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As part of his odd determination to hug up America’s avaricious corporate powers, President Obama has now walked across Lafayette Square to enter the imperial gates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Apparently this presidential deference is an effort to woo corporate donors and to show conservative voters how moderate he can be. But, does he really think that that either of those groups is going to give any love back?
For years, the Chamber has pretended to be the lobbying voice of Main Street business, claiming to have three million members. After an exposé last year by Mother Jones magazine, however, red-faced Chamber officials had to drop their mom & pop pose, confessing that only a tenth of that number are actually members. Even that recalibration grossly inflates the truth, for the outfit’s policies are set by a handful of oil conglomerates, Wall Street banks, and other huge, self-serving corporations.
Obama ought to know better than to trust any of this bunch. He should remember 2009, when he gave special favors to America’s insurance giants to win their public support of his health care reform. Meanwhile, you might recall that the U.S. Chamber bitterly fought the reforms with a multimillion-dollar blitz of vituperative ads. Where did Chamber officials get the money to run such a negative media campaign ? From Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Health, and Wellpoint. Five of the largest insurance corporations that were publicly embracing Obama had secretly funneled the ad money to the Chamber.
Instead of walking meekly across Lafayette Square in fruitless pursuit of such deceivers, he could stride across the square in the opposite direction. That’d take him to the AFL-CIO, where he could make a symbolic stand of solidarity with the millions of hard-hit working families being crushed by the Chamber’s corporate funders. .
"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three left turns do." --Jim Hightower