Frankly, regardless of your political bent, if you can read this and not see a problem, you’re not being honest with yourself.
The accounts demonstrate that despite the public comments on both sides that the meeting was cordial, the tone in the room was in fact one of mutual wariness. The titans of finance – men used to being the most powerful man in almost any room – sized up a new president who made clear in ways big and small that he expected them to change their ways.
There were signs from the outset that this was a business event, not a social gathering. At each place around the table sat a single glass of water. No ice. For those who finished their glass, no refills were offered. There was no group photograph taken of the CEOs with the president, which typically happens at ceremonial White House gatherings but not at serious strategy sessions.
“The only way they could have sent a more Spartan message is if they had served bread along with the water,” says a person who attended the meeting. “The signal from Obama’s body language and demeanor was, ‘I’m the president, and you’re not.'”
According to the accounts of sources inside the room, President Obama told the CEOs exactly what he expects from them, and pushed back forcefully when they attempted to defend Wall Street’s legendarily high-paying ways.
Obama was elected president. He was not anointed as dictator. Nor did he, by virtue of winning an election, become God’s chosen one.
Yet the report suggests that Obama appears to believe that his election somehow raises him above the law, the Constitution and the judgment of others.
Regardless of your politics, this should worry you. A lot.