Rand Paul on Chamber of Commerce Republicans

Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, often moves (sometimes quixotically) between libertarian and conventionally conservative, Republican positions.

Still, there’s unquestionably some libertarian in him, and in his libertarianism he shares a dynamic philosophy (if not party label) with a huge number of other Americans (about 22%, or just under one-in-four people). 

Here’s what Paul, speaking to GOP activists, had to say about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“Chamber of Commerce is fine, I was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, but a Chamber of Commerce Republican is not going to win a national election….I’m not saying we give up on what we believe in, but we have to expand what we believe in….

The interesting thing about it is, as I go around the country, no matter who I talk to, whether it’s the establishment — the wealthy who support our party sometimes — or the poor, people say it’s time, time for this libertarian moment, this liberty moment,” he said. “It’s no longer something that scares people, it’s what [makes] people say, we can’t run the same-old same-old, we’re not going to win with the same-old, same-old.

Part of this is an appeal to an expanded base on issues beyond business issues.

But there’s much more to it, as small-government advocates like Nick Sorrentino well understand:

The big companies, the ones which have long partnered with the government to get a piece of the taxpayer pie would prefer that the true blue small government types just stay home and leave the “governing” to the party and industry hacks….

being pro-business and being pro-market are not the same thing. Big business likes government and regulations (often) because big business controls government and the regulatory process to a large extent. The Chamber of Commerce and the big companies which run the show there like government involvement. The Chamber might say that it is a champion of “free enterprise” but it is far from a champion. Free enterprise is actually pretty much NOT what many members of the Chamber of Commerce want.

Free enterprise, free markets, free prices are however increasingly what a very large portion of the American people want. They see an economy which is stagnant for most, while those who are entrenched in the crony class do well. The too-big-to-fail folks are sitting pretty these days.

The sloganeering of big-business and government cronyism is increasingly ineffective, and awaits a reckoning before a public sharper and fairer than a self-promoting, bloated clique comprehends. 

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