The Darin LaHood Campaign Asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Lie About Mike Flynn Is Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Establishment

Among private sector Americans, the rift between GOP leadership and the conservative wing of the party remains a vigorous debate to be won in the spirit of free association. Yet, as we've covered here time and again, the behind-closed-doors split between GOP leadership and conservatives is not about ideology, but process.

GOP leadership runs on the same iron-deficient, integrity-challenged structure that defines the Democratic Party: any tactic that advances their power is considered moral. They employed such a tactic yesterday, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- transparently in tandem with the campaign of their chosen GOP establishment candidate, as described below -- chose to offer a quote to a local Illinois newspaper containing an outrageous lie about the conservative challenger.

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Darin LaHood and Mike Flynn held their first debate last week on Wednesday for their primary campaign to replace disgraced Renaissance Faire honoree Aaron Schock. The election takes place in eight days, on July 7.

LaHood, son of former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is the candidate favored by national GOP leadership.

Despite shaping his campaign around defending his conservative credentials, on May 18 LaHood flew to Washington, D.C., where John Boehner and Steve Scalise threw a $1000-plus per head fundraiser for LaHood's campaign.

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(Left: invitation to Darin LaHood's D.C. fundraiser. Right: Aaron Schock, Spring Break 2005)

At Thursday's debate, moderator Ian Bayne brought up the Trade Promotion Authority bill and the TransPacific Partnership bill (together known as "Obamatrade"), an Obama administration-crafted push which had cleared a key hurdle last week in Congress due primarily to the support of GOP leadership in both the House and Senate. The bill has received tyrannical support from John Boehner, to the hair-raising extent that Boehner followed through on threats to remove House Republicans from their committee assignments if they dared oppose it.

The bill has also been rabidly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Said the Chamber in a press release:

TPA is the Chamber's top trade priority before the Congress.

If unfamiliar, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the beating-heart target of conservative anger at GOP leadership's fostering of "crony capitalism." The Chamber is the muscle behind GOP leadership's push for amnesty, which, for the Chamber's purposes, would increase the supply of cheap labor, thus benefitting many of the largest GOP leadership corporate donors at the expense of the U.S. citizen worker.

At the debate, when moderator Ian Bayne raised the issue of this bill dubbed "Obamatrade," LaHood answered that he would not have supported the billLaHood's response was questionable for two reasons:

1) Considering John Boehner took the extraordinary step of punitive action against GOP dissenters on this bill, its hard to imagine Darin LaHood would get his own Scalise-headlined, Boehner-attended fundraiser if they knew LaHood would be coming to town in a few months with the intention of sinking it. It's just as hard to imagine that Boehner wouldn't have asked LaHood about his position prior to the fundraiser.

2) Just one day before the debate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce flew a top-level figure to Illinois. There in Peoria, the Chamber held an event to announce they are endorsing Darin LaHood for Congress.

To defuse any claim that LaHood did not welcome the endorsement -- LaHood attended and spoke:

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Said LaHood:

Obviously they know my record, they know what I've advocated for. To have them here today, to come from Washington, D.C. to represent this organization and all across the country means a great deal, and I'm proud to have it today. I think it reflects the record I've had in the State Senate, and the issues I've advocated for here locally.

Remember: the Chamber says that Obamatrade is its "top trade priority before the Congress."

So when Darin LaHood said at the debate that he would not have supported Obamatrade, Flynn responded with a zinger:

I hope you told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that when you accepted their endorsement yesterday.

This was, objectively, Lahood's worst moment of the debate, a debate which was punctuated by several bursts of applause and cheer for Flynn, yet none for LaHood. This moment was even worse than the debate's exchange on term limits, which had resulted in LaHood's botched answer that led to a botched answer that led to a successful aggravated assault. (Pending the result of the Bloomington, IL police investigation, of course. The department is currently reviewing the hotel's security footage.)

This was worse because term limits are not a vigorously upheld tenet of conservatism when compared to opposition to crony capitalism, "pay for play," and amnestied labor. All of these issues, which are both promotedand facilitated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, far outweigh the relative outlier issue of term limits in the mind of conservative voters and private sector Republicans in general.

And the LaHood campaign's response proves they are deeply troubled about fallout from Mike Flynn's answer that threw doubt on the veracity of LaHood's stated opposition to Obamatrade.

In the aftermath, they chose to publicly challenge the Obamatrade exchange from the debate, and they have challenged nothing else that transpired that night.

How they challenged the exchange -- as stated in the headline -- is the type of textbook beltway insider, House of Cards, Primary Colors, Clintonian tactic which the GOP leadership now doesn't bat an eye about employing.