The Associated Press says the Tea Party’s growing power and influence has unmoored Republican politicians from their traditional alliance with Wall Street in favor of grassroots conservative activists.
AP reporters Charles Babington and Jim Kuhnhenn cited the “corporate community’s waning clout” and “the remarkable drop in the business community’s influence among House Republicans, who increasingly respond more to Tea Party conservatives than to the Chamber of Commerce.”
The shift comes as grassroots activists have re-framed the GOP’s old “pro-business” stance into a “pro-free markets” positioning that eschews the kinds of corporate welfare and taxpayer-funded crony capitalism found in big government giveaways to industries that make hefty political contributions.
President Obama and Democrats have seized on the shift and have increased their already strong courting of corporate executives. On Wednesday, Obama held White House meetings with 14 top CEOs from some of America’s biggest financial firms. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein then stood on the White House driveway and scolded those who would “use threats of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligations to repay its debt as a cudgel.”
Former Mitt Romney adviser Kevin Madden told the AP the Tea Party’s rise has shaken up the GOP establishment.
“Now it’s more of a bottom-up model, where you see these grassroots organizations and grassroots voters are now more empowered and they feel they have a stronger voice,” said Madden.