Tech execs disappointed in their meeting with Obama
As his presidency sinks in popularity faster than George W. Bush's, Barack Obama is discovering that key constituencies are disappointed with him, and in danger of turning against him. Along with the media, high tech played a major role in achieving his two electoral victories. But now there are signs that his once-solid support in Silicon Valley and beyond is crumbling. The Hill reports:
Several technology executives who met with President Obama at the White House Tuesday were frustrated with the focus on HealthCare.gov, a source told CNN.
"We didn't fly across the country for a discussion on HealthCare.gov," said the source, whom CNN identified as a representative of one of the tech companies at the meeting.
President Obama also didn't completely defend the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, which CNN's source said caused dismay among some of the executives who attended.
Make no mistake: major high technology companies have been injured by disclosures of their cooperation with NSA spying. Overseas, a number of countries are moving away from reliance on US companies for both equipment and internet services. Being in bed with spying also tends to taint companies among the libertarian-leaning high tech workforce. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that executives were hankering for a defense they could uise, or else maybe some reforms that could be touted as not being evil.
Instead, they appear to have gotten an appeal for help with putting lipstick on the healthcare.gov pig. That particular pig was created by a Canadian company, not the home grown, world-beating American tech industry, none of whom was smart enough to employ a college chum of Valerie Jarrett.
The group of executives included representatives from Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook. Notably absent from this list is Amazon.com, which has more experience running a massive retail website than anyone else. Of course, right now is the peak pre-Christmas rush for Amazon, so perhaps they were just too busy. Still, one wonders if some companies are bailing out on the messiah that failed.
There were three legs to the stool that powered Obama to two national electoral victories: media, high tech, and blacks, whose turnout and overwhelming margin of support were essential. Two of those legs now are shaky. Obama has lost a small number of percentage points of support among blacks, but they still remain 90% in his pocket. Expect Obama to do everything he can to make sure that blacks remain motivated to stay in his camp.