Tuesday, January 08, 2008

U.S. Corporations vs. The American People

"Get Back, Get Back! Populist Democrats & Republicans - Whoever You are!"

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce used to be a notably bipartisan trade association with a limited budget and limited influence. But no longer.

It has hugely increased its political fund-raising and developed new ways to spend money on behalf of pro-business candidates. The chamber has become a significant force in state and national politics and more and more aligns itself with GOP priorities. In the last presidential cycle, 2004, it invested $60,000,000.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that it's a player in 2008. This year's election campaign occurs against a background of mounting popular concern over the condition of the economy beset by a seemingly endless, revenue-draining, occupation of Iraq. A weak record of job creation, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, declining home values and other problems have all helped make the economy a major campaign issue.

Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, is issuing fiery promises to spend unprecedented millions of dollars to defeat candidates deemed to be anti-business. Their targets are candidates using the code words
  • restore the middle class
  • reverse global warming
  • rescind tax cuts for the rich
  • excessive bonus pay for corporate chief executives
  • unfettered globalization of workers
And the like. That includes Senators John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Governor Mike Huckabee - three democrats and one Republican.

With this investment, Donahue expects Democrats
. . . will be gone from power for at least 40 years. . . . I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media. It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them . . . . We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed.
There is special concern about Republican Governor Huckabee. Club for Growth President Pat Toomey has targeted 'Two-Buck Huck':
Over the past ten months, Governor Huckabee’s embrace of his liberal economic record as governor and his populist, protectionist rhetoric on the campaign trail has only confirmed the Club for Growth’s original assessment. Huckabee himself admits that he is a ‘different kind of Republican,’ a code word for more government involvement, less personal freedom, and greater dependence on government bureaucrats.

Huckabee is proud of his tax hikes, his spending increases, and his regulatory expansions as governor, and he has not indicated that he would govern any differently as president. Nominating Mike Huckabee for president or vice-president would constitute an abject rejection of the free-market, limited-government, economic conservatism that has been the unifying theme of the Republican Party for decades.
Mention of class war used to be forbidden in the Republican playbook. This year the dogs will be unchained.