Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mitt Romney thinks Olympic athletes are losers

So you know how Romney has been grossly misrepresenting President Obama's recent remarks about how "[i]f you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own," including in business, suggesting that the government-loving president is anti-success, or rather anti-individual success? (Basically, it's Romney lying about what Obama said, intentionally taking it out of context and refusing to debate him on the merits, and expressing the extremist Ayn Rand ethos of the Republican Party.)

Yeah, well...

As ThinkProgress notes, Romney made pretty much the exact same point in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City:

You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We've already cheered the Olympians, let's also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities.

And of course he was right. Olympians may be amazing athletes, and they may deserve the bulk of the credit for their success, but they didn't do it alone. A lot of people helped them. And, yes, government helped them too, in some way, somewhere along the way.

So, yes, Romney is a hypocrite, and he's just trying to score cheap political points. And he agreed with the president on this before he didn't:

Romney agreed with Obama as recently as last week, saying in a campaign appearance, "I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the bank, the investors. There is no question your mom and dad, your school teachers. The people who provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help."

Now, Romney was crediting "a lot of people," but not government, at least not explicitly. (In this respect, he was coming up short of Ayn Rand extremism but still siding with the anti-government mainstream of the Republican Party.)

But who builds schools, pays teachers, and supports most of the primary and secondary education system? Who builds the roads? Who funds fire departments and the police? Who are firefighters and police officers and teachers? A lot of people on the public payroll, and rightly so. He may not have mentioned government, and he may not want to, preferring to spin the right-wing lie that the private sector is all that really matters and that business would be better off if government had nothing to do with it, but the truth is that government matters a great deal to all of us -- in the case of business, both to businesses themselves, directly through tax credits and other supports and indirectly by fostering a culture in which they can succeed, and to the people who created them and work for them.

Do Romney and the Ayn Rand devotees of the Republican Party actually believe that business is better off in the Hobbesian state of nature than in civil society? Apparently so, so much do they disregard the contributions of government.

Does Romney think Olympic athletes are losers? Based on his latest lie, apparently so. Just look at all the help they needed to get where they are.

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