I've been saying for a long time that Tea Party conservatives -- along with their libertarian financial backers -- are no friend to business. If this crew were in the House in 2008, they would have blocked TARP and thrown us into a Great Depression. If they'd held sway in 2009, they would have blocked the stimulus package that proved a boon to business. And these folks came very close to crashing the economy during the 2011 debt ceiling standoff.
Sure, the far right pushes a variety of anti-regulatory and anti-tax policies that many business leaders favor, but they pose a serious threat to the stability of the economy -- which matters more than anything else to business.
All that seemed obvious to me two years ago, during the first debt ceiling stand-off. Strangely, though, it's only now dawning on key business groups -- some of which, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spent millions of dollars helping elect hardline conservatives in 2012, even when the scary truth about these people was already clear.
The New York Times has a pretty amazing story today with one top business lobbyist after the other complaining about Tea Party conservatives.
Dan Danner, the head of the National Federation of Independent Businesses -- a pretty conservative group -- told the Times:
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.
The Times notes:
As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.
It's hard to muster a lot of sympathy for business lobbyists being blown off by the extremists they put in power.
That's especially true because groups NFIB and the Chamber have played a leading role for over three years in whipping up hysteria over Obamacare, spending tens of millions of dollars trying to mislead the American public about how this law will affect the nation. And it's die-hard resistance to the dreaded ACA, we'll recall, that has been the main cause of the standoff in Washington.
Business groups didn't just help elect the fanatics they're now complaining about. They actively nurtured the conservative grassroots panic about Obamacare that these legislators are reflecting back into the political process.
Let's hope they learn something from this episode.