STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Corporatism: Another Tentacle of Mainstream Republicanism
By Staff News & Analysis - November 04, 2013

In Alabama Race, a Test of Business Efforts to Derail Tea … With only days to go before a special Republican primary runoff for Congress here in South Alabama, the national business lobby is going all in … In the first test of its post-government-shutdown effort to derail Tea Party candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put on a rally on Tuesday in the warehouse of an aluminum plant to show its support for Bradley Byrne, a lawyer and former Republican officeholder. Companies as diverse as Caterpillar and AT&T have also sent in a last-minute flurry of donations. The goal, backers of Mr. Byrne said, is to elect not just a Republican, but the right kind of pro-business one. – The New York Times

Dominant Social Theme: The Tea Party is radical and must be defeated at the polls. Republicans unite!

Free-Market Analysis: There was a brief moment when Ron Paul was breaking away from the field and was even threatening Mitt Romney several months before the convention. Then all hell broke loose. Ron Paul reps were beaten up and various rule changes were rushed through benefitting Romney and the Republican establishment.

Now the proverbial other shoe has dropped. What was seen by many in the libertarian movement to be a Republican Party machine enterprise has revealed itself as only part of something much larger. As we can see from the above article excerpt, it is the US business community that forms yet another tentacle of anti-republicanism in the US.

The mainstream Republican Party is at this point not much different than its Democratic counterpart. This convergence has been going on for the past half-century or more but it has become much more obvious since the rise of the US Tea Party both formally and informally. The polarization has forced various interest groups to be much more vocal and obvious. This is the case with the US business community. Here's more:

Dean Young, the Tea Party-backed businessman who is running against Mr. Byrne, seems only to be reveling in his opponent's establishment, big-money support, repeatedly praising Senator Ted Cruz of Texas for leading the way to the government shutdown and saying that if he wins it will be in the face of "the entire Republican establishment."

"I've got an army of people that care about this nation," said Mr. Young, a tall, brawny man with a shaved head and a stern delivery, after a debate on Wednesday night. "We're on our own, but that's O.K., because when we win, it sends a bigger message."

Despite Mr. Byrne's substantial advantage in campaign money and endorsements, Republican consultants and voters here say that the zeal of Mr. Young's Christian conservative supporters puts the outcome of the runoff at even odds, suggesting that the fight over control of the Republican Party is likely to be long, hard and unpredictable.

It is a reality that has some of the Washington lobbyists and political consultants who are helping orchestrate the anti-Tea Party push concerned, particularly given that extreme conservatives tend to be more reliable voters. Mr. Young's voters are drawn by his declaration that homosexuality "always has been, always will be" wrong, his full backing of using a government shutdown "to stop Obamacare," and his insistence that people "have the right to acknowledge God in schools and in the public square."

Supporters of moderate Republican candidates worry about whose voters will turn out. "We can have all the money in the world, but if we can't get the center-right Republicans to the polls on Primary Day then it does not matter," said Steve LaTourette, a former Ohio congressman who is now trying to build an $8 million "super PAC" to help support more mainstream Republicans in 2014 primaries.

In the aftermath of the shutdown last month, business leaders from Washington and around the nation have vowed to play a greater role in coming primaries like this one. They are increasingly concerned that a core group of anti-establishment conservatives in the House is threatening to derail their agenda, not just in terms of keeping the government open for business, but also when it comes to passing a comprehensive new immigration law, revising the nation's tax code and making changes to the health care law, instead of just trying to kill it.

… On Tuesday, the Chamber of Commerce, which also contributed $5,000 to the campaign, disclosed that it had spent $185,000 in so-called independent expenditures to help Mr. Byrne's cause, with the money going to a Washington-area political consulting firm to send out mail to Alabama voters and to take out Internet advertisements.

David French, the chief lobbyist at the National Retail Federation, whose members such as Walmart have contributed to Mr. Byrne's campaign, said that in House districts like this one in Alabama, the Republican nominee is almost certain to win the seat when the full election takes place in December. That means the business community has one shot to influence the outcome. "If you don't play in the primaries, you are not going to take part in those races," Mr. French said.

Much is revealed in the above reporting that the writers no doubt were not fully aware of (this being the New York Times, after all). We can see, for instance, that the Tea Party candidate is running on a platform that is anti-homosexual and pro-God. This is a particular strain of conservatism that has been around for decades. If this were actually the platform, what would be any different?

We went and looked at Dean Young's website to see the principles he was enunciating. They are simple and include social issues, but much more, as well. Here's the list:

  • Support South Alabama Values
  • Work to Repeal Obamacare
  • Reduce the Size and Spending of Government
  • Reduce the Size and Power of the IRS
  • Work to Balance the Budget

This is the stated "radical" agenda that has upset mainstream Republican officials and the business community besides. We don't see so much that is controversial here. Most of it is about reducing the size of government and the IRS besides. It doesn't even mention the Federal Reserve.

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We went and looked at Bradley Byrne's and found much the same language as at Young's website with some important additions. Byrne is concerned about using government for infrastructure purposes and generally he suggests using government funds in a much more pro-active way. He writes of reducing the size of government but campaign rhetoric emphasizes activist government.

And then there is this:

Traditional Alabama Values … My faith in Christ is my foundation. Our nation faces a moral crisis, but it doesn't have to be that way. As God called the people of Israel back time and time again we in America have the responsibility to heed His call and do His will. Our Congress can set a better example. With a focus on our traditional Alabama values, we can work together for a better America.

This has a liturgical quality to it that does not seem much different than sentiments expressed by Young. However Young is obviously attacked by the Times for his religious viewpoints while Byrne's language is ignored.

The US establishment is obviously worried by the Tea Party and what it represents – which is significantly smaller government and less fedgov clout. But the informal Tea Party, as we have pointed out numerous times is simply nomenclature for a broad group of US citizens who are fighting back against government over-reach and private industry globalism.

It is obviously this last area that has the US mainstream business community disturbed. Large US corporations are increasingly mercantilistic and internationalist. The Tea Party represents a threat to business-as-usual much as it does to government as usual.

Just as this quasi-libertarian movement has polarized the GOP, so it is obviously polarizing the business community, which is also increasingly dependent on government regulations, handouts and even international projections of military power.

After Thoughts

The Tea Party does us a service by revealing the true face of the socio-political entities with which it comes into contact.

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