Big business takes on the tea party -- gently

Take the primary race between tea partier Rep. Justin Amash and pro-business challenger Brian Ellis. Ellis isn’t getting much help from industry donors, even though Amash would be a great candidate to defeat, sending a message to the insurgent wing of that party that business means business.

In interviews, more than a dozen Republican lobbyists and operatives said they think business is missing a crucial moment to course correct the Republican Party and make a dent in the Washington gridlock.

“All of this is just happy talk by the business community,” said one veteran business lobbyist. “First off, they are reluctant to go against incumbents. No. 2, they are reluctant to go against Republican incumbents. If that person is defeated in a primary and a Democrat wins, they view it as a worse position for business.”

And while Republicans are not in serious danger of losing the House this year, and they still have a real shot at retaking the majority in the Senate, the pro-business wing of the party is struggling to maintain its influence inside a party that’s moving further and further away from the principles that defined it for decades.