Is the General Electric chief simply adapting to new administration talking points? 

When General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said last week that he regretted all his green talk, I was not alone in hoping he might be giving up on seeking government handouts for things like windmills and greenhouse gas credits.

But really, it seems, Immelt was regretting his rhetoric. The Reuters headline has it right: "GE's Immelt wishes he had soft-pedaled green talk."

Here's the key quote:

"If I had one thing to do over again I would not have talked so much about green," Immelt said at an event sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Even though I believe in global warming and I believe in the science ... it just took on a connotation that was too elitist; it was too precious and it let opponents think that if you had a green initiative, you didn't care about jobs. I'm a businessman. That's all I care about, is jobs."

Jonah Goldberg's response is on point:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Immelt is suddenly saying jobs are his biggest concern now that he’s the chairman of the White House’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. If Immelt proved one thing during his long experiment with “ecomagination” it was that he sees no problem with gaming politics as part of his business model.

Job creation—as opposed to green job creation—is the new North Star of the Obama administration, and Immelt is simply adjusting his sails accordingly.

Obama knows that saving the planet doesn't sell politically. Only jobs and lower gas prices do. He's changed his rhetoric accordingly. Immelt is following suit.

But is Immelt really all about creating jobs? If so, why is he pushing for looser rules on how much domestic content must be included in goods being subsidized by U.S. taxpayers?

From Bloomberg:

General Electric Co. and Boeing Co. want leeway to use more foreign-made parts in exports financed by the U.S. government, a move unions say would subsidize sending jobs abroad.

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Timothy P. Carney

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