RUSH: George Lakoff (rhymes with). Bill Jacobson has the details at LegalInsurrection.com. By now you have heard the Obama and Liz Warren speeches about how no one got rich on his or her own. … This narrative is cribbed almost verbatim from the narrative of George Lakoff, a progressive [liberal] linguistics activist and Professor at Berkeley,” and he has been advising the Democrats on how to change and use language in order to hide who they really are. That’s what it boils down to. Lakoff advises Democrats on how to say things that mask and cover up who they really are.
“Like Warren, Lakoff was one of the academics who helped frame how the Occupy Wall Street movement presented itself. LakoffÂ’s writings and theories seek to transform progressive politics and he is a frequent speaker on how progressives can reframe the political debate. Lakoff developed a linguistic narrative that [liberals] needed to counter conservatives by focusing on the role of government in enabling individual success, a narrative in which no person became successful on his or her own.”
It was Lackoff (rhymes with) who got this started, and Warren and Obama are using what he said.
RUSH: I’m checking the e-mail during the break. “What does it matter who came up with this, Rush, Lakoff or –” No, you’re right, here’s the point about this. Obama, we have gotten under his skin. They’re putting out memos all over DNC websites on how to fight back on this. They have announced — in fact, I got an e-mail, just to show you, I got an e-mail from a friend with a story attached to it about how the Democrats are now prepared. They’re gonna go after Romney on this.
They’re gonna go after Romney for going after Obama on Obama’s attacks on people that didn’t make anything happen on their own. And there was just one little note attached to the story, and it said, “Here they come.” Meaning, well, here comes this gauntlet. Here comes the Democrat machine. We have no prayer. We have no hope. We can’t stop ’em. Run for your lives. Here they come. The Democrats are going after Romney. Here they come. We enjoyed it while it lasted, but now they’re on the case. And I’m thinking, why do we have to feel defensive about that? We’re not the ones that said something stupid. We’re not the ones on defense. We’re not the ones that have to worry.
These people stepped in it big time, and they stepped in it big time for two reasons. One, Lakoff gave them what they thought was a safe way to say what they really believe, both Warren and Obama. My contention is that neither of them, but particularly Obama — Obama didn’t need Lakoff to come up with this. Obama has believed this all his life. And most liberals believe this. Most liberals run around daily with a resentment for those who have achieved success and have acquired some wealth. The confrontational tone is the root to the true feelings Obama has about these people. Lakoff didn’t give them the confrontational tone, or, what’s the word, the condescending tone. Obama already feels that.
That’s my real point. They didn’t need Lakoff. The reason that they rely on Lakoff is because they think it gives them a layer of security. They trust Lakoff to tell them how to say what they really believe in ways they think won’t offend anyone. I’m sure Obama thought he was hitting a home run the moment that he was saying all that. In fact, let’s grab the bite. This is what we’re talking about again. Rather than have to sit here and paraphrase Obama, roll it.
OBAMA: If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, “Well, it must be because I was just so smart.” There are a lot of smart people out there. “It must be because I worked harder than anybody else.” Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, that — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so then all the companies could make money off the Internet.
RUSH: Now, my contention is Obama thought he’s hitting a home run when he says this. I think Obama thought, “I am nailing it.” When he finishes it, I think he thinks he has just nailed it. The crowd was cheering him on. There was no indication that he’d stepped in it. He didn’t think for a moment that he’d stepped in it. One of the reasons why is Lakoff said it was okay. Lakoff’s the linguistics expert. So Lakoff says, “Say it this way.” They trust Lakoff to come up with ways for them to say stuff that will appeal to their base, but that will not offend anybody else.
Well, this is the problem when you deviate from being who you are. When you try to cover up who you are, when you try to hide your genuineness, that’s when you become phony. But Obama was unable to keep the condescension out of this, the snarkiness, or even the anger ’cause he believes it on his own. He didn’t need Lakoff. The only reason Lakoff is relevant here is because Lakoff saying it made Obama think it was okay to say it. Now, Bill Jacobson came up with this at Legal Insurrection. And this is basically what Lakoff said.
“Nobody makes a dollar in this country in business without using the common wealthÂ…. The idea that thereÂ’s a self-made man, thatÂ’s thereÂ’s a self-made millionaire is false, it is absolutely false, and that is the thing that Obama missedÂ…. Without this you donÂ’t have those roads, you donÂ’t have that Internet, you donÂ’t have the banking system,” blah, blah, blah. If Obama had simply said there’s no self-made man, he’d have been okay. But he blew it by not saying that. Now, Lakoff actually framed the issue several years ago.
“There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make his money. He did not make his money alone. He used taxpayer infrastructure. He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors. There are no self-made men! The wealthy have gotten rich using what previous taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country a great deal and should be paying it back.”
So that’s what Lakoff says. That’s the guidepost. So Obama goes out, puts it in his own words ’cause he was off-prompter. It’s in his heart. He believes it anyway. The anger that was in his voice, the snarkiness, is evidence that he believes it and that there’s a lot of resentment. So there’s no self-made man, and it’s always previous taxpayers. Now, here again, it wasn’t that long ago, folks, it wasn’t that long ago that successful people were role models. Successful people were what everybody wanted. Everybody wanted to be a millionaire. And I don’t mean to cheapen this. There was even a television show growing up called The Millionaire, and it was about some philanthropist who picked somebody every week, gave ’em a million bucks because they deserved it. But the point is that a million was the magic number. It was something people shot for, and it was something people admired. And look what the left is doing to it, to all of achievement. They are impugning it. They are turning successful people into suspects. They are trying to rob from people the fact that they worked hard to get where they are.
There’s a lot of things in this that are bad, but what Obama is doing is promoting the idea that people who’ve sat around and done nothing are the real success stories? They’re the victims? They’re the ones that really made it all possible for these so-called self-made people to do what they did? It is sort of a reverse self-esteem movement, and it’s offensive to the sensibilities of anybody who understands basic human nature, combined with liberty and freedom and the pursuit of happiness. There’s no happiness in the Obama campaign. There’s no happiness in the Obama White House. There’s no happiness. There’s no pursuit of happiness anywhere on the left. You just have a bunch of angry, victimized people who sit around in resentment, various forms of it, various stages of anger, and then they come up with this, and they have their linguistics specialist massage it in such a way that it will sound plausible to people.
Of course the real objective, as I said to brilliantly earlier in the week… Let’s turn this into policy now, ’cause that’s where this really matters. You lay the foundation here for the fact that nobody who is successful deserves to be. Nobody who has achieved anything really did achieve anything. Everything they have is thus illegitimate — maybe even unjust, maybe even immoral. Why, just like the founding of this country was!
So Obama’s rolling a dice that he’s got a majority of people that vote in this country who he can convince to believe him on this. Then he wants to (what I describe as) “socialize profit.” Profit is the evil that’s attached to the bogeyman of a corporation or a successful individual. Profit. It’s like, “Why should a doctor profit from treating somebody who’s sick? Why should there be profit in that? Why should there be profit in selling people food? Why, we all have to eat!
“Why isn’t there some sort of communal store where you get it for what it costs? Why should anybody make money? Isn’t that immoral?” He’s setting all of this up so that profit, the pursuit of profit and the securing of profit, is evil. He will thus have a moral claim to it. He’ll socialize profit, and claim that it’s actually his. He’ll do it in the name of all these Americans who were used and taken advantage of, stolen from, whatever. They didn’t get their just rewards from their contributions to Mr. Whosit’s success over there.
And this is how Obama will have his support. His hope and dream here is to have popular support for simply taking money from people. Eminent domain of capital. Not just taking their property, but eminent domain of their capital, eventually. Why mess around with raising taxes to get this money if it’s truly unjust and immoral — if somebody has that money and it essentially came from theft, which is what these guys are saying? They used all this taxpayer money! they used all the roads the bridges!
They didn’t do that on their own.
They stole it!
Well, what do you do from thieves? You don’t raise their taxes. You go take it back if you find it, and you find them. And this is where he’s headed with this. Of course he’s using class envy and class warfare and all that. But it’s just the latest in the orientation toward bigger government that is benevolent. It’s thinking of The Little Guy. But it’s not gonna help The Little Guy by raising him up, ’cause The Little Guy is not gonna get any of the money. Even if Obama does raise taxes or somehow confiscate all this money he says is immoral and unjust, he’s not gonna give it away.
He’ll parcel it out a little — maybe more food stamps, maybe more Obama Phones — but he’s not gonna give people money. So if it’s undeserved, Obama says, “We can take it! You didn’t build it; we did. You didn’t earn it; they did. You don’t deserve it; therefore, we’re taking it.” They wanted Lakoff to come up with something to make all this sound reasonable. Lakoff comes up with it. Obama goes off prompter, steps in it, and now they’re making tracks to run an anti-Romney campaign because he has the guts or the audacity to point all this out.
RUSH: So here’s the point: “There are no self-made men. The individual is subservient to the state.” This is what Lakoff was trying to conceive that other Democrats could take out into the public domain. They’re not talking about roads. This isn’t about roads and bridges. Obama and the Democrats are engaged in what I would call ‘a determined philosophical takedown of the individual,’ at the expense of the total empowerment of the state. If you read a sentence of this or a whole paragraph, what Obama’s saying is: There is no self-made man.
The individual is nobody! There is no such thing. The state makes all this happen. The nameless, faceless state made up of all the nameless, faceless people. The idea of government serving at the consent of the governed is stood on its head. It’s about the justification for higher and higher taxes. Obama was not taken out of context. He said exactly what he intended to say. The context is that there is no such thing as a self-made man. There’s no such thing.
There’s no such thing as a successful individual, pure and simple.
He’s attacking success.