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Obama’s real feelings and priorities

Posted: July 30, 2012 at 11:00 am   /   by

Not understanding business is an affliction of many Democrats, both elected and rank-and-file. That is not to say that no Democrats are in business, obviously. But Democrats are underrepresented in the small-business community and over-represented in areas such as journalism, the professoriate, the ranks of welfare recipients, felons, single women, and so on. You often get the impression that a lot of them simply do not understand business, how it works, what it means to have to meet payroll, etc.  You see this very clearly in their somewhat unrealistic view of economics, and their fantastical belief that government can just keep taking and taking from the private sector without any impact.

Recently, I posited that Obama goes beyond simply not understanding, all the way to a visceral dislike of the business community. A short time later, that supposition received further validation:

While the President continues to bristle at the notion that people should pay attention to his “You didn’t build that” comments and his supporters insists we’re reading too much into it, a look at Barack Obama’s younger self tells a different story. Just how does he view business owners and capitalists in general? One peek into the inner thought process which formed his world view can be found in a book released earlier this year by David Maraniss titled, Barack Obama: The Story. I confess I missed this one when it came out, but a friend has been reading it and pointed out some rather telling passages, particularly in light of the recent flap. But I wasn’t the only one to notice, nor the first. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York picked up on it last month.

Obama spent very little time in business, but he did have a job at a company called Business International for about a year after he graduated from Columbia University in 1983. The book contains new details about the future president’s brief stint in corporate America.

Obama was a low-level editor in Reference Services, working on reports describing economic conditions in various foreign countries. By all accounts, he disliked the work, not just because it was pedestrian and boring, but because it was in business.

“He calls it working for the enemy,” Obama’s mother, Ann, wrote after a phone conversation with her son, “because some of the reports are written for commercial firms that want to invest in [Third World] countries.”

The book goes on to point out that this information came from a letter his mother wrote to her mentor, Alice Dewey, in Honolulu. In addition to that call, Maraniss notes that the same theme was repeated in a call to this then girlfriend.

“Obama wrote a letter to his former girlfriend, Alex McNear, during that period, the last he would write to her. As in his telephone conversation with his mother, he expressed a distaste for the corporate world. He wrote Alex on Business International stationery, but crossed out the logo on the envelope and scribbled in his own address on West 114th Street.”

Everything about Obama’s behavior, and mounting evidence from his past, all point in the same direction. If you are in business, you are not only the target of Obama’s desire to tax, you are the target of his ire.

Here is more on what Obama really cares about (golf and fundraisers) and how he really feels (You didn’t build that).


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Obama's real feelings and priorities