Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:01 am on July 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama stepped in it when he told small business owners that they didn’t deserve credit for their own success with his “you didn’t build that” speech in Roanoke, Virginia a week ago, but that wasn’t his only gaffe in his class-warfare argument.  Obama argued that government built most of our grandest ventures:

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.

Er, perhaps the White House should learn to Google.  Government built the Hoover Dam, all right, but it had nothing to do with the Golden Gate Bridge … except to get in the way of its construction, as  W. J. J. Hoge explains (via Reason):

That’s only half true. The federal government did build Hoover Dam. However, the Golden Gate Bridge was funded by a $35 million dollar bond issue by the six counties in the Golden Gate Bridge District. It was a state-authorized project built by a partnership of local governments.

Reason reveals that we owe a big debt for the Golden Gate Bridge to … the one percent:

What’s more, the conservative commentator Thomas Purcell asserted last November (Obama having been playing the Golden Gate card for a while now), “it was the ‘One Percenters’, as is the term coined of the rich and powerful these days, that built the Golden Gate, not government. More importantly, it was government that posed more obstacles for the building of the bridge than any other entity and if the Department of Defense had their way it never would have been built at all.” More Purcell:

The Department of Defense (then called the Department of War) kicked and screamed saying that the bridge would be dangerous and block the channel from ships going in an out of the Presidio base.

Since the DOD owned the land on either side of the channel, there was no way to build it without Federal approval, and they refused to grant it.

After another year of wrangling, and some heavy support from the fledgling automotive industry lobbying (yes, they had lobbyists back then too), the DOD finally relents and allows construction of the bridge, but only sells the land back to the state commission and does not participate in its construction.

Construction did not go as smoothly as planned. It takes another FIVE years for the government and the architects to come to agreement on the design. Furthermore, Federal contractor unions wanted the contracts to build the bridge and stalled the government on the issue, demanding they take action to halt construction unless they got the contract. Fortunately, local authorities insisted that as part of the contract only local labor would be used instead of Federal union contracts, insuring the area had work during Depression era unemployment.

The financing of the bridge came from private industry and local landowners, too, as Purcell explains, emphases mine:

A second problem in 1929 when the US Stock Market collapsed made for more problems. The Golden Gate committee now has trouble issuing the bond needed for the construction of the bridge, even though the citizens of the surrounding area had put up their own personal lands and farms as collateral. It takes 3 more years and the wealthy President and founder of Bank of America, A.P. Giannini, to personally buy the 35 million dollar bond which he then finances through the bank. Without the bank and the intervention of private industry fueled by personal wealth, again the bridge would not have been built. By 1937 the bridge is completed—and Strauss delivers the bridge 1.7 million UNDER budget, using local non-union labor and private contractors.

The Golden Gate Bridge is not a symbol of government planning or a government project—it is a bridge built DESPITE government setbacks and government intervention and is the sole achievement of individuals working in and with the private sector to overcome these obstacles.

How many more grand projects might the private sector produce if government wasn’t confiscating one dollar out of every four?  Perhaps enough to build a research center, which Obama and his speechwriters rather desperately need.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!


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The gub’mint did it for me…

OmahaConservative on July 20, 2012 at 8:03 AM

mitt is taking him out of context once again
-lsm

cmsinaz on July 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM

How many more grand projects might the private sector produce if government wasn’t confiscating one dollar out of every four? Perhaps enough to build a research center, which Obama and his speechwriters rather desperately need.

Nice backhand, but don’t you think that having Google, Inc. in your back pocket is enough for the WH? I guess they don’t let their control of Google impede their ignorance in using it, eh?

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Moochy remembers sitting on her father’s lap watching live on tv as the last rivet was fastened to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bishop on July 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

The Golden Gate Bridge is not a symbol of government planning or a government project—it is a bridge built DESPITE government setbacks

We’re going to take credit for that one anyway, so shove off.

/The Government.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

+1

cmsinaz on July 20, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I did a 5K run over and back of this bridge a few years ago. It was a clear and uncommonly sunny day in June. It was simply breathtaking.
Thank you big daddy sugar government for making that happen for me……./

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

However, the Golden Gate Bridge was funded by a $35 million dollar bond issue by the six counties in the Golden Gate Bridge District.

San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Del Norte in case you were wondering.

steebo77 on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

What? We going to go through that Let’s Re-write History B.S., AGAIN?!!!

“….were it not for the vision of Barack Obama, the Great Pyramid of Giza would not have been even dreamt of…..”

pilamaye on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Pretty much the same for his claim about the Internet. When first devised as the ARPANET all commercial activity was FORBIDDEN! I suppose that could be tomorrows obamateurism.

JimK on July 20, 2012 at 8:12 AM

However, the Golden Gate Bridge was funded by a $35 million dollar bond issue by the six counties in the Golden Gate Bridge District.

help me out with something. These people had to have voted on that bond issue. Does that mean that there was a “tax” that occurred, or did people voluntarily buy a bond? *ignorance showing*

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

“of course the pResident meant there are roads leading to the bridge. Without those, the bridge wouldn’t be successful.” – j. carney

Lost in Jersey on July 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

“….were it not for the vision of Barack Obama, the Great Pyramid of Giza would not have been even dreamt of…..”

pilamaye on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Yeah, well Obama is interested in keeping the pyramid scam of entitlements going for as long as he can bitterly cling to office. Who cares what happens after that, right?

CitizenEgg on July 20, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Ed remember a couple of years back when you had as an Obamateurism his editorial in the Smithsonian Magazine in which he had the federal government building the Erie Canal when actually it was the State of New York? This is like that; he just never learns.

radjah shelduck on July 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Voters in the six newly-formed Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District counties went to the polls on Nov 4, 1930 to approve a major bond issue during the depths of the Depression to fund construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Promises made during the campaign were amusing. This 1930 campaign brochure promised that tolls on the proposed bridge would drop to 25 cents a car by 1960, and transit across the span would be free by 1970. The “yes” vote was 145,697, and 47,005 voted “no.” The bridge also replaced the profitable Sausalito ferry, but the District, later, raised tolls to support an expensive, and unprofitable, bus and ferry system.

The total bond issue to be voted upon at the election November 4 for the Golden Gate Bridge, will be $35,000,000. Total earnings in 40 years will be $110,942,800. Bonded indebtedness in any one of the six counties included in the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District will not be increased by the approval of the bond issue.

The bridge will pay for itself out of tolls. These tolls will redeem the bond issue, pay all interest, pay for maintenance of the bridge and accumulate a vast profit–not less than $17,242,800, within the 40 year period.

It is the consensus of opinion of all who have studied the subject that the construction of this span will increase property values not only in the territory tributary to the bridge, but throughout the entire metropolitan bay area.

The Golden Gate Bridge will eliminate dependence on a ferry system which has reached its saturation point.


Thank you, Google.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

The funniest (saddest?) thing about Lefties praising the Hoover dam is that something like that could never, ever get built these days because of the EPA and radical Greens that have infested the Dem party. Pathetic.

visions on July 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM

That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge.

I would hope the citizens of the state of California would take umbrage with this, alas, they probably still think he’s awesome.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

And don’t forget folks, welfare = contractual loans that are repaid:
 

Did many business owners grow up with government help in the way of housing assistance, food stamps, and student loans? YES
 
They certainly did NOT build that success on their own – they’ve had tons of help on the way.
 
inthemiddle on July 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

 
Obama 2012!!/!

rogerb on July 20, 2012 at 8:25 AM

The bridge also replaced the profitable Sausalito ferry, but the District, later, raised tolls to support an expensive, and unprofitable, bus and ferry system.

I wonder if those ferry workers were unionized or if they ever EVER were able to find meaningful work after this ATM bridge was installed.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

If the unions had gotten the contract the bridge might still be unfinished.

docflash on July 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM

…did JugEars ever take a history or civics course?

KOOLAID2 on July 20, 2012 at 8:36 AM

FUBO

Electrongod on July 20, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Oh..

My prayers to Aurora, Colorado

Electrongod on July 20, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Well, the govt did build the roads to the bridge so that proves that they couldn’t have built the bridge without help along the way.

Kissmygrits on July 20, 2012 at 8:41 AM

If the unions had gotten the contract the bridge might still be unfinished.

docflash on July 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Excellent. Humor really does work best when founded on truth.

swinia sutki on July 20, 2012 at 8:43 AM

It is time for Bark to take credit for the Government having ‘invented’ Global Warming. They ‘funded’ it. They own it.

Yoop on July 20, 2012 at 8:43 AM

So in the beginning, God didn’t create nuthin’ by Himself…

Kraken on July 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Couple excerpts on the founder of Bethlehem Steel, who built the bridge:

A major part of Bethlehem Steel’s success was the development of the H-beam, a precursor of today’s ubiquitous I-beam. Schwab was interested in mass producing the wideflange steel beam, but that was a risky venture that required raising capital and building a large new plant, all to make a product whose ability to sell was unproven. In his most famous remark, Schwab told his secretary, “I’ve thought the whole thing over, and if we are going bust, we will go bust big.”

He spent his last years in a small apartment. He could no longer afford the taxes on “Riverside” and it was seized by creditors. He had offered to sell the mansion at a huge loss but there were no takers.

At his death ten years later, Schwab’s holdings in Bethlehem Steel were virtually worthless, and he was over US$ 300,000 in debt.

forest on July 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Nice Bridge you got there, it’s be a shame if anything happened to it!

Sheesh

Mini-14 on July 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Thank you, Google.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Wow Ted, you did that research in three minutes. You have eliminated yourself from consideration as a speechwriter for Obama!

Spiders from Mars on July 20, 2012 at 9:03 AM

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.

Moving on from the Golden Gate Bridge gaffe, I’d like to see more examples a bit closer to our founding than the GI Bill (from O’s perspective of course). The Left believes unions built the middle class, so “we” refers to everyone in or supportive of the labor movement. You’re only a “worker” if you’re in a union. The rest of “you/us” can go to hell as far as “they” are concerned.

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

How many more grand projects might the private sector produce if government wasn’t confiscating one dollar out of every four? Perhaps enough to build a research center, which Obama and his speechwriters rather desperately need.

No amount of money in the world can eradicate stupid. These are not arcane facts that a PROFESSIONAL speechwriter might not have access to in the course of drafting one of Obama’s insipid campaign speeches.

The fact of the matter is that it is the ideoloogy that no human being can do anything without government assistance which is truly offensive about Obama’s remarks. Yes, businesses benefited from public projects like roads and sewer systems BUT it took individual initiative and hard work to make that business successful- not government intervention.

This is less an OOTD than it is confirmation that the jug-eared Kenyan needs to be voted out of office in November. His socialist ideas and policies truly make him less of an American than Mitt Romney.

Happy Nomad on July 20, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Obama Schedule || Friday, July 20, 2012

by Keith Koffler on July 19, 2012, 11:45 pm

9:25 am || Departs West Palm Beach
10:00 pm || Arrives Fort Myers, Florida
11:20 am || Delivers remarks at fundraiser; Harborside Event Center, Fort Myers
1:35 pm || Departs Fort Myers
2:15 pm || Arrives Orlando
4:10 pm || Delivers remarks at fundraiser; Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
6:10 pm || Departs Orlando
8:20 pm || Arrives White House

Presidentin’ is hard! So are math and history~~~~~

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

The Left believes unions built the middle class, so “we” refers to everyone in or supportive of the labor movement. You’re only a “worker” if you’re in a union. The rest of “you/us” can go to hell as far as “they” are concerned.

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

“Believes” undersells what is a tenet of faith among the left. To them, it is an irrefutable fact that the unions created the middle class. Of course it is a stupid bit of propaganda repeated so often it has come to be the underpinnings of leftist ideology. That is why, as the unions (particularly public sector unions) crumble, the left has doubled down on the myth that unions created anything.

Happy Nomad on July 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Presidentin’ is hard! So are math and history~~~~~

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I can’t help but noticing that Obama’s laser-like focus on jobs is missing from the public schedule. Must be an oversight.

Happy Nomad on July 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

PS: Don’t the envirowackos who fund O’s campaign hate dams? Something about endangered Delta Smelts or something? Could the Hoover Dam be built today?

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Moochy remembers sitting on her father’s lap watching live on tv as the last rivet was fastened to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bishop on July 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Yes it was 1969 and his father had just walked in after liberating Auschwitz with MLK.

CorporatePiggy on July 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I can’t help but noticing that Obama’s laser-like focus on jobs is missing from the public schedule. Must be an oversight.

Happy Nomad on July 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Yes, he worries day and night about the economy and unemployment, doesn’t he?

Bmore asked that I post these schedules when possible. Keith Koffler at http://www.whitehousedossier.com/ posts them each day, and they are archived.

There’s nothing like a few facts to refute his outrageous lies. It’s obvious that the only job he’s interested in is his.

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I can’t help but noticing that Obama’s laser-like focus on jobs is missing from the public schedule. Must be an oversight.

Happy Nomad on July 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

The laser doesn’t operate in a spectrum humans can see.

But dogs fear it…

Kraken on July 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I do hope O is picking up the tab for yesterday’s and today’s events in their entirety. I’d like to hear him say, “You didn’t pay for that”.

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:32 AM

C’mon….. you know who’s paying the tab. I think Wednesday is the only day this week that he had meetings with Cabinet members.

Check this out (along with the body language….. there’s that finger again when he’s talking about the opposition):

http://www.therightscoop.com/desperation-obama-tells-supporters-to-hit-mute-button-or-fast-forward-through-ads-about-him-on-tv/

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Does poking at your ear a sign mean “I’m about to unload a bunch of stupid b.s. at you gullible fools” in body language?

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Does poking at your ear a sign mean “I’m about to unload a bunch of stupid b.s. at you gullible fools” in body language?

Buy Danish on July 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Not sure. I think that just comes naturally without much thought. What I noticed is that he uses his middle finger rather reflexively when he mentions certain topics, like people he doesn’t like.

He’s incredible juvenile.

Cody1991 on July 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Yeah but Romney tried to get the bridge cancelled when he worked at Bain and he made his dog ride on top of his car. Obama is a perfect man you wingnuts….and shut up!

Oldnuke on July 20, 2012 at 10:04 AM

What? We going to go through that Let’s Re-write History B.S., AGAIN?!!!

“….were it not for the vision of Barack Obama, the Great Pyramid of Giza would not have been even dreamt of…..”

pilamaye on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Don’t forget Al Gore. He invented bridges.

Laura in Maryland on July 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The trolls, where are the trolls?

Oldnuke on July 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

and transit across the span would be free by 1970.

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Er, nope. I was there in April, and if you are San Fran bound from Marin you will pay a toll.

Tolls, once instituted, rarely go away and cash cows are funny like that. The bridge requires constant maintenance, in a harsh marine environment this is to be expected, corrosion never sleeps.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Obama is doing an excellent job of debunking the myth he’s some sort of intellectual.

RobertE on July 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Wow Ted, you did that research in three minutes. You have eliminated yourself from consideration as a speechwriter for Obama!

Spiders from Mars on July 20, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I learned enough to at least edit out Golden Gate from that speech…..

ted c on July 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Sorry, Ed, but I have to push back on this one.

First, you say this:

Obama argued that government built most of our grandest ventures

Then (using Hoge’s words) you say this:

the Golden Gate Bridge was funded by a $35 million dollar bond issue by the six counties in the Golden Gate Bridge District. It was a state-authorized project built by a partnership of local governments.

Yeah, Ed, that would be exactly what Obama was proposing: the government built it. Nowhere in Obama’s speech (that I have seen) does he insist that all the things which he points out were built by the federal government.

Swing and a miss on this one, Ed. (It’s okay – even Aaron whiffed a few in his day.)

GWB on July 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Learning history is such a bother.

It’s way easier to just make stuff up.

Tim_CA on July 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Aren’t their tons of libraries and museums and hospitals and scholarships and universities buildings given to us by those evil so called “Robber Barons”? Romney needs to take this and run with it.

Cindy Munford on July 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Just more proof of how super scary smart 0bama is.

jukin3 on July 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Yes, he worries day and night about the economy and unemployment, doesn’t he?

Hey RACIIIIISTTTT, Owebama can multitask you know. Here he partnered with Mexico to bring food stamps to illegals Mexican nationals.

katablog.com on July 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I’m surprised nobody commented on this:

By 1937 the bridge is completed—and Strauss delivers the bridge 1.7 million UNDER budget, using local non-union labor and private contractors.

hopeful on July 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I keep emphasizing that Romney is right: Obama’s comments were not a “gaffe”, they were a frank expression of his ideology. He either does not know history or knowingly lies about history in order to advocate a view of society in which government is the engine for society in all ways. He claims a “bottom-up” approach, but in fact it is completely “top-down”.

He thinks government forms society; in fact society forms the government it needs. Government then begins to form itself against society.

He thinks government makes the economy go; in fact the economy existed before government and causes the government to respond. The Transcontinental RR is an example of the government responding well, the GG Bridge is an example of government responding badly when it perceives its interest as opposed to the economic interests driving the development.

If he were half as intelligent as he wants us to think he is, he would look at Solyndra, his whole government experience with green energy, GM and the Volt and he would have a moment of clarity and understand that government cannot create a market. If there is a market private enterprise will find it (that old, nasty profit motive) and go after it. And in some cases private enterprise can create a market (the Apple desktop), but that takes vision and initiative and creativity, three qualities government does not, cannot and never will possess.

So Romney needs to do what he’s been doing but step it up a notch, esp when it comes to Bain, and make the case that we are a capitalist economy and should remain one. Greed may not be good, but the profit motive is. Sometimes it does not work out perfectly for all concerned, but it is what keeps the curve rising. Obama’s view and approach depresses the curve and works out badly for almost everybody.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on July 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM

The goon and oaf knows nothing, except how to fool the idiots, for votes alone. Period.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM