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Obama Gets ‘Neighborly’ With Chamber of Commerce

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Posted on Feb 7, 2011

The president continued to cuddle up to corporate America with a visit to the Chamber of Commerce. Ezra Klein breaks down Obama’s pro-business history and digests the speech’s significance (or lack thereof) here.


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By Beltwaylaid, February 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You smooze you cruise?

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, February 10, 2011 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Reminiscent of ‘negotiating’ with Mubarak. Obama abeggin and apleadin the corporate autocracy.
What a pathetic play.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

We do have some charitably inclined billionaires.
Do they think that charity is all that is necessary?
Such people have easy access to all the other billionaires, but do they talk to them?  Do they ever get together and discuss the profound systemic changes that are necessary in order to bring about some sort of economic justice in the world?  If not, why not?  The potential for change is there among them, and their obligation (simply because of their resources) is enormous. 

The impermeable wall between them and us peons is deliberately maintained to prevent our reaching them. But ... they can reach other, can’t they?  What’s the bottleneck there? What allows them to pretend that they “do nt understand” or “cannot make the required reforms” or “are not obligated” to do so?

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By PatrickHenry, February 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Obama should have raised the tax rate on these guys and the bankers bonuses.

The only way to lower those rates would be to create jobs.  The newly employed US workers tax would be deducted from the 90% rate they would be forced to pay.

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By rollzone, February 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

hello. big business redistributing profit to the task
workers was the funniest part of this neighborly
approach to spending. government will win his future
bank by spending slightly more taxes on high speed
rail. spending by every name is bankrupt America.
perhaps seizing oil windfall profit taxes are again in
vogue, and we can better win our future by freezing the
price at the pump, during this period of over-bloated
reserves, and criminal price speculations. or would
that be unneighborly to Wall Street?

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By question, February 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sincerely sorry I voted for the man in the primary.  I honestly believed Hilary would keep the DC status quo & Obama was a fresh face with the ability to make at least some changes. Can’t get wronger than that.

The 2 latest Obama guest appearances (Chamber & Billo) remind me of an old commercial.  The dog is driving the truck into the pond while the “owner” is saying, “bad dog, bad dog.  You’re not even listening to me now, are you?!”.

Picture the Chamber or Billo as the drivers…pathetic, ain’t it?

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Tobysgirl, you are very largely right.  Only a few comments I want to add:

My experience is that a number of liberals who voted for him expected a lot more—liberals who have black friends who also voted for him and expected more.  My feeling is that a lot of meringue went onto the top of the pie after he was elected, not before.
Considering the raging racism in this country, and having two kids to protect, I myself might have caved—though I’d not be able to do it for long without a severe case of schizophrenia at the least.
  Another thing, I think, that also did him in is his justified lack of faith in “liberals” plus the majority animus against “liberalism” in this country.
That’s what caused his “bipartisan” mania, I think.
  Anyhow, it’s been a “first” for all of us.  Maybe, if we can ever get around to discussing it widely and sanely, some better understanding will come out of the huge disappointment and the gaping politicl wounds of corporate domination. Remember, it’s not just white “liberals” who are disappointed in him.
  (If you read English AlJazeera online about the 30 or 40 world bigwigs, however, it’s hard to get a grip on what to do. I don’t go for the Bilderberg cant, though, and it’s hiding behind “information” like that.)

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By samosamo, February 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment


Definitely the old ‘soft shoe shuffle’ for corporate american.
The whole of the 16 minutes I was able to watch until good old
‘video buffering’ froze me out, was doublespeak favoring
corporate america. To wit, that fix and upgrading this country
to a ‘21st century infrastructure’.... well think haliburton, kbr,
bectel and the rest of the first come, no bid, contractors who
are granted all the plums of high paying contracts. How will
small businesses compete with this coterie of off shore
corporations who get the bids and don’t pay the taxes, which
is the BASIC of how to reduce the deficits all around.

This is the same corporate pandering and reward systems I
saw this clown assure his corporate handlers of ‘top priority’ in
his 2008 campaign because the american economy as it
stands today from the past 3 decades or so, is nothing but
one big money laundering ponzi scheme for those crooks
most responsible this financial terrorist attack on this country,
an attack that holds no content of worry about being held
accountable for crimes committed.

Hard not to think that what ever happens, the citizens and
small business will be the ones to pay.

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By knute, February 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Place a Bill Clinton mask here. Obama appears to have lost interest in the middleclass if his latest choices are any indication. He talked a good talk, still does, but thats where it ends.

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By Tobysgirl, February 8, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

But, gerard, he doesn’t get that. He got where he is by sucking up to the powerful, and he can’t understand why sucking up to them in the way he has always done doesn’t make him endlessly popular with them. He does not seem to possess the brains to comprehend that if you keep giving in to the greedy and vicious, they just want MORE, MORE, MORE.

And he doesn’t give a damn about people like you and me who are not powerful. I mean, really, what did people expect of a man with brown skin who rose so quickly? Did they think he managed to do that by having strong ethics and confronting people who crossed the boundaries of decency? No white liberal is going to vote for an African-American who stands for anything.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

This is a guy who can make people mad just by trying not to make people mad.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, February 8, 2011 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Did anyone see the The News Hour’s coverage of this speech?  It was pathetic and typical. Gwen Ifill interviewed DAVE ADKISSON of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and HAROLD MEYERSON of the Washington Post. 

The problem I had with the interview wasn’t what was said; it’s what was not said. 

Adkisson:  “There are concerns about tax policy, whether or not Washington is going to get it—get its act together in terms of spending and the entitlement programs.” 

That’s code for “please, oh mother of God, please don’t ask me about defense spending.” And Gwen Ifill blissfully acquiesced.  Defense spending never came up. 

This is the major problem with the television news media. They pretend we are not at war when discussing the budget. They pretend the military budget is not breaking the bank.  They pretend the wars and incessant and obsessive military strategic thinking do not drain the intellectual capacity of the executive branch, forcing it to spend more time, more money, and more thought on war than it does on anything else.

The last election was an example of this farce.  Because millionaires were spending money on ads saying to cut spending and because those ads didn’t mention military spending and because neither Democrats nor Republicans wanted to discuss military spending, no one talked about it. 

And now members of the Republican Tea Party are in Congress realizing that they would have to strip the nation bare, not provide any health care, not repair the nation’s infrastructure, and not adequately fund veterans benefits if they want to balance the budget, because it’s the defense budget, with all its gray areas, accounting tricks, off-the-books intelligence spending, and all its pay outs to private contractors—that’s what is bankrupting this country. 

As for Gwen Ifill she has my sympathy. She grew up in a nation perpetually at war—and like the rest of us—never realized it was perpetually at war.  She grew up in a country where censorship is so common that the words “edited for television” do not ring of censorship, a country where people do not realize the news is just as heavily censored as entertainment. 

And I’m not saying we should have porn on primetime. I’m saying that we should be showing the gruesome truth of war during the news. And we should be talking about it and asking the head of the Kentucky of Chamber of Commerce: 

“We spend more money on defense than entitlements. Why is defense spending off the table?

“Excuse, Mr. Adkisson, do you realize that funds for injured war veterans fall under entitlement programs?  Are you saying we should not help men who fought for us in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War I and Gulf War II, not to mention the tens of thousands of others who secretly sacrificed their minds and bodies during The Cold War? Don’t you support the troops, not just when they’re fighting, but when they come home?”

No. Gwen could not ask such questions because they did not occur to her.  And the journalist Harold Meyerson, the token liberal, could not raise the questions because he would not be invited back for the next interview. 

It will be a great day when Gwen and Harold are marching in the streets with a thousand journalists behind them demanding an end to censorship of the television news media, demanding that corporations owning television media be broken up. When that happens maybe then public television will stop emulating corporate television.

Now let me tell you how I really feel— grin

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By Alan, February 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Exclusive to Truthdig: 
The real transcript of
O.‘s appearance at The Chamber of O’Reilly Horrors:

Ladies and Gents, distinguished crackpot and fascist agitator, Bill O’Reilly, will interview the president:

O’Reilly: Welcome Mr. President.
O’Bama:  Should I address you as Master Bill?
O’Reilly: Rupert is Master Rupert, me you address as
      Boss Bill.

Couch Potato (watching O’R. and O’B. on tv):
      Somebody is sellin’ somebody down the river.

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