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Chamber Plan to Oust Conservatives Will Stir the Base

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is threatening to run primary challenges against incumbent conservative members of the House of Representatives.

The Chamber has had it with conservatives mucking up their agenda on issues like immigration reform, the Export-Import Bank reauthorization, and highway spending, as Politico reported. The group is ready to start picking off troublemakers.

But the move is likely to backfire against corporate America’s voice in Washington, D.C., by inflaming grassroots conservatives. As much as the Republican base loathes big government, it despises big business profiting from the favors of big government almost as much. To many conservatives, that is exactly what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents.

The Republican brand will suffer as the bedrock of the party comes under assault from the Washington establishment.

Conservative leaders already are saying they will fight. David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, told the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal that “preserving” conservative lawmakers will be a priority for both his organization and the broader conservative community.

“If the Chamber of Commerce wants to pick a fight, the conservative movement is going to have to be ready, and I’m sure we will be,” Bozell said.
“If the Chamber of Commerce wants to pick a fight, then the conservative movement is going to have to be ready, and I’m sure we will be,” he said.

Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action, said, “If the Chamber of Commerce wants politicians in Washington that increase spending, shill for corporate welfare and enact sweeping amnesty, they should support Democrats.”

The sight of the Chamber pouring cash into GOP primary races in early 2016 is likely to galvanize conservatives just as they are being urged to the polls to choose a nominee for president.

The Chamber’s entrance into Republican internecine warfare would hurt the candidates viewed as closest to the trade group — most notably, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In December, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote a piece entitled, “Jeb Bush: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Waterboy.” Columnist Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic and The Week described Bush as “a Chamber of Commerce conservative.” Last October, he cut political ads for the Chamber in Spanish.

No doubt Bush will be cringing during the primaries as some of the more conservative and populist candidates mercilessly tie him to an organization busy trying to rob the GOP base of representatives in Congress.
No doubt Bush will be cringing during the primaries as some of the more conservative and populist candidates mercilessly tie him to an organization busy trying to rob the GOP base of its representatives in Congress.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the candidate the Chamber can least stand the sight of, will be perfectly positioned to use the Chamber’s fratricidal push as part of his strategy of running against Washington.

Cruz indirectly derided the Chamber just last Friday during his appearance on the Senate floor, castigating Senate Republicans for listening “to one and only one voice: That is the voice of the Washington cartel, of the lobbyists on K Street, of the big money and big corporations.”

The feeling is mutual. In October 2013, after Cruz helped shut down the government over Obamacare, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue was asked if having Cruz “sit down and shut up” is something he might want to arrange.

“Well, that might be one thing we could work on,” Donohue quipped.

Having the Chamber to kick around might be enticing to other populists in the race, as well as low single-digit candidates who need an issue, or even Donald Trump, who seems willing to fire away at any moving object.

By recklessly declaring war on the GOP’s most motivated voters, the Chamber threatens to demoralize and alienate the one faction of the party that is indispensable for achieving Republican victories in 2016.

This article first appeared on LifeZette.

Catastrophe for Conservatives, But Not the End

The reelection of President Obama is a catastrophe for conservatives that will set the United States on a track from which it will be difficult to derail. But the task for the Right is not impossible.

Obama’s victory is not a catastrophe, as some will maintain, because conservatism can’t prevail in an presidential election. The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, is not a conservative, and he failed to assertively articulate conservative ideas.

Rather, it’s a catastrophe because Obama’s left wing agenda will now be ensconced more firmly than ever, and some portions of it may never be dislodged.

Republicans lost the presidency, failed by a mile to retake the Senate, but retained the House. So conservatives will have to fight a rear guard action to resist further movement to the left, an engagement in which they can be partially, but not fully, successful.

Obamacare is now here to stay. The United States will move inexorably toward socialized medicine, and the quality of health care for all will begin to decline irrevocably.

Federal spending, which stands at its highest level since World War II, will stay right where it is and perhaps increase. Dependency on government will become better established as a way of life. Government will intrude in ever more creative and pernicious ways into the daily lives of Americans, as Obama rules by fiat to the greatest extent possible and issues regulations affecting myriad aspects of our lives.

As more people become acclimated to receiving government largesse, fewer will be open to conservative ideas about self-reliance. Businesses will find it more difficult than ever to operate as the burdens of rules and paperwork weigh them down.

Some within Republican circles will argue, in effect, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” That Republicans must moderate their message to appease a public that has rejected conservative ideas.

But Republicans just did moderate their message. They ran Mitt Romney as their candidate.

Conservatives will have to think not how to water things down, but how to sell their program to people who have failed to embrace it. They need to bring Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans into their tent. Not by making their philosophy more appealing to them, but by appealing their philosophy to them.

Republicans have to be unafraid to explain the tough choices facing America, the sometimes hard solutions conservatism offers, and the brighter future these solutions will bring.

America will become a more dependent country under Obama. But the evidence of decay will mount. And the demand for sweeping change will return.

And then, with patient confidence that Americans – all Americans – have the strength and intelligence to embrace messages that aren’t popular with the media or cool with Bruce Springsteen, conservatives must make their case.

Americans respect leaders who have principles and stick to them.

Republican candidates at the presidential level who followed Ronald Reagan have never really understood the value of standing for something. And they’ve never respected voters enough to present the conservative case. They think voters just want to hear the sappy news that government will take care of them. Republicans have to take the time and have the patience to explain why this doesn’t quite work.

The American spirit of initiative, self reliance and private charity will be depleted over the next four years. But it won’t be gone. And that’s why Obama’s reelection is a catastrophe, but not the end, for conservatives.