Using some of the same survey data that I used last week to analyze a potential shift in Republican priorities in the libertarian direction, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com cites a Gallup poll that claims 80% of Republicans believe Big Government is the largest threat to the country, while just 10% believe big business is the greatest of threats. Just 9% of those surveyed said Big Labor is the largest threat.
In an article earlier this month, libertarian Tim Carney documents how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has given low rankings to liberty-minded Republicans as of late. According to Carney, “Rep. Ron Paul — the most steadfast congressional opponent of regulation, taxation, and any sort of government intervention in business—scored lower than 90% of Democrats last year on the Chamber’s scorecard.
Carney correctly points out that the agenda of big business is often much different than the agenda of liberty-oriented Republicans such as the members of Congress endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus. According to Carney’s research, eleven House Republicans failed to win the Chamber’s award — a mixture of libertarian/conservative members like Paul and liberal members like then-Rep. Wayne Gilchrest.
All but Gilchrest in this group of “business unfriendly” Republicans earned a black mark from the Chamber for voting against the Wall Street bailout twice. And conservative or libertarian Republicans Paul, Ted Poe of Texas, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Paul Broun of Georgia, and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin voted against the college aid bill, while seven of the 11 voted against Bush’s stimulus.
Concludes Carney: “Advocates of bigger government like to assail their opponents as pawns of big business. The Chamber’s shunning of DeMint and Paul will hopefully help put that lie to rest.”
All true. Unfortunately, only 11 members of Congress had the courage to vote against the Bush stimulus package and only 17 Republicans did not vote for any of the bailouts — including Paul, Jeff Flake, Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, and Ted Poe.
It seems a majority of Republican legislators are corporate pawns when it suits their interests. There are a few principled outlyers — Republicans with a conscience. Most of those folks have been endorsed by the RLC for many years.