Quotes of the day
posted at 10:39 pm on May 23, 2012 by Allahpundit
Are “job destroyers” sitting on President Obama’s jobs council?
There could be, if you believe the argument from Democrats and the Obama campaign that private equity executives are profit seekers who often run roughshod over workers, companies and communities.
Two Obama-appointed members of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, an advisory committee, are leading figures in the private equity industry…
While neither Gallogly nor Parsons is running for office, Democrats and the Obama campaign have sought in some ways to demonize the industry itself, part of an aggressive effort to discredit Romney’s top selling point.
Conversations with liberal activists and labor officials reveal an unmistakable hostility toward the pro-business, free-trade, free-market philosophy that was in vogue during the second half of the Clinton administration. Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, who tried to steer the Obama administration in a more centrist direction, is the subject of particular derision. Discussion of entitlement reforms, at the heart of the GOP governing agenda, is a nonstarter. The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats are now nearly extinct on Capitol Hill.
Moderate Democratic groups and officials, meanwhile, privately fret about the party’s leftward drift and the Obama campaign’s embrace of an aggressively populist message. They’re disappointed that the administration didn’t take the lead advancing the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction proposal, they wish the administration’s focus was on growth over fairness, and they are frustrated with the persistent congressional gridlock. Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank, has been generating analyses underscoring the need for Democrats to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters, to no avail.
“There are not a lot of moderates left in the Democratic Party, and Cory is one of the few of them left,” said former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, an early Obama ally who has become increasingly estranged from the party. “I would like to think Cory speaks for a lot of voters in the Democratic Party, but sadly he doesn’t speak for a lot of Democratic operatives within the party. This isn’t Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party anymore.”
Many a requiem has been written for “that hopey-changey thing,” as Sarah Palin so memorably dubbed it. And to be sure, much of the griping about the president’s harsh tone is the disingenuous phony outrage of Republicans who would prefer not to be its targets. But as Obama embarks in earnest on his second presidential campaign, deliberately invoking the echoes of 2008 as he does so, the contrast with his old image is especially stark.
From the beginning, the president’s reelection campaign has taken a brutal, no-holds-barred approach that’s sharply at odds with the conciliatory image that was the central predicate of Obama’s entire pre-presidential political career. Whether or not the specific issue of Bain Capital ought to be off limits — Booker has taken pains to clarify he doesn’t think it should be — there’s no denying that Obama’s 2012 campaign has seized every opportunity to turn the campaign toward sharply personal attacks of a type that the 2008-vintage Obama would surely have recoiled from. From Romney’s treatment of his onetime pet dog to his high-school pranks to his income-tax rate, from the “war on women” to the “war on caterpillars,” from “I like being able to fire people” to “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” no potential controversy has been too petty, too rhetorically overblown or too out-of-context to be exploited to the hilt.
None of this is shocking — it’s how the game is played. But Obama once ostentatiously refused to play it.
Obama’s ads betray a belief that profits are, at best, a necessary evil that should always take a back seat to other community concerns. This probably explains his “investments” in losers like Solyndra and high-speed rail (for the sake of the Earth), as well as his bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors (for the sake of the unions). Never mind that Solyndra had an unsustainable business model, or that taxpayers spent $50 billion to save a car company that is worth only $34 billion today.
What Team Obama still doesn’t understand is that profits are just a signal that businesses depend on to determine how best to invest their resources. Thanks to profit-seeking private equity, many of America’s bloated industries that had stagnated in the 1970s came back to life in the 1980s and 1990s. As capital was reallocated from poor performers to profit-makers, new jobs arose in more productive economic enterprises…
What this nation needs, and what it currently lacks, is a president who understands the role that businesses play in the economy — including private equity firms. It would be quite an improvement over a leader who demonizes some industries while subsidizing and bailing out others.
[I]t’s not so much that Team Obama is using Bain, which would be an inevitable part of any campaign (Democratic or Republican). It’s rather that they have so little else to work with. What is the positive message of the Obama campaign? What is the vision for a second term? I’m not seeing much of anything on that front.
And that points to a core mistake that the Obama White House has made time and time again: they’ve ignored public opinion. Poll after poll shows that the president is unpopular in general, and specifically on the economy, but those same polls indicate that most people do not blame him for the recession. Obviously, he’s saddling some of the responsibility for the weak recovery – but there is more to it. Specifically, the government has appeared to have done nothing about the problem since February 2009…
The first half of his term produced reviled legislation, and the second half has produced nothing at all. So, all he has to run on is Bain.
“The fact is that I spent 25 years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that you don’t learn if you haven’t spent any time in the private sector … You learn through life’s experience,” Romney said, in his first public response to Obama’s criticism. “The president’s experience has been exclusively in politics and as a community organizer. Both of those are fine areas of endeavor, but right now we have an economy in trouble, and someone who spent their career in the economy is more suited to help fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a community organizer.”