Steve Jobs Was a Closet Republican?

Steve Jobs Was a Closet Republican?

In a conversation with President Obama last year, Steve Jobs sounded like an out-and-out Republican, according to another excerpt from the upcoming official biography.

During President Obama’s trip to Silicon Valley in the fall 2010, where he met several business leaders, Jobs complained about regulations, taxes and the teachers unions. I always thought Jobs had a liberal bent, but he sounds like a member of the Tea Party.

He told Obama he would be a “one-term Presidency” unless he became more friendly to corporations.

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly.

As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them. Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.”

Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

Huffington Post: Steve Jobs Biography Reveals He Told Obama, ‘You’re Headed For A One-Term Presidency’

However, even though Jobs focused on the typical buiness-leader talking points, he offered to make political adverts for Obama, and to inject them with some of his marketing magic:

Jobs even offered to help create Obama’s political ads for the 2012 campaign. “He had made the same offer in 2008, but he’d become annoyed when Obama’s strategist David Axelrod wasn’t totally deferential,” writes Isaacson. Jobs later told the author that he wanted to do for Obama what the legendary “morning in America” ads did for Ronald Reagan.

So maybe he was a liberal after all?

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  • Ramzi

    Steve Jobs was smart and a hard worker… Of course he was a republican.

  • Bitter Witch

    All wealthy people are Republicans.  Most of the middle class are Democrats.

  • A.J. di Pota

    And what was wrong with Steve being a Republican or Conservative? Everyone has a right to his/her opinions. Of course, Steve was 100% RIGHT!!!

  • brandonmartinez

    Maybe he wasn’t Republican; there are more than two parties. Sounds like he could have just as easily been a libertarian.

  • Bitter Witch

    So Democrats are stupid and lazy?  Don’t think so.  This is why I hate politics.

  • Ed_Kel

    The majority of the wealthy are democrats. One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that republicans are wealthy and only stand for the wealthy and that is simply not true. Educate yourself.

  • okayrene

    There’s nothing Republican about being against governmental waste. That should always be the case

  • Ed_Kel

    Steve Jobs understood that taxes and unions only hurt industry. That doesn’t make him a Republican. Granted, more conservatives believe this to be true, but some democrats believe it too.

  • twitter-119563679

    If you read the rest of the Huffington Post article linked to, you’ll see that Jobs offered to “help create Obama’s political ads for the 2012 campaign”. I doubt a Republican would offer to do that.

  • Ramzi

    All wealthy ppl are republicans?… LOL, wow, apparently you’ve never heard of a place called Hollywood California. 
     

  • A Dagostino

    A buddhist Republican?

    Doubt it.

  • Ramzi

    I never said democrats are stupid AND lazy… Im just saying its one or the other ;)

  • Ramzi

    I would just say that some democrats USED to believe it too… Dems have lost site of “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” 

    Now they want to use entitlements as the best way to (buy) get sure votes. And that of course is what is Americas #1 jobs killer as it constantly adds onto the Debt.

  • L.

    Yeah, Republicans are known for wanting to make ads for Obama, being friends with Al Gore, and committing Apple to going Green, and supporting gay rights. 

    Years and years ago Democrats in California tried to get Steve to run for Governor. Thankfully he had better things to do.

    In case no one has noticed, Obama has annoyed many teacher unions a great deal with his reforms.

    Everyone should see the documentary Waiting for Superman. Education reform is to having a prosperous and democratic country. Education reform shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the radical right wing toads are busy trying to destroy education by rewriting text books Texas style with fiction, lies, and religion. 

    It was no secret that the Silicon Execs at that meeting were urging Obama to help them get a huge tax break on their overseas cash. 

    Thankfully there is little will to give another bail out of corporate welfare to big business. 

    Of course it’s easy to build factories in China without health and safety codes and factories that suddenly explode in raging fires because of no environmental and safety rules. 

    Apple’s sweat camps have come under increasing scrutiny, especially as the worker suicides mount. 

  • Meatyard

    Pleanty of Democrats detest unions. There was a time when they were necessary, but that day has passed.

  • Ramzi

    Jobs is smart, he was just trying to get Obama to cut deals with Apple the way Obama cut deals with BP, Solyndra, GE, etc, etc during his 08 POTUS campaign. 

    What better way to receive special tax breaks than to make free political ads! As we all know, Barack Obama is a closet Crony Capitalist!

  • Ed_Kel

    You think the best way to make a point is blurt out conspiracy theories gathered from progressive propaganda that conservatives want to rewrite textbooks “Texas style”?

    Your hippie style ignorance is pitiful my friend.

  • Theyseeyoutrollin

    … Really?

  • Ed_Kel

    Right on brother! The days of Kennedy are well behind the progressives we face today.

    I’ve gotten into too many arguments on websites like these with progressive liberals to be able to say this – leave them behind! They’re too ignorant to educate themselves with facts and it is a waste of our time to argue.

  • Danger

    Steve J. was the way we should all be. An independent thinker, not bound by some party affiliation. There is too much division in our great country as it is. Base your decisions on sound principals. Think differently.

  • Bitter Witch

    So a Democrat with a doctorate.  Oh yes, lazy and stupid!

  • Crossphire Dev

    Thank you.  That was what I was going to say.  His desire for less regulation, a more friendly environment for business, getting rid of unions and the acid comment all play nicely with him being a libertarian.  

  • Barton Lynch

    Him being liberal has always been his only flaw hahahahaha

  • Crossphire Dev

    It was clear he was playing with you and the ;) should have been a hint.  Perhaps you can use all you have learned and work on that sense of humor.

  • Evan Benford

    Party Labels are the manifestation of ignorance in modern politics. You have to have your own ideas. He sounds more libertarian than anything. I mean does our education system not need reform with more open and active schools, do we need more factories in the US, and how many people know about the dark side of teachers unions? I was once was a democrat but now labeled an independent

  • davidk

    Yeah taxes and unions are awful.  We should totally get rid of both!  We can start working 6 days a week, get rid of minimum wage, no vacations either.  Solve the health care problem to by not even having it!  And taxes, who needs taxes?  We cam stop maintaining roads, shut down all the government run cheap power in places like the Pacific Northwest and disband the army.  It will be great!  I won’t have to pay any taxes and I can work all day every day for pennies!  The USA will be great again!!!

    Darn those teachers unions and high taxes for causing the economy to nearly collapse in 2008.  If only unions hadn’t been continuously offering risky and borderline illegal home loans and building a massive bubble, then profiting from its failure.  Darn those unions.

  • davidk

    Actually the data shows that the better educated and more intelligent people are the more likely they are to be a Democrat.  But hey, since when do Republicans let facts get in the way of their arguments.

  • ktappe

    Tell that to the WV coal miners

  • Ed_Kel

    I work 45+ hours a week, why aren’t you? I pay for my own damn healthcare, why aren’t you? My wife is an elementary teacher, is yours?! When the only thing you see a union do is call and send out fliers on who to vote for, you tend to get a little pissed off.

    Take your sarcasm home before you hurt yourself..

  • AdamTro

    Good for Jobs. The Repugs & Dems are a corrupt bunch of liars and thieves (save Ron Paul), but having a conservative slant is pretty much needed to succeed in today’s hostile business environment. Gov regs make it very difficult for businesses to flourish. It’s no wonder companies get frustrated and head overseas.

  • Travisharger

    Steve Jobs was fiscally conservative because thats called common sense. 

  • Brian0505

    He liked Obama, the man, & was giving his own opinions and ideas (not following a ‘party line’).

    Just the way he could ‘like’ somebody yet boldly tell them their product was complete S***

  • Travis B.

    Teacher unions are awful. They stifle innovation in schools by creating new requirements for teachers to be hired but do not apply the requirements to teachers already hired. They make the supply of teachers that can be hired less so that the teachers already hired, the bad teachers already hired will still be teaching.
    Also, you seem to think that conservatives argue for no taxes which is ludicrous. Conservatives know there must be taxes but not at a huge rate. The 3 times in the past when taxes were lowered, JFK, Reagan, and Bush, the tax revenues coming into the government actually increased. Believing that conservatives want no taxes (and therefore, basically anarchy because there would be no way to have government without tax revenue) would be like me stating and believing that liberals want a 100% percent tax rate. It’s preposterous. Also, you state that if we got rid of taxes and unions, we would have to work 6 days a week, and work for pennies. Which is absolutely not true because like every other good, supply and demand would determine wage. If you were a ditch digger, the equilibrium wage would probably be a few cents an hour to maybe a dollar. This makes sense because digging ditches requires a person to have very little human capital. If you work a white collar job, you probably have sufficiently invested in your own human capital and created a higher demand for yourself. Therefore you would be paid a higher wage based on you specific the supply and demand graph. And the reason that employers give vacations, health care, and other benefits are because they want to be attractive to protective workers, so they can have a larger supply from which to choose employees. Also, these benefits that we have come to enjoy were actually brought about by the wage and  controls of the earlier half of the 20th century, which put a price ceiling on what employers could pay employees, meaning employers were wanting to pay their employees more but the government did not allow it. They got around this regulation by offering benefits, such as health care, vacation days, etc. It has been argued that the underlying problem of the current health care “crisis” is the employer provided health insurance. As shown above, this problem was caused…by government intervention. The free market works, if we had let it work in 2007-2008 when the banks made bad decisions, they would have failed, but democrats and republicans decided that they were “to big to fail” which is the opposite of free market capitalism. Which if we had let the free market work, the big companies would have failed and stronger, reliable, smaller new business would have taken the place. The free market works.

    One last thing, I have no problem with the original idea of unions. I absolutely do not approve of the amount of power they have gained through government regulation.

  • Alex

    “There was a time when they were necessary, but that day has passed.”

    You know that line is straight out an anti-union video that one of my employers made me watch once …

  • Alex

    So do you just repeat corporate propaganda ? 

  • djrobsd

    The problem is that there is this all or nothing attitude.  How dare someone be socially liberal but fiscally conservative?  It sounds to me like Jobs was a moderate Democrat, right in the middle… We can’t seem to come to a middle ground in this country and it’s going to be our demise.  

  • djrobsd

    BTW, is that Zuckerberg sitting on the other side of Obama?

  • djrobsd

    There’s nothing conspiracy about it, it’s happening in conservative Republican states all around the nation, some have gone as far as even re-writing black history in text books.  

  • Hans Uy Maristela

    No, Steve Jobs wasn’t a closet Republican. He was just a damn good CEO – and a patriotic American not fixated with dogmatic party labels – who was concerned that his country was losing its competitive edge to China. And in danger of losing it for good. The government should enact policies that stimulate job creation – but not at the expense of workers’ rights & safety, and environmental protection among others. In the field of education, meritocracy should be championed. Hopelessly bad teachers should step aside & not be entrusted with our children’s education, who need to be better educated to make them more competitive with graduates from overseas. We have to give this serious consideration because there’s no stopping the overachieving, MENSA quality immigrant from China (or any part of the world for that matter) who comes to the US from taking the job of our kids.

  • jamesbarsby

    Yeah, because trying to get Obama re-elected is exactly what a republican would do.

    Plus it’s very easy for people to quote mine Jobs now that he is dead, as he can no-longer defend his views. 

    I’m not American, so I can’t really comment on the details of your political system… but while I don’t particularly like your current democratic government… It is definitely the lesser of two evils, by a long way.

    The vast majority of Republicans that I have listened to, are not only very bad politicians, but actually mentally unstable. If they get back in, it will be a dark day for not only America, but more importantly, the rest of the world.

  • SulaymanF

    Silly headline. Steve was friends with Al Gore, and was a big contributor to the Democratic party. Does anyone remember the 2004 keynote when he demoed Safari’s RSS reader and pulled up an embarrassing story about Dick Cheney using the F word? What about his insistence on giving gay couples equal health and pension benefits inside Apple?

  • John Bijl

    Since when is wanting people to have all the means to educate themselves and cutting regulations that impede entrepreneurship and innovation not liberal?!

    I think you should read John Stuart Mill, Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin before explaining how someone is not a liberal.

  • Tombo

    The article said he didn’t like teacher’s unions. It’s perfectly comprehensible to detest one union and favor another. When you think a step deeper, this makes sense, like favoring one industry and disliking another. I may dislike the “boner growth” industry, but that doesn’t mean I dislike industry.

    Thinking to step 3, why would he detest teacher’s unions? I would dare to guess that it’s because they don’t always put the children’s education first, like SJ put his product’s first.

  • Ed_Kel

    Where’s the proof? “It’s happening” isn’t what I would call proof. And besides, anything would be better than teaching my kids Global Warming and Mexican culture.

  • Ed_Kel

    Not sure if I have ever repeated corporate propaganda… Not sure if anyone knows what that would be… 

  • Ed_Kel

    Not sure if your statement is meant to be construed as sarcasm, but career students (ie – Doctorates) are borderline lazy and stupid in the sense of wasting time. Often rarely do doctorates do anything but become professors and teach liberal ideology to our children.

  • MacHead

    Yes thats him, several tech ceos were invited to that white house PR event

  • Ed_Kel

    People whom educate themselves through higher education do so through colleges and universities which are primarily liberal; they are taught to be democrat. 

    And if you don’t like that statement, then answer this:

    Why are better educated and more intelligent democrats (according to you) protesting wall street and big banks about their student loans when it was their choice to sign those loan papers and the university’s choice to charge so much? Anyone with half a brain cell should be capable of understanding that it isn’t the bank’s fault that you decided to spend 100k on a worthless art degree.

  • MacHead

    Anyone who has run a business knows that liberal government cripples them. Only the hippies at the OWS protests cant understand these facts. They are too busy wanting freebees and handouts, no motivation to go out and work hard. Vote out Obama in 2012 and watch businesses hire again!

  • MacHead

    Socially liberal…..fiscally a republican. He knew over regulation kills business straight up

  • Ed_Kel

    Not trying to rain on your parade here or start an argument, but Independents are known to be individuals who are too afraid to take a stand. They blow around in the wind and use their uncertainty to persuade both sides of the aisle to lie and soften stances to gain votes. With that said, I think the argument could be made that party label affiliation is just as personally and morally important as it is publicly ignorant.

  • allanrob

    Regulations are there for a reason. I’d rather have them to protect workers safety and the enviroment. I very much doubt republicans are into these things. Also it’s sad to see some people here continue to vote aganst thier own best intrests, you know who you are.

  • Ed_Kel

    Great reply.. I have to add a couple things though..

    I wouldn’t say that it’s preposterous to think that Liberals don’t want to see a 100% tax. Maybe they’re unaware, but even protesting for a 50% income tax on the rich could reach close to 100% levels if you begin to factor in State and Local taxes, FICA, S.S., Sales tax, etc.

    The banks didn’t make the bad decisions in 2007-2008. They were forced to ease their lending restrictions after the implementation of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank bill and Clinton’s famous “whoever wants a house, gets a house” speech) in the late nineties. This act forced banks to lend to people who shouldn’t have gotten mortgages in the first place. It also started sub-prime lending which dropped the interest rate to an artificially low level, but skyrockets after a set time. The side-effect of this was that people weren’t refinancing to a fixed rate before the sub-prime rate reached credit card levels and forced millions of people into foreclosure. When this caught up to the lending agencies, they saw trillions of promissory funds void practically overnight which led to the 2008 banking crisis. I agree that we should have just let them fail, but I believe Bush did somewhat right with TARP because these banks oversaw funds globally and without a bailout, the repercussions could have taken decades off our GDP and who knows what the impact would have been in other countries, especially the ones holding our debt like China. It should have ended with that, however, Obama and his administration are only growing off of Bush’s idea of stimulus and in turn, is making the situation much worse than it could be by growing our nation’s debt to a level where the interest alone is barely able to be paid. In the end, free markets coupled with very little Government oversight and low taxes always wins.

  • MacHead

    I think you should read the platforms of all modern day liberal politicians. A little more influential than Mill Popper and Berlin are and all want MORE REGULATIONS AND GOVERNMENT CONTROL!

  • Ed_Kel

    Right on. Jobs knew how to run a successful business and knew that the Government needed to get out of Capitalism. But he also wanted to change the world….

  • Ed_Kel

    “what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  • John Bijl

    Well, *they* should read Mill, Popper and Berlin then. And for the record, I can’t see liberals asking for more regulations — at least (especially) not in Europe..

  • jamesbarsby

    You accuse me of being irrational, and then in your next breath reveal your belief that an invisible man is in charge of the universe.

    That is almost as silly as asking god to fix your ecconomy.

    Like I said… Mentally unstable.

  • Fitz

    Studies have shown that whinny kids grow up to be democrats

  • Ed_Kel

    It’s obvious you’ve never seen Billy Madison.. It is also obvious that you don’t have a sense of humor. It doesn’t prove your case to go around calling people you don’t know “mentally unstable” by just simply reading a movie quote.

    And also, Are you making the statement that all persons who follow a path set forth by faith is mentally ill? I’m sitting here wondering how in the world I can articulate what I believe the type of man you are, one who is too thoughtless and narrow-minded to, at the very least, respect others beliefs, but who am I to judge….

  • jamesbarsby

    Quote or not you posted it in response to my comment. I’m not sure why you would expect me to respond to it in a positive way. It wasn’t funny, just insulting.

    “one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard”

    My original post was only referring to people like Rick Perry, but after your quote with the preachy god comment, I thought it appropriate to extend to you as well… What’s the matter? No sense of humour?

    Why would I respect the beliefs of people who think invisible monsters, who live underground, are going to torture me forever after I die? That’s like asking an African to respect the beliefs of the KKK …and yes, the only difference between religion and the paranoid delusions of a mentally ill person, is popularity.

  • Ed_Kel

    Actually.. I thought the quote fit quite perfectly! It IS insanely idiotic of you to spew out dumb rhetoric about Republicans in general after “listening to the vast majority”, which I highly doubt; maybe few politicians and talk show hosts TOPS. For you to go about that without backing any of your comments with facts and still think you’re being rational is beyond me, but I digress.

    I assume you’re European with the way you spell “humour” and again, it’s beyond me to understand how you think you can get away with criticizing a republic democracy (conservatism/republican, rather) after what socialism has done to Britain in the 60′s and what is currently doing to Greece, among others. Republicans are fighting a good fight, yet you criticize.

    I can’t believe how caught up your are in the mythology of religion! Faith is not being scared of the demons below you, it’s overcoming the demons inside you. I’m not here to preach religion so I won’t go any further into it except that you seriously need to get over the mythology…

    And….  

    For you to relate religion to what the KKK did to the Africans tells me that somehow, in some way, religion has wronged you and you feel it is of great importance to denounce anything and anyone who 1) has faith and 2) doesn’t agree with you. I mean, “may god have mercy on your soul” led to all of this?? Sorry, thinking aloud..

    You are delusional, you are a hypocrite and most importantly, that chip on your shoulder has caused you to think of the world and its inhabitants around you irrationally and for that, I’m not wasting anymore time debating with you.

    Have a nice day.

  • Jo Vetta

    I guess some people here think they know more then Steve Jobs who actually would know better since he built a company.

  • jamesbarsby

    Now you are misquoting me. I said:

    “The vast majority of Republicans that I have listened to”

    I’m not caught up in the mythology of religion, and if you don’t believe the Bible then neither are you, but lots of American Republicans are …and it is dragging humanity back into the dark ages. I reserve my right as a rational human being to call that sort of thinking ‘insane’.

    What the Republican party is trying to do to America is extremely dangerous. 
    Already they have convinced 40% of Americans to reject evolution and actually think the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.
    20% even think the Sun orbits the Earth!!!

    It’s not just their obsession with the god idea that is causing problems but pretty much all their other attitudes as well.
    Obviously not every republican is going to hold all these views but running themes I have noticed are.
    They are often… 
    Very Nationalistic
    Xenophobic
    Homophobic
    Sometimes racist as well.
    Obsessed with the military and war, and making money out of war.
    They think the general public should have access to firearms.
    They love hunting and think animals are just there to entertain us and killing them is sport.
    They support capital punishment.
    They think universal health care for everyone is a bad idea.
    They try to hunt down anyone that uncovers government corruption, demonise them and call for their execution.
    They deny global warming.
    They constantly undermine any science that conflicts with their agenda.

    If you tried to come up with a list of the absolute worst aspects of humanity. That would be it.

    Now I’m sorry that by disagreeing with you and caring about the world we live in…  that somehow makes me delusional.

  • Robert

    Steve WAS a closet Republican. Why in the hell he supported a marxist president is beyond me. Regulations are one thing but Obama is purposefully destroying the private sector.  Let capitalism do its thing and you will see amazing things happen.  Everybody will benefit.

  • Dilbert A

    You where referring to the Free Market system, not “Capitalism”.

  • Dilbert A

    See “Ed_Kel comments about unions” on COM.

  • Dilbert A

    Not at all true.

  • Dilbert A

    And Jamaican apparently.

  • Dilbert A

    Don’t hate politics, hate people its easier.

  • HerbalEd

    Indeed capitalism has been doing “its” own thing and indeed amazing things have happened. Capitalism works great when it’s properly regulated. Problem is it’s very poorly and sparsely regulated. 

  • HerbalEd

    It’s not so much “more” or “less” regulations. It’s smart regulations that work best for us all. But, sadly, we’ll never see them while both sides continually disagree and stand steadfast with their ideologies instead of their common sense.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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