Hillary Clinton has now joined Obama in making a decidedly anti-business remark. While the camps of both politicians attempted to explain these away as gaffes, they still raise a host questions. The most important of which is how these two top Democratic leaders actually feel about the private sector, in which the vast majority of Americans work.
The other week at a Boston rally, Hillary Clinton came out with this jaw-dropper: “Don’t let anybody tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs.” If that sounds more than vaguely reminiscent, it should. Obama said essentially the same thing in a 2012 campaign rally. Speaking about infrastructure and the wealthy paying higher taxes, Obama took verbal flight: “…If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
While both politicians’ camps sought to undo the damage — Hillary doing so three days later at another Massachusetts rally — when two people of such importance make essentially the same huge mistake, it raises a host of questions America should be asking.
To put both these statements into proper context, we must be clear that they could not be more wrong. They are the very opposite of the truth — the economic version of saying that the sky is not blue and grass not green.
On a personal level, their statements equate to coming home on your anniversary and telling your spouse “I want a divorce,” instead of saying “happy anniversary!” For mistakes of such magnitude, it is impossible to simply let them go by unexamined.
The first thing that springs to mind is, if these were mistakes, how come such mistakes never happen the other way? Saying something correctly or incorrectly is a 50-50 proposition. How is it that such liberal misstatements always go one way — contrary to economic reality? We do not hear Obama saying “government doesn’t do anything,” and then having to correct it later. When have you ever heard a liberal explaining they did not mean to say something that was pro-business?
The second point is: How do you say it? Some things are just so preposterous that they do not come out of our mouths under any circumstances. Even if the words were printed on the page, we do not read them — or we immediately and instinctively self-correct them. Presumably, Hillary and Obama see speech texts before they read them. And we hope we can assume that they do not read things, simply because they are put before them. These are supposed to be two of America’s smartest public figures, not Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy.
Thirdly, if we make a mistake of such huge magnitude, usually our audience’s reaction will tip us off. Going back to the anniversary analogy, you can bet your spouse’s reaction would tell you that you had not said “happy anniversary.” And if it did not, it would tell us a lot about our spouse, and our marriage.
Similarly, the audience tells us a lot about the speaker. If after Hillary and Obama said these things, shouldn’t the audience have given a noticeable reaction to the flub? If they did not, then it should make us wonder just who these people are that Hillary and Obama were trying to reach, and what lengths they will have to go to reach them.
Fourth, if you make an error of that magnitude, you do not wait for days to correct it. You do not go back to your spouse and say “Honey, when I said I wanted a divorce three days ago on our anniversary, I misspoke.” Big mistakes need immediate correction. We do not need to consult with others about whether we made them, or when we should make amends.
The fact that these mistakes were made, and not immediately corrected, leads to three very concerning conclusions: These people are not as smart as we thought they were, they did not know they had made a mistake, or they did not care that they had made one. All three are telling, the last two especially.
If they did not realize they had made a mistake, then it is hard not to see these as Freudian slips — saying what we really think, rather than really thinking about what we are saying. If they did not care they had made a mistake, then they are akin to the old Saturday Night Live skits featuring Subliminal Man, where they were actually saying sotto voce, what they themselves think and want others to believe.
The same anti-private sector mistake, of the same magnitude, says far more, to a far larger audience, than either Hillary or Obama intended.
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