Roger’s Rules

James Taranto hits it out of the park

Even if you do nothing else today, read James Taranto’s “Explaining Obama’s Ressentiment” in The Wall Street Journal today. On one level, it is just another comment on Obama’s suicidal anti-entrepreneurial statement that “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  The airwaves, cyberspace, and the print media have been full of astonished responses to that specimen piece of socialist rhetoric. The Romney campaign aired “These Hands,” a terrific video, and Romney himself has weighed in with one of his most effective speeches to date on the subject.  But Taranto adds something new. First, in response to an Obama ad claims that Obama’s takeover of GM “saved” the bankrupt motor company, he notes that the claim is “fraudulent.”

What he did was use political muscle to intervene in a bankruptcy process in order to ensure a settlement on terms favorable to his supporters, the United Auto Workers union, at the expense of taxpayers (or “freeloaders,” in the president’s parlance) and bondholders. It would be more accurately characterized as an act of larceny than salvation.

Exactly. Taranto then looks behind the philosophy of Obama’s attack on success to its psychology. “Obama’s generalities about success being undeserved,” Taranto observes, “are absolutely true in one particular case: that of Barack Obama. Unearned success is the central theme of his life story.”

He then proceeds to take a trip through Obama’s extraordinary career, from his elevation to president of the Harvard Law Review, his astoundingly rapid political rise, and his  winning the Nobel Peace Prize, showing how at every step of the way Obama’s achievement was not, in fact, his own. He didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.  It’s an extraordinary, and damning, recitation. Read the whole thing.