Why are Obamacare supporters attacking job creators?
When seemingly organized Obamacare supporters attack small business leaders who express concern about the health-care law, job creators are no longer just uncertain about how their business will be impacted by the law. They are afraid – for their businesses and to speak out.
(Page 2 of 2)
In late 2012, executives from Darden Restaurants – owner of The Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Red Lobster restaurants – were planning for future compliance with the new health-care law and tested the impact of putting more workers on part-time schedules. No permanent changes ever took place, but after media reports about the testing and commentary about the cost of Obamacare by Darden’s CEO, the company was rapidly rebuked via telephone, email, and social media.Skip to next paragraph
Gallery Monitor Political Cartoons
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
At the same time, John Metz’s Palm Beach-based RREMC Restaurants, owner of 30 Denny’s franchises, announced he might put an Obamacare cost line on diners’ checks. Then came the deluge of emails and telephone calls and the social media backlash. Again, the franchise headquarters and Denny’s brand were targeted, not just the franchisee. Within a day, Denny’s corporate offices expressed “disappointment” with Mr. Metz’s comments and Metz issued a public apology.
The list goes on: Applebees, Papa John’s, even golfer Phil Mickelson. When a business owner speaks up about the costs of Obamcare, he is quickly singled out for a public thrashing. Each attack has similar fingerprints and the marks of a professional operation: telephone banks and email campaigns that erupt moments after a business leader speaks out, all focused on pressuring the exact people who can effectively slap the offender down.
And the president's supporters certainly are organized. While Ruffer was buried in backlash, Organizing for Action was holding a two-day summit two blocks from the White House. The nonprofit group formed from Obama’s reelection campaign was charting its future. According to press reports, attendees were talking about applying campaign tactics to support the president’s domestic agenda.
Of course, those on the left aren’t the only ones to organize campaigns to target those who go against their platform. But when Obamacare supporters target small business owners – the backbone of US job creation – I have to wonder if they’ve crossed a line.
Is this new era of the permanent campaigning why Mike Ruffer believes his business is at risk? “Of course this is orchestrated, and clearly by the president’s supporters,” Democrat pollster Pat Caddell told me. “This passes the duck test: It looks, swims, and quacks like a duck. Every political operative in the country knows this is a duck.”
Mike Leven, president of Sands Casino, summed it up recently: “For the first time in my long career, I feel like a target.” He is not alone. A recent Job Creators Alliance poll showed 70 percent of small business owners feel Washington has become more hostile to them in recent years. Their peers at Five Guys, Denny’s, Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and more would certainly agree.
Today, job creators across the country are staring into the depths of Obamacare uncertainty. New problems keep coming, with little or no warning. Facing the same questions as Ruffer, they cannot plan. But when seemingly organized forces of Obama supporters attack small business leaders, disrupt commerce, and risk jobs to make a political point, job creators are no longer just uncertain. They are afraid – afraid for their businesses and afraid to speak out
Bernie Marcus is co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot and co-founder of the national Job Creators Alliance.