OBAMA INC.

When dancing with the devil, never fool yourself into thinking that you're in the lead.

When dancing with the devil, never fool yourself into thinking that you’re in the lead.

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 them.

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First came 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 coordinator.

"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three left turns do." --Jim Hightower


Then, Obama 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 GE.”

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 Immelt, that’s who.

America’s 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 devil.

He’s rebranding his presidency, all right. It’s becoming Obama, Inc.

“Obama to focus on economy to bridge divide,” Austin American Statesman, January 25, 2011.

“The Competition Myth,” The New York Times, January 24, 2011.

“Pitch for Rebuilding Infrastructure Carries Political Challenges,” The New York Times, January 26, 2011.

“The State of the Union,” The New York Times, January 25, 2011.

“Dueling G.O.P. Responses to President’s Speech Point to Potential Fault Lines in Party,” The New York Times, January 26, 2011.

"The issue isn't just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages." --Jim Hightower


“Pushing Competition and Trying to Pull America Out of a Funk,” The New York Times, January 26, 2011.

“Obama Proposing Bipartisan Effort To Win The Future,” January 26, 2011.

“Obama Counters G.O.P. Attacks on Spending With Plan to Extend Freeze. The New York Times, January 26, 2011.

“Official: Obama to call for 5-year spending freeze,” www.google.com, January 25, 2011.

“Obama to press Centrist Agenda in His Address,” www.nytimes, January 22, 2011.

“Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System,” www.wsj.com January 18, 2011.

“Obama’s Deregulation Dance with Wall Street,” www.alternet.org, January 19, 2011.

“Volcker Out, Immelt In on Economic Board,” www.nytimes.com, January 21, 2011.

“Labor Worries About New Head of Obama Jobs Panel,” www.nytimes, January 21, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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