Whether it was the stimulus, health care, cap and trade, the debt limit, or the fiscal cliff, President Obama has repeatedly relied on the business community to deliver moderate Republican votes for his agenda. And at every turn, the business community has failed to deliver. Slowly, it is beginning to dawn on liberals that Republicans are not the party of big business. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney recently flagged this Washington Post interview with Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol:
WaPo: So around 2007, Republicans were becoming more skeptical of climate policy. Yet the main climate strategy in D.C. was to craft a complex cap-and-trade bill amenable to businesses like BP and DuPont in the hopes that those companies would bring in Republican votes.
Skocpol: I think a lot of environmental groups were under the impression that the Republican Party is a creature of business, and that if you can make business allies, you can get Republicans to do something. But I don’t think the Republican Party right now is mainly influenced by business. In the House in particular, ideological groups and grassroots pressure are much more influential. And in the research we’ve done, the two big issues that really revved up primary voters were immigration and the EPA.
In a shift over a half-century, the party base has been transplanted from the industrial Northeast and urban centers to become rooted in the South and West, in towns and rural areas. In turn, Republicans are electing more populist, antitax and antigovernment conservatives who are less supportive — and even suspicious — of appeals from big business.
“One of the biggest lies in politics is the lie that Republicans are the party of big business,” Ted Cruz, a new senator from Texas and a Tea Party favorite, told The Wall Street Journal during his 2012 campaign. “Big business does great with big government. Big business is very happy to climb in bed with big government. Republicans are and should be the party of small business and of entrepreneurs.”
The Republican that best articulates this new capitalist populism, and turns it into primary votes, will be the Republican nominee in 2016.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Obama plays politics with gun control
Tim Carney: In gun control push, Obama abandons logic and facts
Byron York: Low-interest Obama inauguration leaves DC hotel rooms empty
Phil Klein: Rand Paul’s evolving Zionist non-interventionism
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Noam Scheiber on Obama’s plan to use the debt limit to “break” Republicans.
Benjy Sarlin identifies Guns, Immigration, and Climate Change as Obama’s three biggest second term priorities.
Think Progress has Everything You Need To Know About Obama’s Gun Violence Prevention Proposals