Sunday, October 19, 2008

"The Heart of the American Dream is Aspiration"

Others have said it, but few so persuasively as Mark Steyn, as he had also elaborated in an interview with Hugh Hewitt last Thursday. So, I'll say this. By damn, Mark Steyn is a great American, even if he is a Canadian! It was there where he and Macleans Magazine were recently officially accused by the Canadian authorities of . . . well, telling the truth! Now Mark points out that Joe the Plumber has managed, where all else had failed, to penetrate through the fog and, at least momentarily, induce Senator Obama to blurt out a little truth.

To Mark, the brief conversation between the two men revealed the contrast between Joe's world and the
hermetically-sealed environment that Obama lives in, in which his contact with the real world involves getting $50 million dollars from William Ayers through the Annenberg Challenge to spread, radicalizing Chicago schoolchildren. That’s not how real people spread the wealth around. And I would go back, you know, to Joe the Plumber’s point, that actually, if you just let people spread their own wealth around, they’ll make more sensible decisions than, for example, Congress interfering in the mortgage and credit market by making certain requirements of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all the rest of it. Joe the Plumber, the three hundred million Joe the Plumbers across the land, will make better decisions on that than the federal government will.
Mark elaborates further in National Review Online:
The heart of the American Dream is aspiration. That’s why people came here from all over the world. Back in eastern Europe, the Joe Bidens and Diane Sawyers of the day were telling Joe the Peasant: "Hey, look, man. You’re a peasant in the 19th century, just like your forebears were peasants in the 12th century and your descendants will be peasants in the 26th century. So you’re never gonna be earning 250 groats a year. Don’t worry about it. Leave it to us. We know better." And Joe the Peasant eventually figured that one day he’d like to be able to afford the Premium Gruel with just a hint of arugula and got on the boat to Ellis Island. Because America is the land where a guy who doesn’t have a 250-grand business today might just have one in five or ten years' time.

I'm with Joe the Plumber, not Joe the Hair-Plugger. He's articulated the animating principles of America better than anyone on either side in this campaign. Which is why the O-Bots need to destroy him.
Months and months of examination by the campaign by John McCain, and by the campaign of Hillary Clinton before him, had fundamentally failed to penetrate to the core of what makes Barack Obama tick. And the mainstream press has largely provided him ample cover. As a result, in spite of all that probing, the candidate had essentially remained a mystery about what really motivates him, even regarding his plans for economic recovery.

But in one small, and actually very friendly conversation along a rope line in Ohio the other day, Joe the Plumber asked the candidate for a justification of his proposed tax plan. Mind you, he did not go seeking Obama. Obama's campaign came to Joe's neighborhood. At one point in the conversation, Joe even asked him why not a flat tax. Make no mistake, by what he asked, Joe was challenging the very core of Obama's economic "vision" for America. And Barack Obama uncharacteristically let his guard down just a little bit when he responded candidly and told Joe the Plumber at one point,
"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"

Of course, what he meant by that is when the government spreads the wealth around, not when the economy grows because government gets out of the way.

I was curious to find out if any other well-known personality had slipped like that. You know, whether someone blurted out something similar.

So, I linked to Brainy Quote and searched for anyone who had made a similar comment, any quote containing the phrase, "spread the wealth around," or even "spread the wealth."

No dice.

Then I tried the "Quote Garden." Nothing there either.

Nor at "Quoteland." As for any matches, "none found" they said, to both searches.

Back in very early 2002, the leftwing site, The Democratic Underground, posted an opinion piece under this title: "Enron Spread the Wealth Around Washington" which obviously put any such activity in a very bad light indeed. Spreading the wealth to those in government -- nothing good about that!

About the closest I could come to a parallel quotation, was from famous utopian thinker ("New Atlantis"), Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, who did contribute rather significantly to the development of the scientific method. On the general subject at hand -- spreading money -- he once reputedly said (ht. Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2 Ed.):

"Money is like muck, not good except to be spread."
But that too does not really seem to be the exact point Barack Obama was making. Bacon , who was appointed the Lord Chancellor in 1621, certainly did not specify that the spreader-in-chief should be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who in his day was one Fulke Grenville.

And, for all of his contributions to the development of scientific thinking, that negative sounding comment is entirely understandable, as Bacon was notoriously bad with money throughout his entire life. As pointed out at Wikipedia,
"In spite of a generous income, old debts and spendthrift ways kept him indebted."
Bacon's public career ended in disgrace when he was accused of bribery (there's that "spreading the wealth" to those in government again), for which he paid significant fines, and narrowly avoided being stripped of all his titles.

So, it would seem that we can conclude this particular formula of Obama's -- that governmental "spreading the wealth" that is "good for everybody," is an original characterization by our newly coined, "Senator Government."

He owns it.

Looks like Barack Obama did not inadvertently pull a Joe Biden plagiarism when he let that one rip!

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