Isn't it ironic?
That's Fox News host Megyn Kelly's take on the today's theme for the GOP convention: “We Built It.”
Ironic, according to Kelly, because the GOP is using President Obama's words against him. During an election even!
A better word for the theme would be dishonest, given that the slogan is based on a Fox News-fueled distortion of what Obama actually said about the role public infrastructure plays in creating an environment where businesses can succeed.
Fox News fixated on and distorted a single line from Obama's July campaign speech in Virginia, completely divorcing the comments from their broader meaning and mangling them into something sinister. From there, it was a quick step to the Romney campaign, which used the Fox distortion in a campaign ad, which in turn became fodder for the Fox News machine to keep fanning the flames until Fox had its very own dishonest convention theme.
None of that is ironic.
But the cynical “We Built It” theme is deeply ironic ... just not for the reason Kelly suggests.
The true irony is that Fox has used “we built it” as a rejection of the public's role in building society - “we” is in contrast to public investment. But the convention itself demonstrates that “we built it” can only be an affirmation of public investments. “We” actually did build it.
The Tampa Times Forum, home of the “We Built It” convention, was reportedly financed using more than $80 million in city and county bonds backed by taxpayers. Sher Valenzuela, the business owner picked to deliver a key “We Built It” day speech, benefitted from $2 million in federal loans and more than $15 million in federal contracts. Valenzuela has counseled other business owners on how to tap into taxpayer funded resources as a “secret weapon.”
The GOP convention received more than $18 million in federal grants from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and an additional $50 million in federal money for security. The City of Tampa kicked in $2.7 million to make the city pretty.
“We Built It!”
Just not the way Fox wants you to believe.