Chamber of Commerce to spend at least $50 million next year to promote centrist Republicans

posted at 4:01 pm on December 27, 2013 by Allahpundit

Meant to flag this yesterday but got sidetracked with other stuff. A simple question to warm you during New Year’s, my friends: Will 2014 be the year of the RINO?

GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014’s midterm elections…

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Actually, is this news? It made the rounds on blogs yesterday but the only detail that’s new, I think, is the dollar amount. Some suspect the big-picture goal is to pave the way for more amnesty-minded Republicans before the new immigration-reform push next year. The Chamber is indeed pro-amnesty, but they claim their focus is on taking back the Senate, which already passed the Gang of Eight bill overwhelmingly. If they want to move immigration through, they should focus on the House, but it’s harder to dislodge a conservative incumbent in a red-district primary than it is to help a centrist defeat a tea partier in a statewide race like Senate. Besides, the votes are already there in the House for passing immigration reform; all Boehner needs is a few dozen Republicans to work up the nerve to vote with Democrats in passing it. If the Chamber wants amnesty that badly, they’re better off saving their money and offering it to Boehner as part of his new lobbyist payday if he agrees to violate the Hastert Rule to pass immigration reform, which would likely send him packing into retirement and onto K Street.

This is mainly about the shutdown, of course. The Chamber’s been kvetching loudly about tea partiers ever since the Cruz/Lee “defund” effort in October momentarily turned off the tap from Uncle Sam and screwed with their bottom line. There was a slew of articles in the aftermath about them vowing to make the tea party pay — WaPo, Politico, the Financial Times. McCain claimed around the same time that business groups had already approached him about running for reelection in 2016, for good reason: A state like Arizona could very well replace him with a conservative who’d ally himself with Cruz on a new shutdown effort in the future. As much as business interests might usually (but not always) prefer Republicans to Democrats in the general election, they’re more interested right now in making sure that the next crop of senators will blanch at the thought of a new shutdown or, worse, a new debt-ceiling crisis. There’s already a nucleus of dealmaking GOPers — McCain, Collins, Kirk, Murkowski, frequently Jeff Flake, a few others — that’s big enough to break filibusters so long as Reid has 55 Democrats in his pocket. But he won’t have that many come January 2015. The Chamber needs to add as many anti-shutdown Republicans to the chamber as it can to make beating back Cruz easier the next time righties try a little fiscal brinksmanship.

Why have the Chamber take the lead on this, though? Why not let Karl Rove’s outfit, American Crossroads and its anti-tea-party offshoot Conservative Victory Project, lead the campaign against tea partiers? Well, it seems the Rove brand has been … somewhat tarnished:

At least a dozen “super PACs” are setting up to back individual Republican candidates for the United States Senate, challenging the strategic and financial dominance that Karl Rove and the group he co-founded, American Crossroads, have enjoyed ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 cleared the way for unlimited independent spending…

Crossroads appears to be testing a new approach. The group has so far stayed out of Kentucky, for example, where Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, is facing both a Tea Party challenger in the primary and a strong Democratic opponent. Instead, Mr. McConnell is backed by a new group called Kentuckians for Strong Leadership. Although it is legally separate from Crossroads, most of its cash came from Crossroads donors, Mr. Law sits on its board, and the two organizations share a treasurer.

Crossroads has lobbied to help set up similar groups in races where its brand may be less appealing to voters or donors, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the conversations. But Mr. Rove has grown so controversial among some conservatives, the Republicans said, that candidates worry that donors will not contribute to a super PAC if it is connected to Crossroads.

When Conservative Victory Project was first revealed back in February, Erick Erickson wrote, “I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement.” That’s the problem Crossroads is having right now in a nutshell — for various reasons, Rove is so closely identified with Beltway Republican elements who disdain the base that the Crossroads endorsement might operate like a RINO seal of approval, triggering a fierce tea party backlash in the primary. If you want to get centrist Republicans elected and are worried about conservatives turning out en masse to vote for their opponents, having the Chamber wade in is less likely to aggravate the grassroots than having Rove’s group would. But maybe, purely for reasons of ego, that’s unsustainable: No one expects Crossroads to cede the field to lower-profile groups and risk having them take all the credit next year if the GOP romps and takes back the Senate. They’d bleed donors and influence, and might never recover. So Rove and Crossroads will be part of this too, which will have unpredictable effects on primaries in the spring. Will the sheer volume of ad spending swamp righty candidates, or will the backlash be so ferocious among activists that Rove ends up fumbling away a seat or two that establishment types had coveted? Stay tuned.

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Are they telling me that centrists like John McCain and Scott Brown aren’t fools?

One never met a Democrat’s proposal he didn’t like, the other lost to Elizabeth freakin injun Warren!!!

mockmook on December 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM

The Chamber of Commerce had better wake up and smell the coffee. It’s not the tea party that’s the problem it’s the establishment. If the Chamber of Commerce likes what’s going on now then keep supporting the establishment. The establishment will keep doing what they do, the Democrats will tax and spend on welfare, the Republicans will cut taxes and spend on ????? . The Tea Party, on the other hand, will come in, sit down, pass a budget, and stick to it. They’ll cut the debt and hold people accountable. As the debt goes down, banks will have more money to loan, business will thrive and the chamber will be happy. If things continue the way they are now, our economy is surely not going to improve.

The Democrats and their media wing have been very successful at demonizing the tea party. One of the reasons is because the establishment Republicans have allowed it to happen. Boehners gambit that ended up closing down the government was from a lack of leadership, not the tea party.

bflat879 on December 27, 2013 at 11:40 PM

The very Chamber of Commerce that thinks cheap labor from south of the border is a great thing.

Hill60 on December 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Tea Party politicians aren’t beholden to business interests. That could spell the end of corporate welfare and the Chamber just can’t have that.

29Victor on December 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM


batter on December 28, 2013 at 12:46 AM

When consumers stop patronizing members of the NCofC, and local CofC’s, the suits will wonder why they flushed all that money down the drain.

Another Drew on December 28, 2013 at 1:40 AM

If you see a CofC Membership sticker, walk to the nearest shop that proudly displays membership in the NFIB.

Another Drew on December 28, 2013 at 1:42 AM

The Chamber wants cheap labor. Any candidate who supports their plans to keep labor cheap by making American workers compete with overseas slave labor and tens of millions of desperately poor people immigrating to America is a ‘centrist’ in their book.

I blame the American worker. They’re the clueless losers who’ve been voting for it. They vote for Democrats and they vote for RINO’s. We’ve been getting the government we deserve, and with the immigrants voting overwhelmingly for that policy it is likely to continue until we are just like the rest of the world.

At that point the world returns to the world of war it was before America intervened. It was the culture steeped in respect for property rights that made capitalism work to enhance freedom. Respect for property rights and the rule of law are not global values.

fadetogray on December 28, 2013 at 6:01 AM

And our mantra will be, “No shopping at a store with the Chamber Of Commerce sticker in the window!”

redware on December 28, 2013 at 6:40 AM

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

A party in which the establishment refuses to support the candidates voters nominate and the voters refuse to support any candidate other than their ideological soul mate cannot win.

Nomas on December 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Just how stupid are Republicans that they don’t even pretend to try to secure their base? Do they release that they don’t have the built in “I’m voting for free stuff” group that the Dems have? Republican voters, better known as the ATM Machines of the Nation, will sit home. Why vote to be robbed?

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

By all means, let’s snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Maybe we’re going about this all wrong. How about we strip the citizenship of and deport anyone hiring or promoting the hiring of illegal aliens? After we build the 2000 mile Fort Ticonderoga-style wall bristling with Centurion C-RAMs and a 1000-foot-wide sharks-with-frickin’-lasers-infested moat on our southern border, I mean.

Knott Buyinit on December 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Anyone boycotting CofC members, be sure to tell the business owner and tell him/her why. Then follow it up with a letter to the Chambers of Commerce.

thmsmgnm on December 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

The very Chamber of Commerce that thinks cheap labor from south of the border is a great thing.

Hill60 on December 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM

The very same Chamber of Commerce that first thought cheap labor from Southern states was a great thing too.

rhombus on December 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

So blatant and arrogant . I’d love to see
victory by conservatives smashed right
in their faces .
This is genius strategy . Why would you
pull an obama and stick a finger in the
eye of of your own party ?

Lucano on December 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM

The very same Chamber of Commerce that first thought cheap labor from Southern states was a great thing too.

rhombus on December 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Uh … cheap labor from southern states is a good thing, but maybe that is your point.

Jaibones on December 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

As for the Chamber, I’m trying to figure out a way to figuratively horse whip them, but I got nuthin’.

Jaibones on December 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

The 50 million is chump change. The Chamber’s declaration of war is supposed to encourage other businesses to pony up, under cover of the COC.

They destroyed their brand. It cannot be recovered in this generation. Is that the point? I am now paying attention to the label. Big Box stores don’t care what I think, but small businesses do care. I will look for the label.

Buy Chinese.

Boycott the chamber of commerce pajama boys.

The irony escapes most all.

Schadenfreude on December 27, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Heh, buy Chinese direct, instead of through the Chamber of Commerce boys.

Well, I guess you can’t blame them-who needs free enterprise and healthy competition when the Fed can siphon cheap fiat money into your accounts and your buddies in the Whorehouse on the Hill can help you get your way through regulations and legislation.

Capitalism is dead.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 27, 2013 at 5:32 PM

You are too kind. There still is capitalism, but it is being killed by the siphon of the Left, and the pig trough of the Cronies at the top. We are in an era of Globalist Robber Barons.

The only thing preventing consolidation of power is the vote. Amnesty is supposed to break the vote, and grant the pillagers a good 10 years to ruin the voter with green card replacement workers, until the new crowd gets their voter registrations

entagor on December 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM

“GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline”…and…”No fools on our ticket”

Is there anything else you need to hear, that lets you know that the establishment has gone completely liberal? Because what I heard with this piece is, “We decide how you want to be represented, and anyone who disagrees with Us, is a Fool.”

Which tells me, its time to remind these arrogant jackasses who this government is ‘made’ of, and who works for who.

a5minmajor on December 28, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The GOP no longer exist…

d1carter on December 28, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Crony capitalism.

LilyBart on December 28, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Just how stupid are Republicans that they don’t even pretend to try to secure their base? Do they release that they don’t have the built in “I’m voting for free stuff” group that the Dems have? Republican voters, better known as the ATM Machines of the Nation, will sit home. Why vote to be robbed?

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

They think we have no where else to go – we’ll vote for the big government “R” because its the lesser evil as compared to the “D”. Now, this is true up to a point, but I think we’ve crossed that point.

LilyBart on December 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

The GOP does not have to have a war between the Beltway Establishment and the Tea Party base if in 2016 they nominate a successful smaller government footprint governor. Senators carry voting record baggage and can’t point to clear accomplishments like governors can. I would rather have a GOP Gov go against a former Senator, Washington Insider like HRC than another denizen of DC anyway.

KW64 on December 28, 2013 at 8:20 PM

LilyBart on December 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

I agree and thanks for figuring out that release was suppose to be realize. Terrible terrible proof reading.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2013 at 8:33 PM

‘No more fools’ would stop McCain who’s a senile drooling cretin

TexasJew on December 28, 2013 at 10:16 PM

I keep coming back to this, but they’re just not paying attention. The establishment candidate, in Florida, was Connie Mack IV, perhaps the worst they could have chosen to run against Nelson. In Missouri, the candidate that won the primary wasn’t the tea party candidate, but a candidate the Democrats supported over the tea party candidate. Both of those races were winnable and it was the establishment that was responsible.

It’s becoming obvious the establishment wants the status quo. They don’t care if they have the power, in fact there are some who really believe with power comes responsibility and they don’t want that. So we have establishment Republicans who don’t want to deal with Ted Cruz, et al, versus the public that wants Washington D.C. to change. I’m not sure where the Chamber of Commerce really stands but, if they really want the status quo, they may end up losing donations too.

bflat879 on December 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM

OK, well, that’s $50M (or more) less going to the RNC.

We don’t need Republicans in office who won’t fight for conservative policy.

virgo on January 1, 2014 at 4:22 AM

Amnesty is a horrible idea. When the Unemployment rate (U-6) is up around 14%, the last thing you want to do is to import more people you don’t have jobs for.

I don’t know why this is so hard for the BUSINESS people to understand. The only thing Amnesty will do is bankrupt the country faster.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Oh, but you’re wrong. They have jobs for them. The just don’t have jobs for us.

magicbeans on January 1, 2014 at 9:16 AM

If we narrowed the party to exclude those who you don’t consider to be a RINO the GOP would be able to hold its convention in a phone booth.

MJBrutus on December 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

It seems to me you are narrowing the party to those who agree with the establishment and don’t make any noise. You talk about being gang raped by Obama but I submit the raping has been going on far longer than that. And you in the establishment or the RINOs or whatever you are calling yourselves have been in on the raping. In fact, it seems to me the only thing the Chamber is worried about is that the raping my stop.

magicbeans on January 1, 2014 at 9:36 AM

“Chamber of Commerce to spend at least $50 million next year to promote centrist Republicans”

Meaning, closet Democrats.

kjatexas on January 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM