The first night of the Republican National Convention was heavy with “we built that” references and small business owners who feel overtaxed by the government. But one featured small business owner, Phil Archuletta of P&M Signs, went off-message when he took the stage to rail against the government…for not giving him enough contracts:
ARCHULETTA: For the last 40 years, my company has built the road signs on the Forest Service road system. In fact, in 1984, I was fortunate to receive the national award from President Reagan for being the most successful minority business in the United States. In 2004, President Bush made it possible for our company to manufacture signs for all federal agencies. When President Obama came on board and pushed the stimulus, I believed my business was going to explode with work. Unfortunately, it never happened. … Today, we are barely hanging on with the orders from the state of New Mexico – thanks to Governor Susana Martinez – and the few orders still coming through the Forest Service from our very loyal customers.
In expressing his frustration, Archuletta is exposing the fundamental lie of the Romney campaign’s “we built that” theme. Government small business loans and contracts have sustained almost every small business Romney has featured in his campaign. Archuletta’s business, like the others, has been sustained by the comparatively reliable supply of government work. Far from disparaging hardworking small business owners as Romney wants voters to believe, President Obama’s original comments celebrated the “American system” that helps bolster individual drive like Archuletta’s, concluding, “When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”