For a change, Chamber of Commerce counts free-market leaders as 'pro-business' 

In 2008, only four Republicans failed to win the "Spirit of Enterprise" award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobby. If you believe the standard narrative about the Right being in bed with business, you might guess the four "anti-enterprise" GOP senators were liberals like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Ted Stevens. But no, the Chamber's enemies were Jim DeMint, Jim Inhofe, Jon Kyl, and Jeff Sessions.

Guess who got the two lowest Chamber scores of all House Republicans for 2008? Reps. Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, who also got the two highest scores from the National Taxpayers Union.

DeMint came in behind Sen. Barack Obama on the Chamber's scorecard that year, and Paul came in behind Barney Frank.

In 2009, the Chamber was more conservative, but still, Ron Paul got the lowest score of any House Republican.

For 2010, judging by the new scorecard released today, the Chamber took another step to the Right. Paul, DeMint, Flake, and Sen. Tom Coburn all scored above 80% and received the "Spirit of Enterprise" award.

In the House, there was only one 2010 vote where the Chamber gave out demerits for the conservative vote (on the subsidy-laden America COMPETES Act). In the Senate, folks like Coburn and DeMint were dinged for voting against the tax-extender bill.

It looks like Obama's agenda might be pushing the business lobby away from Washington's teat. Maybe.

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Timothy P. Carney

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