This points to what is most offensive about Obama's focus-grouped class warfare rhetoric: the total incoherence of the underlying policies.
The day before his press conference, Obama was in Bettendorf, Iowa at the Alcoa Davenport Works plant to highlight his economic vision for manufacturing. "Alcoa is showing us the future we can build here in eastern Iowa and across the country," he proclaimed.
"The idea is to create jobs now, and to make sure America stays on the cutting edge of manufacturing for years to come," Obama declared.
The factory Obama visited, however, isn't a generic aluminum plant. It is, according to Alcoa, the "premier aerospace supply plant and is today the hub of Alcoa's $3 billion aerospace business."
That includes the general aviation industry, which is centered in Wichita, Kan., where they make private jets "right here in America" as Obama likes to say. The upshot: Obama says that Alcoa must lose business among American customers to repeal a tax break Obama and the Democrats supported because Republicans want to balance the budget.
To be fair, Alcoa's biggest customers aren't manufacturers of private jets but the big manufacturers of commercial jets -- you know, like Boeing. Well, that company is being told by Obama's union-hack-packed National Labor Relations Board that it cannot open a new manufacturing plant in South Carolina, because to do so would offend Obama's beloved unions in Washington State.
The point isn't that there's no merit to any of Obama's positions (personally, I'm all for clearing the junk out of the tax code). The point is that at this point merit simply has nothing to do with the positions Obama takes.
(Jonah Goldberg is an editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him in care of this newspaper or by e-mail at JonahsColumn@aol.com.)