Remember how Congressional Republicans went to the shut-down World War II Memorial to protest the fact that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives had just shut down the government? In a spectacular meta-expansion of that story line, today's New York Times checks in with the right-wing organizations that spent millions on millions of dollars to elect and entrench a Republican majority in the House. They're upset.
“There clearly are people in the Republican Party at the moment for whom the business community and the interests of the business community — the jobs and members they represent — don’t seem to be their top priority,” said Dan Danner, the head of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which spearheaded opposition to President Obama’s health care law among small businesses. “They don’t really care what the N.F.I.B. thinks, and don’t care what the Chamber thinks, and probably don’t care what the Business Roundtable thinks.”
Having funded a concerted, structural effort to promote the message that government is inherently wasteful and tyrannical and destructive, America's business leaders are now shocked to find that members of Congress are hostile toward the government—willing to cripple its everyday operations or even send the whole country into default. This alarms them, now.
The ruling business class never really meant that nihilistic libertarian stuff. Wealthy rulers like a big, strong government; government keeps things stable. Government gathers a bunch of money in one place so the wealthy can skim it more efficiently. The revolutionary rhetoric was mostly just an emotional expression of how much the rich personally dislike having to pay taxes, or meet regulatory standards, or submit to a ritual but harmless fine when their activities defraud or poison too many of the masses.
But now these rubes in Congress—these rubes the business class paid to elect—are acting like they actually believe it. They're being dangerously "anti-establishment," one business lobbyist tells the Times. By creating unshakably secure districts for the country's right-wing political party, the plutocrats made it possible for far-right lunatics to win tiny primaries and advance to actual power, unimpeded by the liberal opposition party (which is not, itself, noticeably unfriendly to business interests):
“The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” [Deloitte chief executive Joe] Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”
This is not what America's corporate leaders meant to buy, when they purchased a government. Their complaints are very explicit on this point—explicit enough to supply excellent reelection blurbs for Tea Party members:
“We ask them to carry our water all the time,” said one corporate sector lobbyist, who demanded anonymity in order to speak frankly about the relationship with Republicans. “But we don’t necessarily support them 100 percent of the time. And what has happened is the rise of an ideological wing that is now willing to stand up to business interests."
The solution? Exchange them for candidates who will carry business interests' water without fail:
“What we want is a conservative business person, but someone who in many respects will be more realistic, in our opinion,” said Bruce Josten, the top lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the single biggest lobbying organization in Washington.
Let's see: the Chamber of Commerce is the biggest lobbying organization in Washington, and Washington is falling apart. Clearly, we need the Chamber of Commerce to exert even more influence.
[Image by Jim Cooke, photo via Getty]