WASHINGTON — Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to issue a fiery promise to spend millions of dollars to defeat candidates deemed to be anti-business.
"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said.
The warning from the nation's largest trade association came against a background of mounting popular concern over the condition of the economy. A weak record of job creation, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, declining home values and other problems have all helped make the economy a major campaign issue.
Reacting to what it sees as a potentially hostile political climate, Donohue said, the chamber will seek to punish candidates who target business interests with their rhetoric or policy proposals, including congressional and state-level candidates.
Although Donohue shied away from precise figures, he indicated that his organization would spend in excess of the approximately $60 million it spent in the last presidential cycle. That approaches the spending levels planned by the largest labor unions.
The chamber president is scheduled to announce the broad outlines of the organization's plans for the 2008 election and beyond at a news conference here today. Donohue also plans to fire a rhetorical warning shot across the bow of candidates considered unfriendly to business.
"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."
Well, at least he's honest about his plan. Remember who owns the media that will inform a lot of the voters. The corporations aren't going to give up their power without a fight, as John Edwards has said many times. Look for the phrase "anti-business" to be used in ads attacking the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is.
Government "of the people, by the people, for the people" has been perverted into government "of the rich, by the media, for the corporations."