The Chamber of Commerce is purportedly pledging $100 million to defeat conservatives in 2016, or as is being reported, defeating conservatives who might cause heartburn for poor little Paul Ryan who apparently cannot stand up to those 40 yapping conservatives.
It is actually a sad statement of leadership from Paul Ryan that while he fiddles over whether to be Speaker or not, he refuses to stand up and speak out against the Chamber of Commerce threatening to take out conservatives. It makes him look weak.
Unfortunately for the Chamber of Commerce, it is not just the band of 40 conservatives in the House who have problems with the leadership and process. Despite press headlines and punditry complaints, 151 Republicans voted no on the continuing resolution and 167 voted no on the Department of Homeland Security funding this past spring.
The issue is not with the House Freedom Caucus, but with a lack of a policy agenda by House Republican Leaders.
The fact is we do not have a Speaker candidate yet because House Republicans know they cannot form a coalition Speaker with Democrats without being exposed to their base as frauds. The angst and anger the Chamber of Commerce and House Republican Leaders are showing toward the House Freedom Caucus has way more to do with the veneer of “conservative” slowly rubbing off the leadership.
For the longest time, the Chamber of Commerce was where one went to find out who the conservatives were in Congress. But over the last two decades, the Chamber has become a breeding ground for corrupt cronyism. The organization rallies to large businesses and their interests at the expense of the innovator and start up. Government deals are the rule of the day at the Chamber, hence their strong insistence on amnesty proposals, the Export-Import Bank, and various spending programs.
The Chamber and its allies can write so many large checks that Republican leadership interests have largely aligned with the Chamber. As social media has risen and with it outside conservative groups willing to raise awareness of the Chamber’s backroom dealings, it has become harder and harder for the Chamber to get its way automatically in Washington.
This $100 million threat is more a temper tantrum at their exposure than a demand that conservatives fall in line. Conservatives will not fall in line and Chamber money will just be seen as a badge of corruption when candidates take their cash.
They know that and they know this — if Republicans move further left and ally with Democrats on a Speaker, it will make those Republicans extremely vulnerable in primaries come 2016.