The Plank

Key To Obama's Popularity: Sucking Up To The Business Elite

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I've always had a soft spot for Robert Rubin and the moderate, fiscally-conservative wing of economic officials associated with the Clinton administration. That said, this Wall Street Journal op-ed, by former Clinton deputy Treasury secretary Roger Altman, reads like a left-winger's parody of a moderate Democrat. Altman offers prosaic advise -- propose a tax credit for businesses that create jobs, create a commission to address the deficit -- before uncorking this:

A third step involves the party's deteriorating relations with industry. This relationship must be fixed because the views of industry often coincide with those of independent voters. The commitment to address the deficit would help, together with moderate regulatory policy on telecommunications and antitrust, and adding one or two businessmen or women to senior levels of the administration.

The views of industry coincide with those of independent voters? Since when? Altman provides zero data points to support this assertion. Does he mean like on TARP, which is supported by business but wildly unpopular with the public? (I'm with the business elite by the way, but I'm realistic about the popularity.)

The most comical proposal is that soft regulatory policies toward telecommunications and antitrust is the key to winning over independent voters. Yeah, that's what swing voters in Ohio are talking about over the kitchen table.

Altman's bio describes him as chairman of Evercore Partners. While I don't know, I'd be willing to bet that Evercore has some interest in those two issues. Call it a hunch.

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