Yesterday, President Obama met with the heads of several leading businesses to discuss his plans for improving the economy. The main message Obama wanted to convey to the CEOs:
“I want to dispel any notion we want to inhibit your success,” President Obama told 20 CEOs this morning, according to a source in the room. “We want to be boosters because when you do well, America does well.”
Good move, Mr. President. That’s one of the truest things you’ve said since… well, ever.
But it’s worth discussing just where that notion came from. It didn’t spring, fully formed, from the brow of Zeus. It’s the result of literally years and years of your efforts to convey just that message.
You got that reputation the old-fashioned way, Mr. President — you earned it. You earned it by decrying the “excessive” and “obscene” profits of private industry, railing against Wall Street fatcats (an astonishing number of whom gave you money, and even ended up on your payroll), by promising to regulate and control businesses while guaranteeing them a “reasonable” profit (“reasonable,” by your definition). By talking about making people pay “their fair share,” which means to you “them that has, pays more.”
Now you want to turn that image around? Good idea. And good luck. Because you’ve literally spent years working hard to earn just that image. It’ll take more than a couple of glib speeches to turn that all around. It’ll take a even more work than you put into getting it in the first place.
Because, quite frankly, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to believe you.
At least you managed to avoid your customary “tell” — “as I’ve said before.” When you say that or things like that, you’re telling us all to strap on the hip waders.