The White House has pushed back against the well-known pro-business, pro-Republican lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the yelling and whining from the Chamber can be heard well outside the Beltway. The Chamber has engaged its supporters, including Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), to denounce President Obama for Nixonian tactics that include making an enemies list.
Now, the Chamber is claiming that Obama’s tactics have created a backlash that favors the business lobby. That’s unlikely. Because it has its head stuck in the 20th century, the chamber is creating its own problems, losing members like Apple that are more forward thinking. Some progressive business groups were tired of the Chamber’s denial on climage change and its opposition to health care reform.
And Obama is absolutely right to go after the Chamber — hard. The organization has stood against most progressive-minded, pro-consumer reforms for decades. Though it claims to be non-partisan, it is a pro-Republican lobby.
(Tom) Donohue insists the Chamber isn’t simply pro-Republican. Indeed, it does support some pro-business Democrats and Democratic issues. But the vast majority of its money goes to lobbying for positions supported by Republicans — and to ads that directly or indirectly help Republicans.
Tom Donohue, who heads the group, finds himself in an unusual position because even President Clinton tended to tread carefully around the huge lobby. But it’s a new day. And the Chamber deserves hardball opposition from the White House.