RNC Speaker's Business Experience Blows Holes in Party's "We Built It" Theme
Sher Valenzuela may not have been the best choice to deliver the Republican Convention's "We built it" attack on President Obama for supposedly dissing small business owners in a speech July 13. In fact, Valenzuela's experience turning her shoestring business into a 40-employee company provide a perfect example of what Obama was actually talking about but that Fox News ginned into a twisted version of his remarks.
Fox truncated what Obama said that day into "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." He actually made the remark in the context of "this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive," pointing out that "Somebody invested in those roads and bridges." His perfectly accurate comments would have been unremarkable had Fox's propaganda team not sculpted them into something they were not and spent 42 segments totaling more than two hours of air time transforming them into a phony scandal. Republicans from the top of the ticket on down have been capitalizing on Fox's fabrication ever since.
Together with her husband, Valenzeula, who is running for lieutenant governor of Delaware, started an upholstery business out of their garage, making padding for baseball umpires and military vests. For her to properly perform her role promoting the Fox-fueled lie at the convention, she will have to avoid mentioning that her little company—First State Manufacturing—did exactly what Obama was talking about. It depended on a combination of personal hard work and government assistance to become successful. In fact, Valenzuela herself has given a presentation making note of that assistance and crediting the use of "millions of dollars in secure government contracts."
Media Matters has the skinny:
• First State Manufacturing got its feet on the ground with an initial $20,000 loan from the Small Business Administration.
• In 2001, it obtained another $96,500 from the SBA when the company "was ready to grow again."
• It got another $65,800 disaster loan to deal with business fall-out from the Sept. 11 attacks.
• FSM's 40 employees now work out of facility funded by a $1.8 million SBA 504 loan.
• Since it began operations, FSM has received $15 million in federal contracts two-thirds of which were obtained non-competitively. In fiscal 2012 alone, the company has received more than half a million dollars in government contracts with the Air Force and defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin.
Valenzuela's business thrives on government help. Couldn't live without it. She also obviously believes that it's not just the federal government that helps business, but local as well since she is chairwoman of the Economic Development Advisory Panel for the City of Milford.
Taking note of any of this from the podium in Tampa, however, would remove some of the perfume from the Republicans' "We built it" manure pile. So don't expect to hear a word about it.