Washington Prowler

Anti-Business as Usual

Bill Daley got an earful, which was music to the president's ear. Plus: Final proof Rick Perry's running.

By 6.20.11

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BILL COMES DUE
It was not "business as usual" last week for Democrats in Washington, as members of the Obama Administration and Democrat Senators fanned out across town for meetings with senior business executives and business owners holding summer meetings in the city.

The man who took the biggest beating was White House chief of staff Bill Daley, who met with members of the National Association of Manufacturers and was practically run out of the room by its membership.

"There is a reason that many of these senior executive meetings are held in private," says a senior NAM staffer, who helped organize the Daley speech and Q&A session, which was open to the press. "What you saw there was why."

Daley was roasted for the Obama Administration's zeal in imposing regulations on businesses from virtually every federal agency and Cabinet-level department. Daley, a former business executive himself, was supposed to be the man who was going to fix the Obama Administration's anti-business standing. But Daley, while talking a good game, has failed to rein in the President and his ideologically driven cohorts in the federal agencies.

Daley's speech before NAM was met with polite applause, but when the question and answer period started, all civility went out the door, to the point that Daley ultimately admitted that many of the administration's policies were "indefensible."

The next day, across town, a group of more than 15 Democrat Senators met with chief executive officers of companies belonging to the Business Roundtable. That meeting was off the record, and by all accounts -- at least from the Democrats -- the meeting went well. But Daley's beat down at NAM the day before - and the ensuing national coverage of that event, which once again highlighted the Obama Administration's continued war on business -- was enough that almost every Democrat in the Roundtable meeting asked that the "off the record" designation be removed to show that they were willing to work with business.

The Obama Administration's war on business, though, isn't having a negative effect on its fundraising for 2012 -- at least in Washington, D.C. Democratic National Committee and Obama re-elect sources say that they have commitments from executives from virtually every major U.S. corporation to host or co-host fundraisers in the coming months.

"At some point, you wish that some executive would show the spine to say, 'Enough. I've learned my lesson, you can't weigh me down with regulations and expect me to help you get elected so you can do it to me again and again and again,'" says a Republican fundraiser. "But that hasn't happened yet."

CLEAN SHEET
It appears that Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his staff are getting ready to enter the GOP primary race for the presidential nomination. One indicator: someone on Perry's staff has been exceedingly active in "updating" Wikipedia pages that previously were either critical of Perry policies or laid out historical facts that could prove damaging to Perry's campaign. A number of Texas-related Wikipedia pages have been edited between June 16 and June 18.

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