On a recent road trip to the southwest, I caught lots of campaign ads along the route and occasionally saw some of the more vicious ads on TV. It is nasty out there. Everywhere! One constant thread is the nastiness and blatant hypocrisy of the Chamber of Commerce.
CCC has commented on growing hypocrisy and partisanship of the Chamber of Commerce in earlier posts. It is an organization with a reputation in many communities of being business-oriented and conservative but not openly partisan. The chamber could be fair, it could host local candidate forums in a nonpartisan manner, and its information (although conservative) was generally factual and could be trusted. But, as far as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is concerned, those days are apparently a thing of the past.
Various groups and even the national media are finally picking up on and commenting on recent trends in the chamber's new status as an international trade association that pits nation against nation in an attempt to get its laissez-faire way.
The chamber's hidden sources of funds supporting their attack ads are the focus of much of that attention. Are they using foreign funds to influence American elections? We don't know because the chamber won't say, but the probable answer is yes... just as they use funds raised in the U.S. to influence politics in other nations.
But if we pay close attention, the chamber's hypocrisy is shoved right in voters' faces. Take the recent ad attacking Tom Perriello. The ad doesn't mention Perriello's opponent or even the election (but if you are running an ad in this season the intent is obvious) and is clearly designed to damage the Democrat. Regardless of its veracity (not much), the ad strikes this bird as blatantly hypocritical when it says: "Government run health care. Medicare cuts. Have you had enough? Tell Congressman Perriello, stop hurting Virginia families."
So the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is upset with health care reform and upset with cost savings in Medicare? The chamber defending Medicare? In all likelihood the chamber would dramatically gut or dismantle Medicare if it were not so popular. Hypocrisy!
Health care reform helps many small businesses which the chamber purports to represent at the local level. But, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with its international business mindset, isn't really looking out for the little guys any more. Maybe it is time for those folks to wonder why they pay dues to a trade association that is increasingly removed from Main Street realities.
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