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  • Just Unbelievable

    Posted by David Foster on March 23rd, 2012 (All posts by )

    It’s been reported that GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who is also head of Obama’s jobs council, is increasingly appalled at the President’s economic ideas. Charlie Gasparino says:

    Friends describe Immelt as privately dismayed that, even after three years on the job, President Obama hasn’t moved to the center, but instead further left. The GE CEO, I’m told, is appalled by everything from the president’s class-warfare rhetoric to his continued belief that big government is the key to economic salvation.

    The “Just Unbelievable” title of this post does not refer to Mr Immelt’s belated recognition of the problems with Obamaism (if such has really occurred–the Gasparino story is based soley on unidentified sources)–but rather to the headline that the major financial website Business Insider chose to put on this story:

    GASPARINO: Here’s Why GE CEO Jeff Immelt Is Going To Stab Obama In The Back

    (The “stab in the back” phrase does not actually appear in the Gasparino article, but was added by the BI author or headline-writer)


    Now there are many things one could say about Mr Immelt’s recent recognition of the problems with Obama and his ideology (again, assuming such discovery has really happened), One could say, for instance, “Jeff, what took you so long?” or “Immelt finally gets a clue,” or even “another rube self-identifies.” But stab in the back???

    Immelt has not, as far as we know, sworn eternal fealty on the alter of Obama; he is not Obama’s feudal subordinate or even his employee. Expressing negative opinions about the President and his policies (again, if he really did) would not be stabbing anyone in the back.

    Maybe BI believes Immelt’s behavior represents a “stab in the back” because the reservations were expressed privately. Personally, I’d rather have seen Immelt make a highly public announcement about his conclusions…in addition to the political impact, such an announcement would go a long way toward fixing the damage to GE’s reputation among significant segments of the population that has occurred due to the widespread perception that the company is the poster boy for crony capitalism. (Disclosure: GE shareholder) But one can surely understand why Immelt would be reluctant to take such a step given the many, many things that the Federal Government could do to harm GE and the evident willingness of Obama to use government power for political ends. The “Chicago Way” is, for the duration of the Obama presidency, a national phenomenon and a national plague.

    BI’s use of the “stab in the back” headline exemplifies two things….First, the degree to which Obamaism is about the near-worship of a particular leader, to a degree almost unprecedented in mainstream American politics (remember those American flags with Obama where the stars should be??)…and second, the degree to which even much of the business media leans to the Left.

    An alternate title for this post was Immelt may have gotten a clue–Business Insider still clueless.

     

    12 Responses to “Just Unbelievable”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      GE also receives a tone of money for green projects – Unless Imhelt has the courage to publicly proclaim something any inside speculation about “what he thinks” is not worth much.

      Think I read pretty much the same thing in the WSJ.

      My question is if he really is “dismayed” there was a ton of information about him before the election – even if the MSM chose to hide it – why did all these people choose to ignore it?

    2. Dan D Says:

      Business Insider is a joke, it is only marginally credible in just a random assortment of its stories. Henry Blodget is a die-hard Obama fan, and his website is sensational in aspirations and certainly in presentation. You can’t rely on anything seen on Business Insider without a lot of independent corroboration, and even then you must swallow the tabloidy headlines and breathless and inconsistent business and investment coverage.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Yeah, there’s a lot of trash at BI, and it has one of the worst comments sections I’ve seen anywhere. OTOH, there are often some interesting stories there. As you suggest, everything needs to be independently verified.

      Also, I think the headline used by BI tended to imply that GASPARINO said the thing about Immelt knifing Obama in the back, which he didn’t.

    4. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      My question is if he really is “dismayed” there was a ton of information about him before the election – even if the MSM chose to hide it – why did all these people choose to ignore it?

      Because we are avid consumers of new Internet/blogging-based media, we were all well aware of what Obama is. However, the absolute number of consumers of new media are still low compared to the viewership of, say, a CNN.

      Also, a CEO’s day is jam-packed with activities; I highly doubt that Immelt plops down in front of his monitor for a leisurely stroll through the blogroll here, or at Instapundit, or Samizadata etc. If you don’t actively seek this information out, the nomenklatura certainly isn’t going to betray their class and do so.

    5. Bill Brandt Says:

      Because we are avid consumers of new Internet/blogging-based media, we were all well aware of what Obama is. However, the absolute number of consumers of new media are still low compared to the viewership of, say, a CNN.

      Percy – I suspect you are right – and to think the majority of people get their news from the MSM – is depressing.

    6. Mockingbird Says:

      Business Insider has put out some articles that have had me scratching my head.

    7. setbit Says:

      Immelt has not, as far as we know, sworn eternal fealty on the alter of Obama;

      *altar

    8. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      I am, perhaps, more cynical. I see this as Dezhinformatzia and Maskirova. GE is taking a hit as far as the public is concerned because they are viewed as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. I know that I avoid GE products wherever I can. If they are going to be corporatist [in terms of the political science definition] stooges; they are already robbing me by taking my tax dollars. I see no reason to subsidize them further voluntarily.

      While I am sure that they are not going to admit it, the perception of their company has got to be affecting their bottom line. This is the cheapest way to at least temporarily boost their PR.

      Subotai Bahadur

    9. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I would like to know how GE is doing without the subsidies but we’ll never know. Maybe Immelt’s reaction is a hint.

    10. David Foster Says:

      Subotoi Bahadur….it’s possible that it’s a PR ploy, of course….but Immelt has previously demonstrated a tendency to talk about things that are frustrating him. The best one is that when he was being plagued with accusations about doing a worse job than Jack Welch, he purportedly said that in the 1990s:

      “anyone could have run GE and done well. Not only could anyone have run GE in the 1990s, a dog could have run GE. A German shepherd could have run GE.”

    11. Bill Waddell Says:

      Jeff Immelt slamming Barack Obama on issues of the economic welfare of the United States and integrity – now if that ain’t a hoot I don’t know what is.

    12. -flatlander- Says:

      Jeff Immelt’s decision to support Obama was from the beginning a business decision. In short, it was good for GE to be at the front of the trough given what he rightly perceived as a shift toward big government spending as the core GE businesses were winding down in a recession. So it is entirely consistent for Immelt to be privately appalled and publicly subservient.

      Expect him to hedge his bets into the fall until such time as the outcome of the election is clear. Don’t ever expect to hear him publicly say what he thinks.