While speaking today to an audience at Chamber of Commerce — the Republican-dominated business lobby that has donated hundreds and millions of dollars to defeat Democratic initiatives like higher taxes on the wealthy and cap-and-trade — Mitt Romney poured his heart out to “job creators”. “Make no mistake, when I am President, you won’t wake up every day and wonder if the President is on your side,” he said. He later added, “I love you!”
The Chamber claims that it represents small business (it hosted today’s conference), but its main clients are the giant, Fortune 500 companies that have demonstrated little modesty fighting every piece of regulation tooth-and-nail even after the financial crisis. The New York Times has previously explained that, because the Chamber also functions as an “educational” group, it’s extremely difficult to find out whose giving them millions and millions of dollars:
The chamber’s increasingly aggressive role — including record spending in the midterm elections that supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time — has made it a target of critics, including a few local chamber affiliates who fear it has become too partisan and hard-nosed in its fund-raising.
The chamber is spending big in political races from California to New Hampshire, including nearly $1.5 million on television advertisements in New Hampshire attacking Representative Paul W. Hodes, a Democrat running for the United States Senate, accusing him of riding Nancy Pelosi’s “liberal express” down the road to financial ruin.
“When you become a mouthpiece for a specific agenda item for one business or group of businesses, you better be damn careful you are not being manipulated,” said James C. Tyree, a former chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, who has backed Republicans and Democrats, including Mr. Obama. “And they are getting close to that, if not over that edge.”
Romney also used the opportunity to defend his record at Bain, the corporate buyout firm where he worked. “I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for 25 years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created — that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand,” he said.
The Obama campaign would point out that Romney’s private-sector expertise isn’t in job creation — it’s in job destruction.