The experience of a small business owner who will be promoted at the Republican National Convention sharply diverges from the right-wing media myth her speech is intended to promote.
On the day that the GOP convention will tout Fox-fueled myth "We Built It" as its primary theme, Delaware Lt. Gov. candidate and small business owner Sher Valenzuela is slated to deliver a speech about small business issues. But contrary to the evening's theme, Valenzuela's company, First State Manufacturing, has received millions of dollars in federal loans and contracts. Valenzuela has not only attributed her success in part to this outside assistance, but urged other small business owners to follow the same strategy of seeking government funds.
But when FoxNews.com reported on Valenzuela's scheduled speech, these facts were absent:
An RNC official tells FOX News Tuesday's schedule also includes a speech by Sher Valenzeula, a Latina candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Delaware. Her campaign website notes she and her husband started an upholstery business that makes padding for baseball umpires and military vests worn by members of the Israeli military.
The "We Built It" convention theme is based on Fox's distortion of comments made by President Obama, who remarked that business owners succeed with the help of "this unbelievable American system" that includes government spending on infrastructure and education. The right-wing media has deceptively edited Obama's comments to suggest that the president was insulting small business owners, an attack promptly adopted by Republicans; according to FoxNews.com, Valenzuela's speech is "meant to directly contrast" Obama's remarks.
In fact, much as Obama suggested, Valenzuela appears to have succeeded through a combination of her own entrepreneurship and government assistance. She has in the past explained that government assistance was a vital factor in the success of her company. Earlier this year, Valenzuela gave a presentation on her small business success, crediting the use of "millions of dollars in secure government contracts."
The presentation notes that small business owners should start with a "secret weapon" -- the "no-cost/low-cost resources that you, the taxpayer, have already paid for."
(link to PowerPoint presentation)
Indeed, Valenzuela's company has received more than $2 million in federal loans and more than $15 million in federal contracts.
The Republican Party's convention site is creating an awkward reality at odds with the conservative media mythology that is at the center of the convention's theme.
In recent days, Fox News has praised Republicans for adopting "We Built It" as a theme for its upcoming convention. "We Built It" is based on the Fox-fueled distortion of President Obama's remarks tying the success of businesses to "this unbelievable American System" that includes government spending on infrastructure and education.
However, the selection of the Republican convention site actually proves President Obama's point about the role of government assistance. The construction of the Tampa Bay Times Forum was majority financed by the public; the arena is owned by local government; and the Republican convention has received tens of millions in government funds to help with costs and security.