Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chambers of Commerce: A Day Late and A Dollar Short

Dear Ms Strassel,
You got it mostly correct with your last Potomac Watch column: Business Finally Fights Back. I have been taking Maryland's state and local chambers to task over the years for their various short-sighted, next-sale, agenda. However, I think you give the U.S. Chamber too much credit and free PR in your piece.

You column, however, highlights the lack of vision that is making the USCOC's recent efforts on behalf of the Republican ticket a colossal waste of money. I submit that that money could be better spent providing Bill Miller's "political shop" with a few history books, recent history. Or even a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. They could spend hours reading up on how little it got them by brown-nosing and palm-greasing the Democrats. And your description of the COC's leadership as "feisty" is snort-worthy to say the least.

According to your article, even this year's election and the liberal agenda that awaits the next president is not enough to stop the COC from supporting Democrats. Instead the USCOC is , "... going to bat for Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Virginia's Mark Warner -- both of whom it believes will work with business." What are the odds that they'll both buy tickets to Henry Waxman's "witch hunt" lottery?

The funny thing about the "non-partisan" chambers of commerce is that they are the only ones who believe that they are non-partisan. No matter how many times they say they are and no matter how many Democrats they support, the Democrats will always use them as a punching bag and they will be lumped in with Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, racism and the Republican Party.

The COCs of America would do well to jettison the pretense. If they really want to make a difference in American society they need to realize that a sick society is bad for business. They need leadership with the spine to say to their members "We are not going to support liberal Democrats and their liberal constituencies because they will weaken American society and sovereignty and weaken our allies and trading partners and eventually weaken our membership."

THAT would be feisty.

Mike Netherland

Severna Park, MD

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