To Republican ears, the big soundbite to come out of President Obama's Midwestern tour was his remark that "at some point you've made enough money." The off-teleprompter moment came during a speech in Illinois on Wednesday, and was part of a broader point:
We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I do think that at a certain point you've made enough money, but you know part of the American way is that you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service. We don't want people to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy.
Conservative commentators immediately seized on the "enough money" phrase as evidence that Obama is, in fact, the socialist they long suspected. Liberals, meanwhile, argue that Obama's other statements mitigate this phrase. But they are also shaking their heads, wondering if the president just handed Republicans a cudgel for the midterm elections.
- 'I've Taken a Lot of Heat for Calling Him a Marxist,' says Mark Levin. He thinks this speech shows strong shades of Marxism.
- That Socialist Joker Poster? "If there were any doubts left about the Obamas' ideological commitment to wealth redistribution and a command-and-control economy, those doubts have been thoroughly removed," declares conservative pundit Michelle Malkin.
- Midterm Soundbite "We can probably expect to see this clip played repeatedly until early November," predicts Colby Hall at Mediaite. He points out, though, that the president wasn't actually advocating salary caps, but said that part of the "American way" was that you could keep on earning money past the point that was theoretically "enough."
- 'How Much Is "Enough"?' asks Carol Platt Liebau at conservative hub Townhall. The president, she points out, once said that "the sky is the limit on what you can achieve" in America. "Apparently, that's true unless and until your earnings bump up against what the President considers appropriate." She wonders if Warren Buffett, an Obama supporter, qualifies as one of those people who has now made "enough" money.
- Reveals 'More ... Than He Probably Wanted,' says Hot Air's Ed Morrissey. "The President doesn't get to decide when people have 'made enough money.'" But he also points out that this wasn't the only questionable part of the president's remarks vis-a-vis capitalism. "The responsibility of an entrepreneur," Morrissey argues, contrary to what President Obama suggested, "isn't to 'grow our economy,' core or otherwise. It's to grow his own economy."