The texts of Barack Obama’s recent speeches seem tailor-made for softening the White House’s often hostile description of American business, but the president’s impromptu additions are highlighting his efforts to subordinate business to government.
At a Jan. 11 event in the White House where Obama’s published speech praised businesses for hiring American workers, for example, he departed from his prepared script to toughen his demands for business to cooperate with his political goals.
The teleprompter text, distributed to reporters, included a quote from former Intel CEO Andy Grove, which explained the moral obligation he felt towards the United Sates after his 1956 escape from communism.
The script used Grove’s quote to set up the speech’s political punchline.
A moral obligation “is part of the responsibility that comes with being a leader in America. … That’s a responsibility we should all live up to,” the text read.
But Obama went in his own direction during his delivery, converting the “should” recommendation into a directive.
“That’s a responsibility that we all have to live up to,” said the president.
Obama’s demands that the commercial sector’s purposes be subordinated to government priorities — even outside the law — have brought increasing complaints from GOP legislators and free-market advocates about “crony capitalism.”
GOP front-runner Mitt Romney pushed that free-market position during his Jan. 10 victory speech in New Hampshire.
“President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial,” Romney said. “Our plans protect freedom and opportunity, and our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States … [not] ever increasing government checks and cradle-to-grave assurances that government will always be the solution.”
Obama’s also displayed his skepticism towards business in his Jan. 4 speech where he declared his controversial intention to bypass the Senate and install Richard Cordray to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“We know what would happen if Republicans in Congress were allowed to keep holding Richard’s nomination hostage,” he told the swing-state audience in a wealthy Cleveland, Ohio suburb. “More of our loved ones would be tricked into making bad financial decisions. More dishonest lenders could take advantage of some of the most vulnerable families.”
“Every day that we waited was another day when millions of Americans were left unprotected. … That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. And I refuse to take no for an answer,” he told the crowd.