Sen. Rand Paul relentlessly pounded his disingenuous "You Did Build That" catchphrase during his Ayn Randian speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday night.
The Republican Party has apparently decided to continue to harp on a poorly worded line President Barack Obama uttered in a speech political eons ago, resorting to bending, twisting and warping the snippet and in fact making "We Built It" Mitt Romney's campaign slogan, rather than finding an uplifting slogan of its own rooted in truth.
One can imagine the furor brewing in the West Wing of the White House as Obama's press people watched Rand Paul -- son of Rep. Ron Paul, the man who shadowed the whole RNC with his refusal to drop out of the race and whose name has been chanted throughout the proceedings to the GOP's embarrassment -- seemingly go on forever with the notion that Obama believes prosperity is rooted solely in government.
In fact, all Obama was trying to say -- and, admittedly, doing a pretty bad job of conveying -- was that business owners are important and that they drive job growth and the economy, but that they don't do it entirely on their own. They instead rely on an educated workforce, much of which has been taught at public schools. And they rely as well on the roads, sewers and bridges that government builds.
The president's point was that of course it is important to respect and help business owners, but there needs to be a sustained commitment to infrastructure and investing in the future if there is going to be any way for those companies to continue making money and products and creating jobs and economic growth. It was a clumsy defense of the idea that the government can be a help, not just a hindrance, and it is par for the course in a presidential campaign for the more liberal candidate to say such things.
Republicans have fully embraced the idea, however, that government only hurts Americans (of course except when it's the military, and farm subsidies, and corporate tax breaks, and...) and that it needs to be reduced (get rid of welfare, cut Medicaid, no more social programs) for the good of the people who take advantage of the offerings it provides. In fact their budgetary proposals are based almost entirely on those ideas.
But Rand Paul took it to a whole new level Wednesday night, slamming Democrats with the charge that they don't trust business owners, and that they believe only government can get America out of the economic hole it has been slowly clawing its way out of:
"When I heard the current president say you didn't build that I was first insulted, then I was angered, then I was saddened that anyone in this country, and much less the president, believes roads create business and not the other way around," he said, later adding, "When the president says you didn't build that, he's flat out wrong. Businessmen and -women did build that."
And at the close of his remarks the freshman Kentucky senator combined that skewed message with the Objectivism of his idol (and namesake) Ayn Rand to create a narrative wholly divorced from reality that suggests that Obama and the Democrats are trying to take rights away from Americans and in doing so will cause the decline of American greatness:
"We must step forward unabashedly and proclaim you did build that, you earned that, you worked hard, you studied, you labored, you did build that and you deserve America's undying gratitude for you, the individual, are the engine of America's greatness. Thank you."