U.S. Chamber: We will be “aggressive” in 2014 primaries

Tom Donohue

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already put insurgent conservative candidates on notice, pledging to spend $50 million to back Republicans who are friendly to its goals. But Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the Chamber, offered a little more detail in a speech yesterday in Washington, explaining that they will be “aggressive” in the 2014 election cycle:

Without directly attacking the Tea Party by name, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce made clear again today that the business community is ready for battle during Republican primaries for the U.S. House and Senate in 2014, all part of an ongoing struggle over the direction of the Republican Party.

“The business community understands what’s at stake,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue in a speech in Washington, D.C..

“In primaries and in general elections, we will support candidates who want to work within the legislative process to solve the nation’s problems,” Donohue added.
“Will we support folks that challenge people we just think vote wrong and have not been helpful?  Sounds like a good idea,” Donohue said.

Donohue dismissed the notion that the Chamber’s efforts are directed at the Tea Party movement, claiming instead that they want to elect “pro-business” candidates. That’s a distinction without a difference.

One thing that the Chamber crowd has never really grasped is that “pro-business” candidates or policies and taxpayer interests aren’t always the same. For example, corporate bailouts and wasteful earmarks may be “pro-business,” but taxpayers are left with the bill.

That’s not to say that the Chamber isn’t right on a number of issues. They do push for energy independence and have opposed the current administration’s radical environmental agency and Obamacare. They’ve also actively opposed policies pushed by Big Labor.

Donohue even ripped President Barack Obama’s economic and regulatory policies in his speech, noting that they have been a hurdle for businesses as they try to recover from the recession.

But for all the issues on which the Chamber is right, they’re also misjudging the Republican electorate. It’s not necessarily the amount of money they’re planning to spend, it’s the message on which candidates run that ultimately motivates voters, and these guys are sick of business as usual politics in Washington.

That’s ultimately what separates the Rand Pauls and Justin Amashs of the GOP from the party establishment: they don’t like cronyism. They’re not necessary willing to jump when the Chamber or some other special interest groups ask them to back a particular policy that takes advantage of taxpayers.

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