Large NJ Chamber President Slams Right Wing Congress, Goes Keynesian

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The Gateway Chamber of Commerce is the second largest chamber in the state, and is — rightly — dedicated to supporting business.  Their president, Jim Coyle, ran the Board of Public Utilities for Governor Christie Whitman, was a GOP communications consultant and even managed a congressional campaign in the 90s.

The national Chamber, and many local chambers, are often seen as adjuncts of the Republican Party at worst or opponents of the Democratic Party at best.

So it’s a surprise to see this from former GOP operative, Chamber of Commerce President and all-around pretty conservative guy Jim Coyle:

So why has [Congress] suddenly gone from almost dysfunctional to completely dysfunctional in the last three years? The most common reason given is the rise of the radical right in the House of Representatives. These guys are so ideological that they will not compromise, even with their own leadership. You have to feel sorry for John Boehner and his attempts to get his own party on the same page.

Wow.  Ideological, won’t compromise, Boehner is toothless.  Wow.

But that’s not the surprise.

The negotiation process is about getting things you want. It is not about being the only one at the table getting anything. Your partner across the table also needs to get things. There is a misconception that compromise is finding a middle ground. Compromise is about getting enough stuff that you are okay with the other guy getting some of the stuff he wants, as well.

In other words, to make things work in negotiations, you have to be able to do a lot of horse trading.

Wait, horse trading? Getting stuff in return for giving up a vote on something you don’t like?  What could that mean Coyle supports?

Goodies, better known as earmarks …

Earmarks are good, he says! Horse trading in Congress is good!

And why would a Chamber of Commerce President, GOP administration executive and former campaign hack support the evil earmarks?  Because when Congress is sending money back to the states for infrastructure, investment and jobs it’s good for local business.

Contrary to what the GOP generally says, earmarks and federal spending are good for local business.  And local business is what Coyle is all about.  You won’t see the words John Maynard Keynes or Keynesian in any column from him, but that’s what he’s talking about.

Which is why the Democrats should be pounding these themes, attacking the GOP for failing local business by blocking any federal spending on things that would help their districts.  There are tons of Republican House members (including at least two and maybe three here in NJ) who win by five points or so who could be hurt by not bringing back the federal dollars.

Voting against transportation bills, supporting sequestration, opposing stimulus, demanding the end to the payroll tax holiday, etc., etc., etc.  The GOP should be vulnerable to attack, and the attack should start now.

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