Skip to comments.Middle-Class Heroes? The GOP is often too cozy with Big Business.
Posted on 12/31/2013 5:45:45 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Crony capitalism the highly profitable alliance between Big Business, K Street, and the federal government is a frequent topic of scorn for Republican critics of President Obama. But while crony capitalism has certainly flourished under the Obama administration, the GOP hasnt exactly gone out of its way to combat the trend.
Many have argued that taking on crony capitalism, and perhaps adopting a more populist tone that emphasizes the needs of working-class Americans, should be an important aspect of the GOPs rebranded agenda. By advancing a message and a policy agenda that combat the stereotype of Republicans as beholden to Big Business, the party could go a long way toward regaining some lost trust with the American people.
But the partys actions havent matched this desire to change tone. Entrenched special interests still hold political sway. The status quo, being the status quo, is hard to crack. Additionally, as Matt Continetti argued for The Weekly Standard in the wake of the 2012 election, Republican efforts to strike a more populist tone and reach out to target demographics of minorities, single women, and millennials run the risk of alienating the partys traditional base. Old habits have been difficult to break.
Yes, the GOP class of 2010 led a successful push to eliminate earmarks in Congress, but many lawmakers Republicans in particular now pine for their return. In July, all but twelve House Republicans voted for a farm bill laden with billions in subsidies to powerful agricultural interests; it appropriated about $25 billion more than even President Obama had called for in his own budget. Meanwhile, intransigent, libertarian-minded Republicans such as Representatives Justin Amash (Mich.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) could face primary challengers backed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Consider, for example, the recent bipartisan budget agreement to roll back sequester spending cuts in exchange for promised savings in 202324. Like most congressional products, the deal was supported by teams of lobbyists and opposed by conservative activist groups. Almost as notable as the deal itself were House speaker John Boehners public outbursts at these groups, which had business lobbyists pumping their fists, according to The Hill.
In many ways, the dust-up was merely the latest in a long line of intra-party skirmishes, the most recent outbreak of which began in 2010, when Republicans regained control of the House. But as the Washington Examiners Timothy Carney, a proponent of libertarian populism, argued, the backlash against tea-party groups may be explained by most lawmakers disdain for being lobbied in public, in earshot of their constituents, as opposed to the privacy of the proverbial back room.
Conservative groups viewed K Streets rejoicing at Boehners putdown as a sign they were right to oppose the budget deal. Even critics of the groups strategy during the shutdown saw some truth in Senator Ted Cruzs assessment that the deal exemplifies what is wrong with Washington where celebration over the bipartisan accomplishment seemed to preempt any serious discussion about its substance. In typical fashion, lawmakers were given very little time to review the agreement and no chance to offer amendments.
The budget deal may clear a path for the House to move on immigration reform, an issue some conservatives have argued is a perfect opportunity for the GOP to buck Big Business and K Street, which overwhelmingly support the Gang of Eight legislation that passed the Senate earlier this year. The Republican National Committees own post-2012 autopsy report suggested that the GOP embrace comprehensive immigration reform in an effort to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and others have argued that opposing this effort would cast Republicans in the role of standing up for working Americans, who are likely to be the most harmed by the massive influx of low-skilled immigrants contemplated in the Gang of Eight proposal. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would have a negative impact on wages over the next decade. Big Business is eager to get its hands on cheap immigrant labor, never mind the still-high unemployment rate among native workers.
The fact that former governor Haley Barbour (R., Miss.) has been one of the most outspoken advocates of comprehensive immigration reform should raise suspicions about any professed opponent of crony capitalism who also likes the bill. Few can match Barbours zeal for the transactional (and decidedly anti-free-market) nexus of business and politics. His close friend and business partner Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D., Va.) is one of them; he also backs comprehensive reform. Opponents such as Sessions have cried foul.
These business people do not get to set the [immigration] policy for the United States of America. They do not represent the United States of America, they represent their special interests, Sessions said ahead of a San Francisco meeting between President Obama and CEOs in the technology industry to discuss the push for immigration reform. Sessions may be one of the few lawmakers aggressively making this case, but his effort to erode political support for comprehensive reform has been remarkably successful nonetheless, despite almost no support from prominent conservative interest groups. (Heritage Action is the only one actively lobbying against comprehensive reform.)
As John Fonte of the Hudson Institute recently argued at National Review Online: Immigration politics is at the heart of the divide between conservative populist groups, on one side, and corporate elites within the GOP on the other, and it presents a golden opportunity to seize the moral high ground from Democrats, whose efforts to cast Republicans as the party of corporate interests have not been unsuccessful. The prospect of the Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton, who embodies the corporate-political nexus as much as anyone, could provide even greater impetus for the GOP to take this route.
Republicans concerned about crony capitalism and corporate influence will have a chance to work against them in earnest early next year, when Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) plans to unveil a series of reform proposals designed to level the playing field between big corporations and small businesses by reforming the tax code, the federal regulatory system, and intellectual-property laws. Lee will also take aim at corporate welfare government subsidies, whether direct or indirect, that typically accrue to powerful business interests that can afford to pay armies of lawyers and lobbyists to help secure them.
Earlier this year, Lee offered an outline of what a conservative reform agenda might look like, the first step being to end this kind of preferential policymaking. Beyond simply being the right thing to do, it is a pre-requisite for earning the moral authority and political credibility to do anything else. In September, Lee put forward an ambitious tax-reform proposal, targeted at the middle class, that was widely praised on the right.
The senator is uniquely positioned to advance a conservative reform agenda, given his tea-party credentials and, perhaps most significant, his lack of interest in running for higher office. But it remains to be seen how many allies Lee will be able to recruit as he aims to build a policy agenda for Republicans to run on, and hopefully enact, in the coming years.
Republicans need to start addressing the insecurities of the poor and middle-class, and convince them that conservatism holds the solutions, says a senior GOP aide. We can win specific battles like Obamacare when the other side messes up, but that doesnt mean weve won the trust of the American people to run the government. Even if they like what were saying, theyll never trust us if our policies dont match the rhetoric.
This is especially important for a Republican party whose ultimate goal should be not only to win elections, but to enact conservative policies, says longtime GOP strategist Pat Shortridge. Its wrong to think if we get a Republican president, that solves all our problems, he says. A lot of people believe that we want to win elections, but arent sure that we want to accomplish things that will help them.
Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.
The reason the Chamber of commerce is attacking the tea party is because they know we mean it when we say we’ll end cronyism and corporate welfare.
Crony Capitalism = Fascism
merchants politicians =thieves/force .theyve beenin bed together from the start .
Most of us just now are facing up to the treachery and duplicity of the country club class. The biggest mistake we conservatives made was to lower their taxes so that government becomes less of a burden on them and more of a source of income. when 35% of the economy is government and expanding they will help it expand at these levels of taxation. If they want help on lowering their taxes even further they will find the entire GOP congressional delegation will be little lapdogs. then they will just have to broker with the Donk party. It will all be on Dem terms like it always is.
Their should be no corporate or upper class tax cuts until government spending is under control the border is secure and we have a fair access to the corporate media. In fact we should insist that they pay more to cover the mess they have made.
[Faithfull, not Lennon]
“The fact that former governor Haley Barbour (R., Miss.) has been one of the most outspoken advocates of comprehensive immigration reform should raise suspicions about any professed opponent of crony capitalism who also likes the bill. Few can match Barbours zeal for the transactional (and decidedly anti-free-market) nexus of business and politics. His close friend and business partner Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D., Va.) is one of them; he also backs comprehensive reform. Opponents such as Sessions have cried foul. “
WOW. All you need to know about Haley.
Republicans need to start addressing the insecurities of the poor and middle-class, and convince them that conservatism holds the solutions, says a senior GOP aide.”
Haven’t they heard, the GOPe isn’t interested in conservatism anymore.
I just wished his parents DROPPED the ‘y’ after his first name. Makes him sound like a sissy.
Taking on crony capitalism is the only path to conservative victory. The only people not for it are the politicians that are essentially taking bribes and the fascists. Neither will ever support conservative values and policies.
No corporation that is not fully owned by American citizens should be allowed to participate in US elections in any manner. What we have now is a government that is run by politicians who are bought by foreigners.
This documents the final shift of the hands-across-the-aisle GOP away from the "Party of Main Street," to the Democrat-co-opted "Party of Wall Street," and of course, its impending death. The only thing keeping the GOP alive today is the fear of a complete Democrat takeover while a new party organizes to represent the average "true American."
Note to GOP:
Havent they heard, the GOPe isnt interested in conservatism anymore.
You'd think the Tea Party would be a natural fit for working class of all races.
This amnesty the elites are pushing will lower everyone's wage scale and standard of living.
Unfortunately we have a media and an educational system more interested in brainwashing than doing their job.
Yep. Very true. They ALWAYS side with those interests, even when it is to the clear detriment of the majority of Americans.
Obama’s peeps figured this out and used it very effectively to skewer Mitt Romney.
“Cozy with big business” in my mind translates to what amounts to bribery. Political donations in return for favors granted.
One way to reduce that would be to make all political donations ANONYMOUS. Politicians can’t sell influence if they don’t know who is buying. Any individual or business should be able to donate to whoever they feel will act in their interest; that’s FREEDOM. But bribery is a crime at both ends.
The problem is Big Government and the concentration of power. If the Federal government did not have far more power than the Founders intended, then being “cozy” with this group or that group would not be a problem.