Picking winners and losers is one thing. Picking winners and losers if you are president of the United States is another, as Rep. Paul Ryan, R.-Wis., suggested in his response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
But so far in his presidency, Obama has banked on certain business interests over others and ensured that campaign donors are well taken care of.
For example, after Obama selected General Electric chief Jeffrey Immelt to head his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Tabitha Hale wrote on FreedomWorks, "This could not have been a more clear product of a crony corporatist relationship, and it is one that has no place in government that professes to value the free market."
Others in the conservative blogosphere have pointed out that GE was among the top corporate donors to Obama's presidential campaign, and that it has interests — especially when it comes to renewable energy and China — that are clearly aligned with those of the White House.
This is exactly the kind of favoritism and pay-to-play politics that Obama promised would be over when he swept into the White House. And though every presidency singles out its friends for largess, no one before has promised so earnestly to end Washington's "culture" — only to cozy up to it so quickly and completely.
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