Saturday, August 20, 2011

Aww: Silicon Valley the latest to be disillusioned by Hope and Change

Let’s see. Obama has lost Wall Street, the progressive grassroots, and even a few unions. Now it looks like another funding source for his re-election bid might fade as well — high-tech Silicon Valley. Politico reports that the innovation center once celebrated the fact that they had backed a President who uses a Blackberry, but now think he’s just another middle-aged man with some ubiquitous personal technology:

Silicon Valley is like an alternative-universe version of America — a place where businesses are making billion-dollar acquisitions, jobs are being added by the thousands, and the buzz is not over plant closings but Apple’s plans for a giant hew headquarters that looks like a spaceship.

So Barack Obama must be a hit here, right?

Wrong. …

But in Silicon Valley, they’re still trying to figure out why the first geek runs an administration that hasn’t delivered much for them other than photo ops. And they’re worried now that time is running out — that the administration is hamstrung by a divided Congress, a stagnant national economy and intense political pressure to cut government spending.

“I don’t think they feel the love,” said Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association. “There’s great disillusionment.”

Time is running out for some corporatist pork? Cry me a digital river, fellows. What happened to innovating your way to success on your own?

All is not lost, however, according to Politico’s Michelle Quinn. If Obama can push through immigration reform (for cheap labor) or tax reform, all may still be forgiven. Both are unlikely, although for different reasons. Obama simply doesn’t have the political capital any longer to push an amnesty-based immigration reform package, which is why he’s trying to do it through executive fiat. He had overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress between 2009-10, including a few Republicans in both the House and Senate who would have come along on a moderate immigration-reform package. Instead, he chose to shove a brand new entitlement program down the throats of Americans opposed to it and lost the House as a result.

Tax reform could be a different story, but Obama has already declared that he wants to maintain the “progressive” nature of the tax code. An approach that flattened the personal and corporate tax codes to broaden both tax bases and reduce or eliminate the social engineering in both as well would likely get strong bipartisan support. It would also increase revenues and close down corporate tax breaks (big wins for Democrats) while lowering rates and simplifying compliance (big wins for Republicans). Unfortunately, as with every other issue, Obama has refused to lead on this at all, even though his own deficit commission made exactly these kind of recommendations in January, giving him enough political cover to move forward.

So, when it comes time to hit up Silicon Valley for political support next year, don’t be surprised if Obama just gets back a big 404.