Politico marks a melancholy anniversary on Thursday: one year without an official meeting of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. No meetings are scheduled in the near future, either. The Council had a grand total of four meetings before slipping down the Memory Hole:
A spokesman for Jobs Council chairman Jeffrey Immelt, who’s the CEO of General Electric, referred questions about the panel’s future to the White House.
A White House spokeswoman had no comment Thursday.
I know I shouldn’t be laughing about this, but I can’t help myself. The idea that anyone ever took Barack Obama seriously about “jobs” or “competitiveness” is hilarious. These outside advisory boards and councils are supposed to serve as symbolic gestures, not bend the President’s ear with suggestions that run contrary to his agenda. Now that low-information voters have accepted the New Normal of permanent double-digit real unemployment, there is no further reason for him to waste time in meetings with a bunch of business executives, some of whom are a bit sensitive about having been used as anti-capitalist voodoo dolls:
POLITICO caused a stir last July by reporting that the panel had not convened officially for six months. The story noted some simmering tension between the slew of business executives on the board and a pair of labor leaders who are also members of the group. The report also said that some CEOs were reluctant to appear with Obama at the height of the presidential campaign and that Obama’s public attacks on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for outsourcing complicated the idea of an election-season sit-down between the president and the business leaders.
Romney leapt on the story by accusing Obama of neglecting the panel and the broader issue of job creation. The White House’s initial response to the report also fanned the flames when Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama was too busy to meet the panel, a remark the Obama aide later clarified by saying the president was “extremely appreciative” of the group’s work.
Hey, look, another thing Mitt Romney was right about!
Rest assured that the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will continue to hold “listening and action events” and participate in the odd “private conference call” where they will “hear reports and interact with senior Obama Administration officials.” Meanwhile, the economic transformation of America will continue apace. Please try not to notice the mess while reconstruction is in progress.