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Mr. Hope, meet Mr. Yellow

I was at my real job when Obama came to Peoria and Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens managed to muck up a pretty good photo op by doing that thing they taught us to do in Peoria when asked a direct question: say what you think the truth is.

Something you develop in the news biz is a BS detector — mine was pegged the other day when Obama was allegedly going to say Owens promised to recall recently laid-off workers if the stimulus bill passed. It was all based on an unnamed “source” quoted in the Journal Star and carefully hedged to really mean “we’ll start rehiring if the version we want gets passed (though we know this will never happen by the time the Beltway Sausage Factory gets done with it).”

Mr. “Audacity of Hope” is not above exploiting fearful people’s hopes for better days to get legislation passed. Refreshing because it exposes him as politician vs. messiah. Mr. Yellow Father, however, has to answer to the people who have their personal fortunes (and $18 billion worth of stock) invested in his enterprise; he gains nothing by handing out false hopes.

I don’t really think Owens and Obama contradicted each other: Obama’s package should help companies like Caterpillar stop firing and start hiring. Owens just said it would be farther down the road than many had hoped, and that more jobs may be lost before things turn around and hiring resumes. If this surprises you, congrats on returning from your vacation on the Mars Riviera.

(I had to work late last night to get a story in the paper about a plane crash that killed 50 people … puts all this in perspective).

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Tom Mangan posted at 9:18 am February 13th, 2009 |

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