The GOP establishment got rocked this week when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost to Tea Party favorite David Brat. Many of the titans in the Fortunate 500 have government in their back pocket. David Brat is right to be against crony capitalism. And this is a problem countrywide as Cato’s David Boaz writes:
Around the country, though, big business is devoting a surprising amount of effort to trying to defeat the small number of libertarian-minded members of Congress and state legislatures. Why, for instance, did big companies spend so much money to defeat a Republican Georgia legislator last month? Apparently Rep. Charles Gregory was just too libertarian for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the companies like Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Georgia Power, and AT&T, who suddenly set up a the “Georgia Coalition for Job Growth” to oppose him and other tea party legislators. It’s not the only example this primary season.
In Kentucky, business leaders lobbied hard though unsuccessfully to persuade Steve Stevens, head of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, to run against Rep. Thomas Massie. Massie, a businessman himself, is a strong fiscal conservative, but some local business leaders don’t like what they see as his stand-off approach.
A Washington business consultant has moved to northern California to challenge anti-earmarks Rep. Tom McClintock, because he “thinks representatives should deliver for folks back home,” in the words of a local reporter.
And that’s just it. It isn’t gay marriage or foreign policy that seems to annoy big and politically connected businesses. They just object that libertarian legislators don’t play the game, don’t bring home the bacon, and actually take seriously the limited government ideas that most Republicans only pay lip service to.
In Michigan business leaders are funding financial consultant Brian Ellis’s primary challenge to Rep. Justin Amash. Since his election in the 2010 tea party wave, Amash has emerged as the most libertarian member of the House of Representatives. He’s second to McClintock on the National Taxpayers Union spending-vote ratings. He organized a bipartisan effort to rein in the National Security Agency that came within a few votes of passing the House. He heads the House Liberty Caucus. He Amash told the New York Times, “I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”