POLITICS: Why Big Business Fears the Tea Party – By MICHAEL LIND June 15, 2014

Dave Brat and his ilk are driving corporate America into the Democrats’ loving arms.

The primary election defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor by the little-known Tea Party conservative David Brat has shocked business and financial elites as well as politicians and pundits. Conservative intellectuals such as Tim Carney have been arguing for a while that the right should adopt a new populism that targets “crony capitalism” and the collaboration of public and private elites at the expense of workers and small businesses. Brat is the first conservative candidate to have achieved a major electoral success by taking this line. He denounced Cantor for being too close to Wall Street and K Street, explained business support for immigration reform as a ploy for cheap labor and demonized the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

In his views about the minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare, Brat is a fairly conventional libertarian, but he became the first candidate to oust a sitting House majority leader since the post was created in 1899 not by speaking the libertarian argot of Ayn Rand and Friedrich von Hayek but by deploying the populist language of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and William Jennings Bryan.

With that kind of talk, Brat and like-minded militants on the right are undermining the philosophy of market populism that has united the Main Street and Wall Street wings of the Republican party since the days of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Market populism recycles the ideology of classic Jeffersonian populism—but expands the definition of the virtuous, self-reliant yeoman to include not only small business owners but also big business executives and capitalists. According to market populism, the virtuous yeomanry consists of family farmers and small, owner-operated businesses—and CEOs of multinational corporations and billionaire investment bankers and heirs and heiresses who inherited their wealth, like Paris Hilton.

Sooner or later the authentic Jeffersonians in the market populist coalition were bound to notice that the actual agenda of conservative politicians has less to do with the needs of small business owners and small farmers than with the desires of big companies and the financial industry—more H1-B indentured servants for Silicon Valley tech oligopolies, the defense of the “carried interest” loophole for Wall Street hedge fund managers. With their attacks on “crony capitalism,” “corporate welfare” and “corporatism,” angry outsiders on the right are threatening to replace business-friendly market populism with real populism.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/why-big-business-fears-the-tea-party-107842.html#ixzz34n79vJpZ

Who is Raul Labrador? – By Rachel Huggins June 14, 2014, 09:19 am

Seven facts you didn’t know about the Idaho Rep. running to replace House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.):

  • Part of immigration reform group and then quit in June 2013
  • Didn’t vote for John Boehner for House Speaker
  • Considered challenging Butch Otter in GOP gubernatorial primary in 2013
  • Native of Puerto Rico
  • Elected to the House on November 2, 2010
  • Immigration attorney before elected to Congress
  • Criticized members of his party over backlash of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/209389-who-is-raul-labrador#ixzz34cUcFZtZ

Eric Cantor falls hard from good graces of conservatives

Conservatives are increasingly targeting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, arguing that he has abandoned conservative principles and protesting his planned meeting with moderate and liberal Republicans.

Photo by: J. Scott Applewhite House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, once seen as a champion for conservatives and a possible candidate for House speaker, now is struggling to hold on to his leadership. (Associated Press)

Photo by: J. Scott Applewhite
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, once seen as a champion for conservatives and a possible candidate for House speaker, now is struggling to hold on to his leadership. (Associated Press)

SEE ALSO: Eric Cantor pressured to skip conference by moderate GOP group

“I think that Boehner can survive the discontent that the tea party and the more conservative element of the Republican Party has, but I don’t think that is true of Cantor,” Mr. Rohrabacher told The Washington Times. “Boehner is not considered someone who is an active adversary. Cantor can be seen — on immigration and a lot of other things — as someone who is very resentful of what would be the patriot Republican right.”

Mr. Rohrabacher took it a step further by saying that members of the caucus could move to knock Mr. Cantor from his leadership post in the next Congress, even if Mr. Boehner has the votes to stay.

“A lot of people are looking around for a replacement for Cantor,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. “Eric is abrasive and is not as smooth at playing the political game as he needs to be to not be driven out of power.”

Cantor aide brushed off some other conservative criticisms of his boss but declined to provide any comment on the record about Mr. Rohrabacher’s charge.

Not long ago, Mr. Cantor was seen as the heir apparent to Mr. Boehner, a conservative alternative to the Ohio Republican.

Last year, Mr. Boehner won 220 of the 232 Republican votes on his way to becoming House speaker. Mr. Cantor placed second among Republicans in the speaker vote, with the support of Reps. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Stevan Pearce of New Mexico and Ted S. Yoho of Florida.

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The fabulous life of your US legislator – by Naureen Khan February 27, 2014 12:30PM ET

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Match your U.S. lawmaker with the corresponding charges on his or her fundraising expense account, and one can get a textured glimpse of exactly what it takes these days to charm donors.

For example, which congressman spent $91,000 in 2013 for a getaway at Dorado Beach Club, a luxury resort in Puerto Rico known for its championship golf courses and plantation-style residences?

That would be Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, who has lamented the widening income gap that separates rich and poor and has been a forceful advocate for a minimum wage hike.

Which lawmaker appears to have an insatiable taste for red meat, having dropped $54,000 at BLT Steakhouse in Washington last year and another $5,000 at Bobby Van’s, a favorite haunt of D.C. lobbyists?

That’s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. If that wasn’t enough to put his political contributors in a giving mood, his PAC, Every Republican Is Crucial, spent $2,300 on “golf fees” and “golf items” through 2013, in addition to the $26,000 the organization expended on a single fundraiser at the luxury golf resort Creighton Farms in northern Virginia.

Since the GOP’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, Cantor has been at the forefront of the party’s efforts to rehabilitate its image, visiting a number of inner-city schools and touting the conservative approach to combating poverty.

Last one: Which senator spent about $8,000 on private car services, $15,000 on a reception at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan and thousands more on caterers from Pasadena to Nantucket to London?

That would be Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who focuses most of her legislative work on measures to improve the lives of women and families. Shelley Rubin, one of the owners of the Rubin Art Museum, then donated $5,000 right back to Gillibrand’s political action committee, Off the Sidelines, later the same year.

Al Jazeera America combed through the year-end Federal Election Commission filings of some of the most active PACs, looking for the more creative ways lawmakers choose to spend money to make money.

None of the disbursements detailed above were made directly by the lawmaker’s offices or official campaign apparatuses, but rather by their affiliated PACs. Cantor and Hoyer, along with dozens of other lawmakers, run leadership PACs — operations intended to leverage their star power in order to raise money on behalf of their colleagues.

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The Impoverished Republican Poverty Agenda – Katrina vanden Heuvel on November 26, 2013 – 12:30 PM ET


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2008 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

What are Republicans for? We know they are against healthcare reform. They voted en masse against it, shut down the government to stop it and have voted nearly fifty times to defund it. We know they are against government spending. They’ve voted for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s draconian budgets, which would slash spending so deeply that even some Republicans are in increasingly open revolt. But those budgets don’t go anywhere. So what do Republicans propose that actually addresses the challenges facing the nation or its people?

Republican leaders are clearly concerned that their policy house is largely vacant. In his dissection of the lost 2012 campaign, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus noted that Republicans suffer a “major deficiency”—the “perception that the GOP does not care about people.” He urged a renewed effort to become “the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder.”

All that advice was lost in the anti-Obama venom that unifies Republicans. But after the government shutdown sent Republican poll numbers plummeting to new depths, a new effort—or at least a new public relations push—has been launched. The early reports make the administration’s botched health-care takeoff look smooth by comparison.

Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/177371/impoverished-republican-poverty-agenda