Pledge to sup­port GOP es­tab­lish­ment

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

tea party goals such as cut­ting the deficit and re­form­ing en­ti­tle­ment spend­ing, but they ar­gue that con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers have erred in their tac­tics and wounded the econ­omy by driv­ing the gov­ern­ment with in­creas­ing fre­quency into states of cri­sis and dys­func­tion — this time for the ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­ful cause of try­ing to force Pres­i­dent Obama to can­cel his health care law.

“There’s no ques­tion that this month’s gov­ern­ment shut­down saga has been a spec­tac­u­lar fail­ure,” said David French, se­nior vice pres­i­dent and lob­by­ist at the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion, whose mem­bers con­sti­tute the na­tion’s largest group of em­ploy­ers.

Re­tail­ers were par­tic­u­larly frus­trated that the long-run­ning feud and stand­off be­tween the par­ties — which has been post­poned un­til early next year — threat­ens for the sec­ond year in a row to spoil the crit­i­cal Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son, when one-quar­ter of all U.S. re­tail pur­chases are made and an even larger share of re­tail prof­its are made.

Be­sides the re­tail fed­er­a­tion, the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, the largest U.S. busi­ness lobby, “will be get­ting more in­volved in pri­maries this cy­cle,” said Blair Latoff Holmes, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for me­dia re­la­tions.

He said the Cham­ber of Com­merce has kept tabs on leg­is­la­tors’ votes on the debt ceil­ing and gov­ern­ment shut­down as well as their po­si­tions on is­sues such as trade, im­mi­gra­tion, and en­ti­tle­ment and tax re­form, with an eye to­ward de­cid­ing which can­di­dates to sup­port.

Tea party lead­ers are de­fi­ant, threat­en­ing to run can­di­dates as in­de­pen­dents if busi­ness groups de­feat them in next year’s Repub­li­can pri­maries. Al­ready, con­ser­va­tive pri­mary chal­lengers have emerged to take on Repub­li­can Se­nate and House in­cum­bents in states such as Ken­tucky, Ten­nessee, Idaho, Texas and South Carolina.

Jud­son Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Na­tion, called busi­ness lead­ers who op­pose the tea party “RINOs” (Repub­li­cans in name only) and “crony cap­i­tal­ists” who are “feed­ing at the gov­ern­ment trough” and are in­ter­ested only in “mak­ing the trains run on time” rather than chang­ing the un­sus­tain­able course of gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

“Busi­ness is over­reach­ing,” he said of their plans to op­pose in­sur­gent can­di­dates in Repub­li­can pri­maries.

“Busi­ness can bring a lot of money to the ta­ble, but they can’t bring boots on the ground” in a way that rouses pub­lic sup­port for Repub­li­can can­di­dates the way the tea party does, he said.

But from Wall Street to Main Street, all of the ma­jor busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions, in­clud­ing the Cham­ber of Com­merce, the re­tail­ers, the Busi­ness Roundtable and the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers lob­bied for quick pas­sage of an in­crease in the na­tion’s debt

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