|January 7, 2011|
|U.S. Chamber, Obama Make Strange Bedfellows|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|What a difference a “shellacking” makes. |
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was a major thorn in the side of Democrats and President Barack Obama during the recent election season. It got to the point at which Obama accused the Chamber of funneling foreign funds into the coffers of GOP candidates.
The Chamber dismissed the president, telling him to either provide proof to back up those charges or buzz off. The now humbled president has the Chamber atop his schmooze list.
Obama and Daley in a White House photo.
Obama will trek across Lafayette Park on Feb. 7 to the “belly of the beast,” better known as the COC’s D.C. headquarters. He plans to seek support for plans to gin up the economy.
Of next month’s visit, Tom Collamore, COC’s senior VP-communications, graciously told the Wall Street Journal:
“We look forward to hosting the President next month to discuss jobs and the economy. This remains the top priority of the Chamber and the business community, and we’re committed to working together to put Americans back to work.”
Let bygones be bygones.
But there is even more good news on the peace offering front in the image of Bill Daley, who is Obama’s new chief of staff. The former Dept. of Commerce Secretary and current JPMorgan Chase executive has drawn rave reviews from none other than COC chief Tom Donohue, who today issued this statement:
This is a strong appointment. Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations, and global affairs. He’s an accomplished manager and strong leader. We look forward to working with him to accelerate our recovery, grow the economy, create jobs, and tackle America’s global challenges.”
Daley's new White House job does not have members of Obama’s former progressive base doing cartwheels.
Paul Blumenthal, president of the Sunlight Foundation, blogged that Daley is nothing but a sop to banks and will be Wall Street’s plant into one of the most important jobs in Washington, gatekeeper of the information that flows and people who get face-time with the President. “The country doesn’t need someone so close to the very industry that brought us all to the brink involved in the day-to-day decision-making and deal-making that chief of staff position entails,” wrote Blumenthal.
Daley, however, is just the grown-up pragmatist that Obama and Democrats need to rebound from the shellacking. And if I remember correctly, the country did pretty well economically when Daley headed Commerce during the golden years of the Clinton presidency. Daley is the anti-Rahm Emanuel who knows how to get things done. There are plenty of things that Team Obama needs to fix if it expects to win another term in office.
And perhaps the COC is warming up to the President. There’s word today that the Chamber is ready to join forces with the AFL-CIO to fight Republican plans to cut infrastructure spending.
That’s one odd partnership that could do a lot of good for the president.
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