NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Jack Welch's response to the criticism leveled at him for accusing President Obama of manipulating federal employment data for political gain is simply ridiculous.Sorry to revisit an issue I raised here
But the criticism that came from me and others, in the eyes of Jack Welch, is tyranny: "Imagine a country where challenging the ruling authorities -- questioning, say, a piece of data released by central headquarters -- would result in mobs of administration sympathizers claiming you should feel 'embarrassed' and labeling you a fool, or worse. Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China?" Cue the violins. Let's get real for a minute here: Jack Welch is not a victim. He is an extremely well-connected, widely-admired guy who not long ago made a large fortune running one of the most powerful institutions in the U.S. and even the world. The fact that he is so quick to play the victim card and pretend that his freedoms are somehow being curtailed in any way because many people happen to think that he said a very stupid thing in a very public forum is absolutely ludicrous. Welch goes on to make a case in his op-ed that the federal government's employment data are flawed, a well-known truth that few people would dispute and that happens to be completely irrelevant to the criticism that is being leveled at him. Finally, he admits that his tweet was "incendiary" (indeed, it was), but he doesn't say anything about why (a topic that he would clearly like to avoid). He goes on to add that if he could tweet it all over again, he would add some question marks after it, because that would "make it clear I was raising a question." Wow, that's real big of you, Jack. Thanks for clarifying. But wait, this great American business hero isn't done. He saved his smoking gun for last: Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisors, once questioned the
accuracy of the government employment data during the Bush presidency and he was not subjected to any widespread criticism. No fair! That's a double standard! Or is it? Goolsbee's piece -- partisan hackery though it may well be--examined the methodology behind the data and argued that the unemployment rate was being understated. Commentary like that is literally all over the place all the time, and it's completely unremarkable -- much of it is probably accurate. Goolsbee, however, never made any claim that President Bush and his Texas political team were manipulating the data for political gain, which is specifically what Welch did in his tweet in no uncertain terms. Maybe someday he'll defend what he actually wrote. At the time of publication the author had a position in GE. Follow @NatWorden This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.