The GOP Establishment Fights Back

Business interests claimed that the disastrous government shutdown strategy woke them up to the problems caused by Tea Party Republicans, and last night we saw the beginning of a shift in strategy. The business community basically ignored radical right-winger Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race. Cuccinelli had expressed support for the Tea Party strategy and also had very extreme views on social issues. Then, in a special election for a House seat in Alabama, the business community lined up behind Bradley Byrne who was facing Tea Party darling Dean Young who made a serious of extreme statements including Birther references.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent around $200,000 on Byrne’s behalf, and Ending Spending, an outside group bankrolled by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, spent around $75,000 on TV and ads boosting him.

Business groups have stated that they will begin to play in primaries after several election cycles where the Tea Party and the far right were left alone to support their candidates and pick off business-friendly Republicans. In many ways this is just an escalation in the GOP civil war, but it marks an important turning point. They are sending a message to GOP House members that there will be a price to pay for spitting in the face of Wall Street and the business community.


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