If you haven’t read Fortune Magazine’s piece on its 2011 “Business Person of the Year”: Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, it’s an interesting read. Reporter David Kaplan tells a compelling story not just of Schultz’s canny abilities in running a mega-powerful commercial titan such as Starbucks, but also how politically savvy the coffee magnate can be. Perhaps he never intended to wield such power, but according to the piece, he is.
And the President is paying attention as well. Evidently, earlier this September, Obama called Schultz to talk shop and seek his guidance on the current (weak) business climate across the country. Schultz had made it known that he was deeply concerned about the current trajectory (or nosedive) of the U.S. economy and what its leaders proposed to do about it.
Now, conversations between the leader of the country and a leader of a major U.S. companywouldn’t necessarily count as news. But what made this September conversation different is its timing. Obama called Schultz soon after the CEO announced in a public way that he was “disgusted with Washington’s dysfunction” and would no longer be making campaign contributions to incumbents in either party. Big news indeed. What hurt more was that Schultz is a big Democratic donor, and his inability to find his wallet for the foreseeable future bothered the White House immensely.
Let me get this straight. The best way to get the President’s attention is by announcing you’re not giving his party any more money? Are you serious?
And just to clear up any doubts he might’ve had in calling Schultz, Obama was quoted as saying, “I’d like to talk to you about a number of things, including your campaign initiative, as well as your thoughts on the economy and job creation.” What a joke.
What’s laughable is this President and his minions publicly decry contributions from major moguls, and PACs, yet quietly vie for the monetary attention.
When will the White House just come out and admit it’s in full campaign mode? Stop trying to cover it up. It might make folks less inclined to avoid you if they know you intend to shake them down on why they’re not giving campaign money this election cycle.
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