The Republican National Convention’s organizers probably thought they were being clever. They announced this week that on the second night of the gathering – with local, state, and federal officials standing by to help in the event of a hurricane – they’d host a “We Built It” day.
The idea, of course, is to mock President Obama’s belief that public institutions and government investments help create a society in which the private sector thrives. Republicans intend to host their “We Built It” day in an arena largely financed by taxpayers.
Wait, it gets worse.
On the day that the GOP convention will tout Fox-fueled myth “We Built It” as its primary theme, Delaware Lt. Gov. candidate and small business owner Sher Valenzuela is slated to deliver a speech about small business issues. But contrary to the evening’s theme, Valenzuela’s company, First State Manufacturing, has received millions of dollars in federal loans and contracts. Valenzuela has not only attributed her success in part to this outside assistance, but urged other small business owners to follow the same strategy of seeking government funds.
Media Matters found that Valenzuela even gave a presentation earlier this year on her small business success, crediting the use of “millions of dollars in secure government contracts.” She encouraged other entrepreneurs to take advantage of public institutions and government investments to help their businesses get ahead.
Making matters slightly worse, a featured guest at a Paul Ryan event yesterday boasted about getting government funding to help build his business, and in a new op-ed on his private-sector background, Mitt Romney boasted today about the success of many Bain businesses, several of which have benefited from government largesse.
As attacks go, this out-of-context smear has always been problematic. Romney was desperate to prove that American free enterprise thrives without the support of government, but when he pointed to examples, they all thrived thanks to the support of public institutions and tax dollars. This happened over and over and over and over again, ultimately proving that the entire line of attack is self-defeating.
And the problem will apparently continue, as if self-awareness no longer matters at all.