It is amazing how all we hear about Big Business and the Republican Party is how evil and influential the Koch Brothers are. The Republicans are despised because they serve corporate interests. Over and over again the Republicans are hammered for being the party of Big Business.
And then the Tea Party wins a victory and suddenly it is bad news that Big Business no longer has the Republican Party on its side.
Thus, the Washington Post:
…with Eric Cantor’s shocking defeat Tuesday night, things for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable just got a whole lot worse.
For one, they lost a major defender of their favored policies–from the beneficial tax treatment of private equity income to immigration reforms favored by the country’s biggest tech companies. But even worse for their prospects, Cantor lost to a challenger who specifically attacked him for his close ties to big business — going so far as to single out the BRT and the Chamber.
“The central theme of Brat’s campaign is that Cantor is beholden to business — specifically the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable,” wrote Politico in April.
While everyone is focused on Brat’s critique of Cantor’s immigration stance, that attack came in the broader context of the increasingly potent “crony capitalism” theme.
It’s true that Cantor enjoyed a strong relationship with business, and it went far beyond tech to Wall Street especially. The industry that gave him the most campaign contributions was the securities and investment sector. Individuals from the private equity firm Blackstone were his biggest financial supporters. Cantor went to bat for the industry repeatedly over politically unpopular issues, including the taxation of income at private equity firms at the lower capital gains rate.
That’s no surprise: for decades, the GOP and big business have worked closely together to build a political alliance that until recently appeared airtight. But now with Tea Party activist groups charging the traditional wing of the GOP with “crony capitalism”–and Cantor’s loss–the balance of power is creeping away from the pro-business faction of the Republican Party.
The business lobbying groups can sense this, and they’ve made no secret of their intense dislike of the Tea Party wing…
While Wall Street is mostly irredeemable, it didn’t have to be this way for the Chamber of Commerce. They could have sided with the market and free enterprise rather than government spending and the Federal Reserve.
While I’m not fully comfortable with everything Brat is quoted as saying in the Washington Post piece (though I don’t assume it is accurate), he certainly seems preferable to Cantor.
I have to wonder, though, what the Democrat Party will do in the next few years as they oppose the Tea Party. We saw the Democrats go from an anti-war 2008 campaign, with President Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing, to an amazingly rapid switch into a pro-assassination, pro-indefinite detention, pro-drone party. Is the Left about to make a similar transition in favor of Big Business?