner must build his or her own roads and bridges. What other conclusion can we draw from his absolute and utter rejection of the following statement by Barack Obama?

Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. 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.

As most of you know, Romney blasted Obama for that statement. First there was the ad, (for now we'll leave aside the fact that the ad completely distorted Obama's original statement by slicing and dicing it into something else. Jon Stewart noted: "This deliberate misstating and misrepresentation of Obama's position is now the centerpiece of Romney's campaign.") Then his campaign put up a website, which also led with the truncated, out-of-context quotation from President Obama.

But Romney went further when asked about whether the misleadingly edited quote was taken out of context. On CNBC he told Larry Kudlow:

I found the speech even more disconcerting than just that particular line. The context is worse than the quote.

So let's connect the dots here. Governor Romney finds the whole speech, even when taken in context, to be "even more disconcerting." To my mind, the speech is little more than common sense to anyone who lives in the real world and is honest about how a business actually works. But what do I know compared to a ginormously successful businessman?

All President Obama is saying is that an American who builds a business nevertheless relies on the investments made by America as a society in things like schools, that educate most of us, including people who work in each and every business, and of course the roads and bridges necessary for virtually all business owners to be able to send and receive goods, and for their employees to be able to get to work, and customers to be able to get to their stores.

Since Mitt Romney finds such ideas to be so "disconcerting," since he utterly rejects them as "strange" and even "foreign," we can draw only one conclusion:

Governor Romney thinks each business owner must build his or her own roads and bridges. In his mind, "that" is the American way.