Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): A Cautionary Tale: Crony Republicanism vs Liberterian-leaning Conservatives

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Cautionary Tale: Crony Republicanism vs Liberterian-leaning Conservatives

 "...There's a cautionary tale here for all those conservatives -- libertarian, reformist, anti-cronyist -- who like to argue that a more principled and politically-successful Republican Party would necessarily have a less cozy relationship with big business and the rich," Ross Douthat wrote in his New York Times autopsy of the Cuccineli/McAuliffe Virginia gubernatorial race.

Douthat accurately nails the challenge of anti-crony conservatives (or as I like to call them, Tea Party members). The Republican primary in Virginia pitted Cuccinelli, a more anti-crony conservative, against Establishment Republican Bill Bolling. Douthat calls Bolling more "business-friendly," but I'm pretty sure that means Bolling was willing to offer subsidies and deals to special interests. Bolling's willingness to pay-for-play would likely have garnered more campaign donations and a win for the Republicans in Virginia as McAuliffe outspent Cuccinelli by boat loads.

This is a real mess, and one we libertarian-minded (or anti-cronyism, I'm going to adopt that term) conservatives need to figure out, and we'd better do it soon. Those in the political class theorizing that the divide in the Republican Party is all about social issues are dead wrong. The current fight for the soul of the GOP is about cronyism, pure and simple.

Until recently, it's been a fairly quiet "family conversation," to borrow a term from Johnson County Republican Chair Ronnie Metsker. The gloves are about to come off. 

Consider for example, a giant empty field with a few construction trailers on it in Manhattan, Kan. It's supposed to be the site of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) at Kansas State University. In the old days, we'd all just sit back and expect our Congressional delegation to bring home the bacon. The feds promised $404 million in matching funds to build the defense facility, but now the project sits on hold as Congress fights over the budget. 

The weird thing is that Sen. Pat Roberts, a K-State alumnus, and Sen. Jerry Moran, WHO LIVES IN MANHATTAN, are completely mum on the topic. They're in a tight spot, expected to bring home pork chops while cutting the budget. What better way to get the Kansas delegation on board with a spend-y budget than to use the NBAF as a bargaining chip? There's a lesson here about federal money not being free, but that's not the point.

So Moran and Roberts are already elected and in Washington feeling the heat. Neither offered comment to the Kansas City Star about the NBAF project-delay. There are lots of contractors and hopeful Manhattanites looking to score jobs and cash from the NBAF and their support for Roberts and Moran will dry up if this project is moth-balled. 

But what about political candidates who promise to keep the federal budget in check? What about those anti-crony candidates who promise NOT to make special deals and government giveaways? Where do they find the cash to run a campaign for office?

That's really the question. You'll note that some traditional Republican constituencies are pulling away from the party's base. The best example would be the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers offering blanket support to "immigration reform." They want cheap labor, and consequences to the country and her citizenry be damned. This break may be the split that kills the GOP.  

Their support for immigration reform is short-sighted. While a wealth of cheap labor may temporarily provide economic benefits, over time, those immigrants will change the face of our economy in ways that I don't believe Chamber members have carefully considered. It means lower wages for everyone, including business owners, over time. 

It pains me to say it, but even the Kansas Chamber should be questioned. They are on board with the push to open our borders.

Any candidate that receives the support of the Chambers of Commerce should be carefully considered. If there's another conservative option, that candidate should get your vote and a whatever cash you can spare. 



  1. Unfortunately it is coroprate welfare on the Republican Establishment Right and social welfare on the Democratic Socialist Left. And founding father constitutional individual liberty and freedom collapsing in the Middle! The Republican Primary is THE election to take back our founding priniciples and without that accomplishment the Republic is Lost!

  2. Think of it as 2 armies facing each other: 1 has self-interested union and government people who will give their time and money and the other side has self-interested corporate welfare people and the grassroots who only want an honest, limited, efficient government unimpeded by public-private cronyism. These grassroots people will NOT sacrifice for the few corporate self-interests. Therefore, the Repubicans will lose or not do near what they could so that a few asses can get into the public trough. Many Democrats will win because the selfish, short-sighted Chambers of Commerce would rather rip off taxpayers just like the union and government whores.