If you blinked you may have missed that President Obama this week questioned the patriotism of corporate America and Wall Street.
It is understandable that some of the coverage of President Obama's speech Monday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would be looked at through the prism of politics. Predictably there were two main focal points of the political coverage: Had Obama waded into enemy territory by addressing the Chamber? And was this part of a move to the center that Obama's liberal backers fear so much?
Progressives wrapped up in the politics may have missed an underlying message in Obama's talk with the big business lobby: That it is unpatriotic to pocket multi-million dollar bonuses while work forces are cut, and it is equally unAmerican to send U.S. jobs overseas to exploit cheap labor and weak government regulation.
"But as we work with you to make America a better place to do business, I’m hoping that all of you are thinking what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire more American workers, what you can do to support the American economy and invest in this nation," Obama lectured his audience.
Amid the loss of a documented 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs and another 850,000 service sector jobs that moved overseas in this decade, Obama can boast of providing more tax cuts and incentives to keep jobs in the U.S. than any President in a generation.
No matter how much his detractors try to deny it, the fact is that more Americans, including the wealthy captains of industry and finance, have more tax relief under Obama than even President Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the Grand old Party.
Now Obama is making the case that it is time for big business to live up to its part of the bargain and substitute a culture of greed with a culture of honor. That is not a move by Obama to the center, nor is it a position that only the left has staked out for itself. It is the American way to ensure that the Republic remains strong and that our friends and neighbors can enjoy a good quality of life.
"Together, I am confident we can win the competition for new jobs and industries. And I know you share my enthusiasm. Here’s one thing I know. For all the disagreements, (Chamber President) Tom (Donohue), that we may have sometimes on issues, I know you love this country. I know you want America to succeed just as badly as I do," Obama said.
"So, yes, we’ll have some disagreements; and, yes, we’ll see things differently at times. But we’re all Americans. And that spirit of patriotism, and that sense of mutual regard and common obligation, that has carried us through far harder times than the ones we’ve just been through," Obama added.