with the devil, never fool yourself into thinking that you're in the
That would be
my 50-cents worth of advice to President Obama as he rushes ahead with the
remake of his presidency into a Clintonesque corporate enterprise. Following
last fall's congressional elections, he immediately began blowing kisses to CEOs
and big business lobbyists, and he's now filled his White House dance card with
Bill Daley, the Wall Street banker and longtime corporate lobbyists. In early
January, Obama brought him to the White House ball to be his chief-of-staff,
gatekeeper and policy
tapped Jeffery Immelt to lead his Council on Jobs, which is supposed to
"encourage the private sector to hire [Americans] and invest in American
competitiveness." This is a bizarre coupling, for Immelt is CEO of General
Electric and has been a leader in shipping American factories and jobs to Asia
and elsewhere. Today, fewer than half of GE's workers are in our country. As an
AFL-CIO official notes, "Highly globalized companies don't have the same
interests as the United States. There is no company more emblematic of this than
In his recent
State of the Union speech, Obama offered only cold comfort to the millions of
Americans who're unemployed or barely employed, saying blandly that "The rules
have changed." Well, yes – and who changed them? Self-serving CEOs like Jeffrey
working families – our endangered middle class – have a right to expect Obama to
fight for rules that are fair to them and our country, not meekly accept rules
that have been skewed by an elite corporate class to profit them alone. Instead,
our president is waltzing with the
rebranding his presidency, all right. It's becoming Obama,
focus on economy to bridge divide," Austin American Statesman, January 25,
Competition Myth," The New York Times, January 24, 2011.
Rebuilding Infrastructure Carries Political Challenges," The New York Times,
January 26, 2011.
"The State of
the Union," The New York Times, January 25, 2011.
G.O.P. Responses to President's Speech Point to Potential Fault Lines in Party,"
The New York Times, January 26, 2011.
Competition and Trying to Pull America Out of a Funk," The New York Times,
January 26, 2011.
Proposing Bipartisan Effort To Win The Future," January 26, 2011.
Counters G.O.P. Attacks on Spending With Plan to Extend Freeze. The New York
Times, January 26, 2011.
Obama to call for 5-year spending freeze," www.google.com, January 25, 2011.
press Centrist Agenda in His Address," www.nytimes, January 22, 2011.
21st-Century Regulatory System," www.wsj.com
January 18, 2011.
Deregulation Dance with Wall Street," www.alternet.org, January 19,
Immelt In on Economic Board," www.nytimes.com, January 21, 2011.
About New Head of Obama Jobs Panel," www.nytimes, January 21, 2011.