Obama’s Fruit Cake Détente With Chamber

Flickr user babe_kl

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Today’s takeaway from President Obama’s address to the US Chamber of Commerce, his most powerful political foe, is that he and his next-door neighbors need to try harder to get along. “I’m here in the interest of being more neighborly,” Obama told a crowd of CEOs at the Chamber’s headquarters, which is across the street from the White House. “Maybe if we would have brought over a fruit cake when I first moved in, we would have gotten off on a better foot. But I’m going to make it up.”

The irony of the fruit-cake quip might have been lost on the Chamber crowd, which isn’t exactly known for its political empathy. Here is a president who mortgaged the future of America’s middle class to bail out its corporate leaders from the recession that they caused, and yet in return, has been on the receiving end of an unprecedented corporate hissy fit in Washington. Imagine if the president of a homeowners association rescued the neighborhood from a wildfire but was voted out of office because he wanted the people living in mansions to do their fair share to prevent another conflagration. That’s the prospect facing Obama.

It could well be that his only remaining option is to bake up the political equivalent of fruit cake—fruity ideas such as free trade agreements, regulatory cutbacks, and tax breaks for the wealthy. It might not taste very good to most of us, but maybe its saccharine combination of trickle-down economic concepts will be durable enough to last through the next election. 

Updated 2/8/11 at 8:35 AM Pacific

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest