Thursday, August 30, 2012

Here is what the Pres ACTUALLY said in reference to the "You did not build that" quote. See how I re-phrase it and ask why ANOTHER sentence in what he said is not talked about at all..

Below are some of the before and after sentences from the now famous off-teleprompter comments from President Obama that resulted in the "You did not build that" mantra.
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. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
The fuss is what he actually meant.  I don't really know, to tell the truth.  If you take the highlighted sentence as a stand alone sentence and then it is confusing--and you have to put that at the feet of the President.  Awkward phrasing at the minimum.

Supporters of the President suggest that he was referring back to the previous sentence--"Somebody invested in roads and bridges" and the "you did not build that" refers to the fact that businesses did not actually physically build the roads and bridges.

Did he mean to say (my revisions and emphasis):  "Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business---you did not build THOSE roads and bridges.  Somebody else made those roads and bridges happen".

This is STILL very inelegant to me! I don't really know what "somebody" refers to exactly---Government transportation workers? Wall Street Bond dealers who sell municipal construction bonds for construction projects?  Private contractors who actually invest in the equipment to build roads and bridges? Voters who approve bond elections and PAY TAXES to fund the roads?

I think ANOTHER line in the Presidents statement is curious and not sure why it has not attracted more attention:
"Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."
Does it help to have the line preceding it for reference?  Did the government researchers 50 years ago develop the internet with the expressed goal of creating a market for it in which companies will get fabulously rich? Emphatic no! Yes, you could say "You KNOW what he meant!!". True, but that is not what he said.  This sentence is just as awkward as the other.  I get hung up on the "so that" connector.  If I was grading this as a test, I would put a question mark over/on it.

The only line with positive effect, in my opinion, is the last sentence.  I can buy that---to an extent. 
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