The Potemkin village of a CEO meeting — it was really just a photo op — was a Potemkin village for a sales pitch to hide a Potemkin village of a website. So I guess Glenn Reynolds isn’t exaggerating when he says it’s Potemkin villages all the way down. More from the Daily Mail:
During a White House meeting called to brief America’s largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of healthcare.gov.
‘That wasn’t what we came for,’ a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. ‘We really didn’t care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.’
One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.
The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of healthcare.gov, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA.
‘He basically hijacked the meeting,’ the executive said. ‘We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.’
Yet another hamfisted sales pitch from the Talker-in-Chief — anyone surprised?
On that photo op mention above, here’s Jeff Macke explaining why yesterday’s meeting was a “wasted opportunity.”
HealthCare.gov, information security and individual privacy, job creation and national income inequality: if President Obama can make progress on any two of these issues his second term will be considered a resounding success. If President Obama somehow implements solution on all four before his term expires in 2016, it’ll be time to consider making space on Mount Rushmore.
That’s what makes it so disappointing that the White House would appear to be giving today’s meeting about as much thought as a photo opp with a Cub Scout group. Here’s President’s schedule as it appears on WhiteHouse.gov:
One hour and 45 minutes have been set aside for this gathering of corporate royalty. For comparison’s sake if the group sat down to watch the latest Hunger Games movie the President would have to leave 45 minutes early in order to be on time for lunch with Vice President Biden. One hundred and five minutes wouldn’t be enough time to have a meaningful conversation with anyone in attendance, save perhaps the guy who paid $250 million for OMGPOP.
If I’m reading Macke correctly, he sounds like he’s sympathetic at the least to Professor Wiggleroom’s second-term agenda. I hope he’s steeled himself for 36 months or so of disappointments like yesterday’s.