JONATHAN CHAIT OCTOBER 18, 2010
Although I was glad that you answered a question of mine at the Sept. 20 town-hall meeting you hosted in Washington, D.C., Mr. President, I must say that the event seemed more like a lecture than a dialogue. For more than two years the country has listened to your sharp rhetoric about how American businesses are short-changing workers, fleecing customers, cheating borrowers, and generally "driving the economy into a ditch," to borrow your oft-repeated phrase.
What is Langone talking about? Obama has accused Republican elected officials, not business owners, of driving the economy into a ditch. The part about short-changing workers? Fleecing customers? Cheating borrowers? He cites no quotations, and this is either a wild distortion or a pure figment of Langone's imagination.
I suppose it's no surprise that an angry, nutty rich guy -- Langone's self description: "I'm nuts, I'm rich, and boy, do I love a fight" -- would concoct persecution fantasies. But, really, why are malefactors of wealth like Langone so sensitive? I can see why he wants to keep in place tax cuts for the rich. Do they really think that the fact that Obama has denounced the miscalculation and greed by Wall Street is actually holding back an economic recovery? Or does it just hurt their feelings so much that the public does not regard people like him with the gratitude to which he feels entitled, and presidential rhetoric strikes Grasso as the most likely explanation for this otherwise inexplicable injustice?