Some time ago, President Obama created a ruckus when he accused a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer of acting stupidly in arresting a college professor who was an acquaintance of the president. To smooth over the furor, he invited the professor and the policeman to the Rose Garden for a “beer summit.” Perhaps another “smoothing over” summit is in order—this time with Tom Donohue, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The president and his allies in Congress are having a tough time of it lately. Obama’s favorable ratings with the voters have dropped significantly in the past year. Polling data show the Democrats are very likely to lose their majority in the House and may experience the same fate in the Senate. The legislative agenda pushed by the president and the Democrats in the last two years is not popular with the voters. Since they can’t run on their record, the Democrats’ game plan appears to be to demonize the opposition. The latest manifestation of that strategy has been the assault on the U.S. Chamber by President Obama and the spin team of his party. They allege with innuendo that the Chamber is using foreign money to fuel its ad campaign in the current elections.
Unfortunately for Team Obama, they have absolutely no evidence to back up their “foreign money” claims against the Chamber. That being the case, mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post (anything but propaganda outlets for conservatives) have been highly critical of President Obama for using such desperate tactics. Bob Schieffer of CBS News even asked the president’s chief political advisor, David Axelrod: “Is that the best you’ve got?”
On November 3, once the smoke has cleared from the election, President Obama will be looking at a new reality in Washington. In all likelihood, Democrats will not be in control of both the legislative and executive branches. Unless the president finds some bipartisan support or new allies for his initiatives, he isn’t likely to meet with much success in advancing legislation. One possible ally is the very man whose organization he is demonizing: Tom Donohue.
To the chagrin of some Republicans and conservatives, the U.S. Chamber supported several of President Obama’s initiatives in the past two years. The Chamber supported the TARP legislation because it felt it was necessary to stabilize the financial sector after the crash in the fall of 2008. It also supported the GM and Chrysler bailouts because it thought they were necessary to save the auto industry. Likewise, the Chamber recently supported the president’s small business stimulus plan that barely passed Congress. Certainly Donohue and the Chamber have not always been on Obama’s side. They led the charge against the union “card check” bill supported by Obama and helped kill it. They also fought against Obama’s job-killing “cap and trade” legislation. That is what the Chamber does: It supports bills it thinks will create or save jobs and fights those it thinks will kill them.
If President Obama is going to win a second term in 2012, the U.S. economy will need to be adding 400,000 to 500,000 jobs a month on the eve of that election. The SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and left-wing groups like MoveOn.org won’t be supporting legislation that can make that happen. The U.S. Chamber will be. November 3 would be a great time for the president to schedule a sit-down with Tom Donohue to discuss plans to revitalize our national economy. Donohue can help him do that. The zealots that Obama caters to cannot.