Who Fights For the Moderates: Big Business?

Several weeks ago, in an article entitled “Who Fights For the Moderates“, I vented that because there exists no interest group fighting for moderation and compromise, Congress could only be expected to polarize further. So I was more than surprised to read in the Wall Street Journal shortly after the budget and debt ceiling deal that a growing segment of the business community now intend to support moderate Republican candidates.

Many business executives say they were dismayed that some Republicans didn’t heed their warnings that closing the government and risking default would hurt the U.S. economy. Others expressed disgust with Washington politics in general. All said the crisis could have been averted with a more pragmatic approach….

The episode has prompted top business lobby groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to consider taking sides in Republican primaries next year in hopes of replacing tea-party conservatives with more business-friendly pragmatists.

Mark Thierer, chairman and CEO of Catamaran Corp., a major pharmacy-benefit manager, said business’s relationship with the GOP “is going to need a retooling,” adding that he would continue to make modest contributions to centrists. “I am not going to give up on the Republican Party—I am going to encourage moderation,” he said.

Indeed government can become too big, too ambitious, and too intrusive. And to the extent that these evils must be combated, a viable conservative party is a healthy part of any democracy. But no party—moderate, liberal, or conservative—should be tolerated that on principle will not compromise. Compromise is one of the surest signs of healthy democracy, and an essential ingredient of the 21st century capitalist world.

Perhaps Senator Ted Cruz’s greatest contribution will be to convince business leaders that conservatism without compromise is bad for business.


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