I hope you read Jonah Goldberg's short article on National Review Online last week. If not, you missed the best definition of Establishment Republicans EVER! Goldberg's piece also exploded the myth of "pro-business" way too many conservatives believe. Conservatism isn't pro-business, it's pro-market. I'll let Jonah explain:
Just to clarify, the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical. A politician who is a “friend of business” is exactly that, a guy who does favors for his friends. A politician who is pro-market is a referee who will refuse to help protect his friends (or anyone else) from competition unless the competitors have broken the rules. The friend of business supports industry-specific or even business-specific loans, grants, tariffs, or tax breaks. The pro-market referee opposes special treatment for anyone.
BOOM! In one paragraph, Goldberg destroys that myth that pro-business equals pro-market. In fact, the two are mutually exclusive.
So how do you tell the difference between a pro-market conservative and pro-business Republican? You're about to get your chance.
The Export-Import Bank Lights Up the Rats
The Export-Import Bank symbolizes pro-business. The bank provides sweetheart deals to businesses who donate lots of money to politicians. The Ex-Im bank will go away in September unless Congress reauthorizes it.
Any Republican who votes for (or trades his or her vote for) re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank exposes himself as a crony capitalist who puts himself and his political career ahead of good policy and free markets.
GOP politicians can’t have it both ways anymore. An economic system that simply doles out favors to established stakeholders becomes less dynamic and makes job growth less likely. (Most jobs are created by new businesses.) Politically, the longer we’re in a “new normal” of lousy growth, the more the focus of politics turns to wealth redistribution. That’s bad for the country and just awful politics for Republicans. In that environment, being the party of less — less entitlement spending, less redistribution — is a losing proposition.
The Export-Import Bank isn't the only tattletale of pro-business cronyism. The Missouri Republican legislature is pretty much a sea of cronyism. Every GOP legislator who supports Medicaid expansion, China Hub, Obamacare health insurance exchanges, and red light cameras practices crony capitalism.
Democrats, of course, believe wholeheartedly in crony capitalism. They want the state and business to meld into one. (And a police state runs through it.) Republicans, on the other hand, like to preach from Hayak's gospel and quietly sing from the corporatism hymnal.
Republican Hypocrisy Turns Off Millennials
The Millennials represent the largest generation in American history at 79 million members. Millennials are the future of elections for the next 20 years. The oldest Millennials are 32, the youngest about 10 or 12. By 2016, the youngest will be 12 to 14 and the oldest 34.
This generation radiates a libertarian streak balanced with a strong concept of teamwork. In other words, they vote, buy, and move in large groups. And they can smell hypocrisy a mile away.
When Republicans preach free markets but legislate to benefit GOP donors through the Export-Import Bank, Millinnials ask, "how stupid do they thing we are?" Jonah Goldberg notes this, too.
Also, for the first time in years, there’s an organized — or mostly organized — grassroots constituency for the market. Historically, the advantage of the pro-business crowd is that its members pick up the phone and call when politicians shaft them. The market, meanwhile, was like a bad Jewish son; it never called and never wrote. Now, there’s an infrastructure of tea-party-affiliated and other free-market groups forcing Republicans to stop fudging.
If the GOP hopes to regain the White House or the Missouri Governor's Mansion, it better decide soon whether it's the party of free markets or the party of crony capitalism.
As Jonah Goldberg said, they can't have it both ways. Republicans in Washington and in Missouri will either live up to the promise of their rhetoric or slide down the Waste Management dump truck into the ash heap of history.