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US Chamber changes tactics, takes aim at incumbents

US Chamber changes tactics, takes aim at incumbents

Not-so-friendly fire

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $70 million dollars during the 2014 election cycle to protect the Republican majority in the House, and build a majority in the Senate. Their push worked—as far as getting Republican senators elected was concerned—but the group still hasn’t seen a payoff when it comes to getting their agenda through Congress.

The problem? Conservative incumbents in the House who have been successful in blocking the Chamber’s favorite policy initiatives.

According to sources on the Hill and in the lobbying community, the Chamber is gearing up for a tactical switch that will focus on challenging House GOP incumbents that have shown resistance to backing the Chamber’s agenda.

Common sense tells us that this could go one of three ways: it could work flawlessly, it could backfire, or it could backfire spectacularly by working at the expense of what little support the Chamber still manages to gain from the conservative base.

If I were placing bets, I’d put my money on this backfiring spectacularly. Still, the Chamber is putting on a confident face and appears ready to start naming names.

Via Politico:

Chamber spokeswoman Blair Holmes said the group supports “pro-business candidates in every election, regardless of whether they are a Republican, Democrat, incumbent or challenger.”

“Last year, we were very aggressive in primaries and the general, and we intend to be again,” Holmes said. “It’s not a change in policy as much as it is a recommitment to last cycle’s successful approach.” She added that the candidate it backed won in 14 of the 15 races the Chamber got involved in last year.

International Franchise Association President and CEO Steve Caldeira, who is a member of the Chamber’s public affairs committee, said the group is going to stay “maniacally focused” on what made it very successful in the 2014 election cycle.

“The fact that there are still members of the Republican House that are obstructionist, isolationists that would be willing to shut down the government only reinforces that the Chamber and the business community, for that matter, will double down on this winning formula,” Caldeira said. “I believe they are going to continue to be involved early in candidate recruitment to find candidates that have the willingness to run, the courage to govern once they get to D.C., and hopefully work in a bipartisan manner to get things done.”

Even for a group as influential as the Chamber, finding viable candidates to challenge incumbent firebrands won’t be easy. “Obstructionist” members in the House have made a name for themselves specifically by not backing down in the face of what they see as a heavy-handed establishment machine; they’ve earned the loyalty of their voter base by sticking to their guns, and that base isn’t likely to go quietly into the night when faced with a shiny, new “pro-business” candidate.

Of course, the Chamber’s potential involvement in the primary process isn’t any more or less scandalous than involvement by national tea party or single-issue advocacy groups. They have just as much of a right to challenge the power of incumbency as anyone else—but it would be a mistake for them to go into it believing that they’re in for an easy fight.


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healthguyfsu | July 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Two things:

One, I don’t think we should so easily excuse the lobby power because “everyone does it”.

Two, I’m in favor of pushing out the bought and paid for career politicians as much as anyone but if the new bloods sell out to these guys then they are just as dead to me.

Sammy Finkelman | July 24, 2015 at 7:24 pm

I suppose the Chamber of Commerce can become something like another political party, like the Tea Party is maybe.

    rabidfox in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | July 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    The Democrats have the unions, the Republicans have the Chamber. Just people are beginning to realize that they come in dead last. BTW, the Chamber isn’t responsible for the Republican win last election – the base came out. The base came out to oppose the GOPe and the other self-styled elites.

This links to and explains a document from 6 months ago on the chamber’s economic, education, and workforce agenda.

This total vision is what is enthralling Pols at every level to the point they will not listen to voters. It is important to know about WIOA as these state plans are now due. The Chamber gets to be a listed place at the table for all that state planning in every state and all those required local boards as well.

We are not only on the menu, that discomfort we are all feeling is Pols and the COCs trying to dictate and control what we may be and do going forward. State Capitalism as if China is the future.

In a world where per federal legislation and agency activism K-12 education=workforce devt=politically planned economic devt, the CoC is cracking its whip.

We all need to know that so we can duck. Then remind the Pols at every level we are not their serfs.

What you really mean is “conservative incumbents”.

That’s OK. Let’s let all the crap out in the open. We can deal with it better that way.

    Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | July 24, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Well, the proof will come in the form of actual primary challengers to conservative members, right?

    And when that doesn’t happen, Politico and the rest of the lynch mob will apologize to the Chamber, right?

    Never mind.

      Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | July 25, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Boy! Are YOU gullible!

      This was a bean-ball, thrown by the Chamber of Cronies at the heads of every ACTUAL conservative in Congress.

      It was meant to brush them back from the plate and think about what a nice job they have. They wouldn’t want to lose that over something silly like principle.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | July 24, 2015 at 8:04 pm

If those you brung to the dance refuse to dance even a single dance with ya, you got to throw them in a mud puddle and ditch them!

That’s how you play politics!

OR it could be Politico’s standard Dezinformatsiya.

When an organization whose very survival depends upon multiple six-figure subscriptions from the White House and other Executive agencies to their daily email digest (say, that must be SOME daily link-letter, eh?), and has a history of sowing discord in the opposition party, and relies solely upon anonymous sources that may not even exist, why do you jump to trust them?

– –

1. How many of Politico’s previous “impending GOP civil war” stories have proven true? NONE of them.

2. How many of the founders and principals at Politico were also charter members of Ezra Klein’s email propaganda ring, Journolist (which, as he recently admitted, never really went away)? ALL of them.

Use your brains, if any.

They were involved in 15 races.

Seems to me there is a push to rehabilitate the US Chamber of Commerce and Carl Rove too. I wonder if it will work.

Henry Hawkins | July 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Conservatives, almost by definition, face constant opposition, from the Democrats, of course, but especially from the mainstreamers in the GOP. It has been this way a long time. It is so bad now that conservatives are leaving the GOP, if not in droves at a steady rapid pace. It is the primary reason that the Indpendent/Unaffiliated bloc is larger than either the Democrat Party or the GOP.

With a nod to Darwin, I assert that a political version of ‘survival of the fittest’ keeps the conservative wing sharp and ready. Rarely great enough in number to control the Republican Party, we do get a Reagan now and then. Reagan was elected in large part as rejection of and compensation for the awful Carter administration – Carter and libs pulled the pendulum so far to the left, when it swung back it swung hard enough to elect a Reagan. After two terms of the leftist moonbat Obama, I’d say the pendulum once again will swing back – as political physics demand it must – even harder and further for the 2016 election. The stage is perfectly set for a conservative president, as long as the GOP doesn’t screw it up again.

It is hard for me to believe that whatever character, skills, and tactical genius made Scott Walker so remarkably successful in Wisconsin against such incredibly powerful opposition could only work on the state level, that his skill set wouldn’t be effective at the federal level. I’ve heard this asserted, but never supported with any reasonable hypothesis as to why.

So, bring it Chamber of Commerce. Just be aware that by their very nature conservatives are skeptical and research claims and promises. We don’t fall for slick ads and windy promises. You’ll have to defeat our conservative incumbents on the principles and policies, something that would have occurred in 2010 and 2014 when we elected so many conservatives into Congress. Slick ads and cutesy tweets ain’t gonna do it. The debate has not changed snce 2010, Chambermaids. You lose again.

Good luck finding a pro-business Democrat. Looks like the Coc will be stuck with the “obstructionists” that don’t believe in corporate welfare and crony capitalism for a while.

US Chamber of Horrors, is more like it. Not a patriot among them.

Kind of like the GOP leadership.