Streetwise Professor

November 29, 2018

News for Barry: You Didn’t Build That

Filed under: Economics,Energy,Politics — cpirrong @ 9:59 am

Hard as it is to believe, it appears that Obama has become even more supercilious since his departure from the Oval Office.  All of his sneering grandiosity was on display during a visit to Houston.  (I hope you are sitting down for this: I didn’t attend!)

Being in Texas, Obama felt that he should be thanked for the dramatic growth in US oil production: “You wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I as president. That whole, suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas—that was me, people.”

I’m wracking my brain here, trying to recall something he said some years ago.  Oh yeah, I remember now: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

Barry: you definitely didn’t build that.  Yet you claim credit anyways.  You remind me of the rooster that believes the sun rises because he crows.

Long-time commenter Howard Roark noted to me on Twitter that the “you didn’t build it” remark was arguably the worst of his many execrable utterances.  That’s probably true, and he makes it all the worse by claiming credit for building something which he had less than bupkis to do with.

Obama also claimed credit for the economy’s recent performance.   He noted, in essence, that the first derivative in GDP was positive during his term, so that he is responsible for the first derivative being positive now.  Apparently the man who is so smart that he can apply the theory of relativity to constitutional law doesn’t understand second derivatives.  Economic growth has accelerated markedly under the Trump administration, and has achieved 3.5 percent growth, something that Obama dismissed as an impossibility when he was criticized for the anemic 1-2 percent growth rate in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis (when one would have expected growth at a rate above long term trend, not below). (I love the title of the linked paper, by the way.  Hilarious!)

But Obama was done.  After claiming credit for building everything, he shared his deep thoughts on identity politics:

“Which is why, by the way, when I hear people say they don’t like identity politics, I think it’s important to remember that identity politics doesn’t just apply when it’s black people or gay people or women,” Obama said. “The folks who really originated identity politics were the folks who said Three-Fifths Clause and all that stuff. That was identity politics … Jim Crow was identity politics. That’s where it started.”

He’s largely correct that Jim Crow and “all that stuff” was identity politics.  But rather than using this to show that identity politics is fundamentally wrong, he uses it to somehow validate its current incarnation.  It happened before, so you can’t criticize it now.  Two wrongs make a right.   You did it to us, so we get to do it to you.

Please go away.  So we can miss you.  Except that I won’t.  But go away anyways.



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  1. Myself, I thought the lowest point of his public oratory was when he responded to an atrocity committed by muslims with the words ‘this has less to do with islam than with any other religion’.
    All references to which appear to have been memory-holed.
    But yes ‘you didn’t build that’ was deeply insulting to anyone who has ever spent years pouring their soul into a small business.

    Comment by Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — November 29, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

  2. I still think it was reasonable to gamble on him rather than McCain. Why you kept him when you could have had Romney beats me.

    Also remember it might have been Hillary that first time – he’s due some thanks for seeing her off then. Has anyone tried praising him as a Trump before his time?

    My favourite Obamanation was his claim that the motor car was an American invention.

    Comment by dearieme — November 29, 2018 @ 3:08 pm

  3. The three-fifths clause was *anti-slavery.* The southern states wanted to include enslaved blacks as part of the census count that determined the number of members a state sent to the House of Representatives.

    Allowing this to happen would have locked in permanent dominance of the House by southern slave-states. The anti-slavery group wanted to prevent that.

    The three-fifths clause was the final compromise. No compromise would have meant a southern walk-out from the Constitutional Convention, and the formation of an independent slave-holding country to the south.

    Obama probably knows that history, and doesn’t care. He’s been a race-baiter from day one.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 30, 2018 @ 11:47 am

  4. What I want to know – were there actually people in attendance of his posturing?
    In Texas?
    Hard to believe

    Comment by ETat — December 1, 2018 @ 9:57 am

  5. @ETat–Rice University. Elite private university. And there are a lot of lefties in Houston. I sometimes say there is Houston, and there is Texas.

    Comment by cpirrong — December 1, 2018 @ 1:09 pm

  6. Thank god I only have friends in Dallas and Fort Worth…Well, they would not be lefties no matter where they live.

    Comment by ETat — December 1, 2018 @ 4:08 pm

  7. @ETat–there are a lot of non-lefties and gen-u-ine Texans in Houston, but it’s the 4th largest city in the US and there are a lot of lefties. Beto (a truly nauseating figure) did well here, and enthusiasm for his candidacy drove turnout that pushed several Democrats to wins over Republican Congressional incumbents.

    Comment by cpirrong — December 1, 2018 @ 6:47 pm

  8. …which makes it much more difficult for people like me, who want to escape 100%-Dem-owned cities (like NY), to move to the sane ground.
    I have tried during Recession – was looking for work in TX and met with very suspicious attitude from recruiters; remained where I am.
    It is becoming more and more annoying to withstand lefty hysteria in my day-to-day life. They know no lines in the sand…not only speak of, but practice politics at work. I am fed up.

    Comment by ETat — December 2, 2018 @ 9:09 am

  9. @ETat–I can definitely sympathize. You can avoid lefty hysteria in Houston–but you can find it if you want it 😉 But don’t go to Austin! Can’t avoid it there. Texas is your best shot, actually. Sorry that you met with skepticism. Maybe with the robust job market your prospects would be better now.

    And yes. No lines in the sand. It’s like the Cultural Revolution. Complete obeisance, or you are destroyed.

    Comment by cpirrong — December 2, 2018 @ 7:53 pm

  10. Yes, thanks for your kind words. That’s my “5-yr Plan” – if nothing interferes again, like f.i. another recession.

    -And like Cultural Revolution, mobile bands of Hóng Wèibīng, with familiar perversity called anti-fa…

    Comment by ETat — December 3, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

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