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Wednesday, Oct 10, 2007, 10:58 pm

The Business Vote? Really?

By Adam Doster

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Election season is almost upon us, so let's roll out the articles explaining why the Democrats should try and peel of just enough Independents or Republicans to eke out a victory. First on the list is Paul Waldman over at TAP Online making a case for the Big Business vote.

"And today, with health care emerging as the key domestic issue of the moment, it's time for Democrats to make a new argument to those businesses that want to act responsibly and simultaneously enhance their prospects for profits over the long term. If Democrats can successfully advance that argument, they can break through the presumption that the GOP is the "pro-business" party."

Our friend Chris pointed toward some non-intuitive business decisions earlier this summer, writing about the desire of the capital class to speed up environmental regulation and health care reform as a cost saving mechanism. And I'm all for building strong coalitions to tackle those problems when they can be constructed. If Lee Scott wants to take a break from sipping champagne in Arkansas and chip in with some energy saver bulbs, more power to him.

But Waldman is making a different, and far less convincing, case. He says the economy does better when the Donkeys are in control, whether "it's inflation, unemployment, GDP growth, personal income growth, federal deficits and debt, and stock market returns." That's probably true. Yet he doesn't mention those tiny little things called taxes. You know, the cash businesses and high wealth individuals don't have to fork over when the GOP is in power. The real reason they keep sending cash to AEI and Romney. Plus, the "responsible" business leaders he desires already support the Dems. There's not much of a constituency to pick off.

In the end, populist policies are going to woo many more converts (and first-time voters) than pro-business language, no matter how rosy it appears. And after yesterday, corporate America and the Dems seem to be pretty cozy as is.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.

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