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There’s no stopping the GOP’s divorce from big business

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There's no stopping the GOP's divorce from big business

American conservatism was for too long under the spell of what might be called “market fundamentalism”: It mindlessly treated all private-sector action as good and all government action as bad. At worst, this fundamentalism gave rise to corporate boosterism and outright cronyism that repelled voters from the GOP.

But today’s political realignment seems to be breaking the spell — and not a moment too soon.

These days, a rising cohort of writers and intellectuals associated with the New Right seeks to recover the “Two-Cheers-for-Capitalism” ethos of Irving Kristol: that is, to allow for a greater government role in channeling market efficiency toward the traditional conservative political ends of justice, human flourishing and the common good. 

This shift isn’t just a matter of academic theory, but is manifesting itself in the halls of US power. Witness the aftermath of corporate America’s boycott assault against Georgia over the state’s passage of a milquetoast election-reform law, which caused the simmering tension between GOP populists and the party’s Chamber of Commerce wing to boil over.

Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who has previously made realignment inroads with his advocacy of “common-good capitalism” and vocal support for unionization in Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., plant — took to these pages to decry how “corporate America ­eagerly dumps woke, toxic nonsense into our culture.” 

Even more notably, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a political disciple of Reaganite conservatism, took to The Wall Street Journal to pronounce that “starting today,” he will “no longer accept money from any corporate” political action committee.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), meanwhile, is only ramping up his pushback against Big Tech oligarchs, most recently by unveiling his Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act. On the House side, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) is leading a campaign to foreswear all political donations from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Those who came of political age in the days when the Republican Party championed the cause of big business might be taken aback by the ferocity of this anti-corporate response. Yet in truth, GOP resistance to big business has been a long time coming. The Tea Party had a decisively populist, anti-corporate hue, with its opposition to bailing out Wall Street banks and hostility toward Beltway-style corporate cronyism, such as the Export-Import Bank, which effectively amounts to a taxpayer-funded Boeing slush fund.

But the recent accelerant has been the emergence of woke capital as a destructive force tearing a grievously divided country ever-more asunder. As the cultural left nears completion of its Antonio Gramsci-style “long march through the institutions,” big business has joined the ranks of the academy, Hollywood and the mainstream media as a sprawling national edifice beholden to the ­illiberal woke ideology. 

Whereas nine years ago, Wall Street donated to native son Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign at a higher clip than it did to then-incumbent President Barack Obama, today corporate wokesters threaten boycotts of entire states over GOP-backed legislation on wedge issues such as abortion and transgenderism — all while prostrating themselves before the (literally) genocidal commissars of the Chinese Communist Party.

Republicans are right to stand up and solemnly declare that enough is enough, already. 

There is no compelling reason to suffer through the humiliating bromance with woke capitalists, “battered woman syndrome”-style, while corporate America makes ­itself clearer than ever before that it hates Republican voters’ guts. Whether it is on human sexuality, the right to life for unborn children, gun rights, immigration sanity or a host of other issues, woke capital treats the Republican Party as more of an enemy than it would ever dream of treating sadistic ­detention facility managers in Xinjiang, China.

Republicans should stop trying to prevent the unpreventable and permit its amicable divorce from corporate America to continue apace. Indeed, that divorce is a “blessing,” as The Post’s op-ed editor, Sohrab Ahmari, argued in January. The GOP’s brightest future lies in  the multiracial working-class political coalition — not in the C-suite.

Josh Hammer is Newsweek opinion editor.

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Opinion

Expert rates the winners and losers of first televised NYC mayoral debate

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Expert rates the winners and losers of first televised NYC mayoral debate

Last night’s mayoral debate was, if nothing else, a good forum for some of​ ​the candidates who many voters haven’t had much chance to get to know.

That​ ​meant it was particularly good for Kathryn Garcia and Ray McGuire who were​ ​able to get across the who, what, where and how of where exactly they stand.

Maya Wiley, wasn’t at her finest. As a TV veteran, she should have known​ ​better and instead broke all the rules by acting as though the rules didn’t apply to her. She ran over her time, wouldn’t stop talking when the moderator asked her to, and interrupted other speakers and overall showed a breathtaking lack of respect for the process.

Scott S​​tringer? He was classic Scott Stringer, the guy who always seems to​ ​need a carton of Red Bull and who, aside from a couple of good lines, was as​ ​unemotional as your tax attorney. That’s great for the city’s fiscal watchdog, but I​ ​just don’t think this comes across well when the public is looking for a strong​ ​presence.

And there was Andrew Yang once again trying the election trick that​ ​knocked him out of the presidential race: The offer of a thousand bucks to​ ​everyone who believes that Andrew Yang will give them a thousand bucks. 

Again.​ ​Been there, done that. 

He was particularly weak in answering to the fact that he’s never even voted for a mayoral candidate or a citywide referendum.

Eric Adams owned, as expected, the public safety issue. His lack of energy​ ​however was somewhat surprising for the candidate who knows the streets, the​ ​racial situation and the problems with the police so well.​ ​

The couple of exchanges he with Wiley and Dianne Morales were too polite,​ ​too softball, when he should have given as good as he got.​ ​

And speaking of Morales, she definitely has some important ideas on racial​ ​inequality and homelessness, but I’m not convinced that she came close to​ ​explaining how we’re supposed to pay for it with a city heading to an estimated​ ​$3 billion budget deficit in 2022-23.

Shaun Donovan, who seemed to start every sentence with “When I was in​ ​the Obama administration…” or “When I was City Housing Commissioner,” was​ ​unnecessarily repetitive. OK, we got the idea, but repetition doesn’t make for an​ ​interesting or even informative debate tactic.​ 

​Bottom line? As in most first debates, nothing much will have changed. No​ ​moments that blew anyone away. Probably the undecided needles won’t move too much.

Next time? Fire the media trainers and be yourselves, because what we saw sure won’t be what we get.

Sid Davidoff is Founding Partner of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, a New York-based law and public affairs firm, and former aide to New York Mayor John Lindsay.

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Saturday’s Times Square shooting may mark a crossroads for NYC

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Saturday’s Times Square shooting may mark a crossroads for NYC

Last year in New York City, murders rose 45 percent and shootings 97 percent, numbers that have continued to rise in 2021. But New Yorkers don’t need statistics to understand that the city’s descent into chaos is accelerating. Saturday’s brazen shooting in Times Square — in which three innocent bystanders were shot, including a 4-year-old girl — may well mark a crossroads.

During New York’s bad old days, the Crossroads of the World and its pornographic theaters attracted “an unsavory and increasingly criminal crowd,” as William J. Stern, former head of the Urban Development Corporation, observed. “By the eighties, things got worse still, with an amazing 2,300 crimes on the block in 1984 alone, 20 percent of them serious felonies such as murder or rape,” he noted. Times Square’s situation suggested a city spinning out of control.

The condition of Times Square today similarly reveals the city’s social, moral and civic health. The president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, understands this. In 2016, he explained that “the area then — and has always been — representative of what was working or not working in New York City as a whole. . . . Throughout New York City, crime was a huge issue that was making people stay away, and . . . that overshadowed everything else.” Thus, he reasoned, “Times Square was this symbol of whether the government had either the will or the capacity to make a city safe.”

Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s commitment to tame Times Square helped Gotham restore civic normalcy. Giuliani brought Disney in to take over and renovate the New Amsterdam Theatre, which “led to the resurrection of 42nd Street and Times Square,” in the words of The New York Times.

Giuliani also targeted smut shops for legal assault in court and had his NYPD proactively arrest quality-of-life offenders: drug dealers, junkies, pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, thieves and con artists. What followed was the revitalization of Times Square — and New York’s rebirth as the safest big city in America.

New York’s reversal of fortune is no accident. Mayor Bill de Blasio cites the pandemic and closed schools as excuses for the rise in violent crime. He conveniently overlooks four culprits: catch-and-release bail reform; the abandoning of broken-windows policing; the elimination of plainclothes anti-crime units that spent their nights hunting illegal gun carriers; and the movement to “defund” the police.

Proactive police officers have no incentive to respond to non-emergency crimes when the mayor has told them to stand down, when they know perps will be swiftly released and when they worry their faces could be the next ones plastered on screens across the country if an arrest goes wrong.

Which brings us back to Saturday’s shooting. We should be grateful for the heroic police officers who responded, including Alyssa Vogel, who ran nonstop with the 4-year-old victim to the ambulance. The alleged shooter was identified as Farrakhan Muhammad, a 31-year-old CD-pushing pest with a long arrest record who intended to shoot his brother.

When New York City had a quality-of-life policing regime, CD peddlers who crossed the line from protected First Amendment activity to misdemeanor “aggravated harassment” were routinely arrested and removed from Times Square and possibly locked away. But we live in a different city now.

In 1975, the Council for Public Safety issued an infamous pamphlet titled: “Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York.” It advised tourists, among other things, to stay off the streets after 6 p.m., protect their property and safeguard their handbags and “never ride the subway for any reason whatsoever.”

The city is still better off than in 1975 — but that’s far from the standard to which a great city should aspire. De Blasio has assured New Yorkers that “we’re not going back to the bad old days when there was so much violence in this city.” Three innocents shot in Times Square over the weekend might have a different view.

Craig Trainor is a criminal-defense and civil-rights attorney in New York. Adapted from City Journal.

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Opinion

President Biden’s charter-school dis

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President Biden’s charter-school dis

In a fresh sign of teacher-union sway over President Joe Biden, this is the first Charter School Week in 30 years not to be marked by a presidential proclamation.

That’s right: Every president going back to Bill Clinton saw fit to recognize these alternative public schools and the work they do in uplifting poor and minority students across the nation. And Biden’s old boss, President Barack Obama, was instrumental in supporting the growth of charters, even shooting down bogus teacher-union attacks.

Charters are laboratories of innovation that operate largely without union interference; their successes regularly show up the failure of union-dominated schools, especially in high-poverty minority neighborhoods. That’s why teachers’ unions despise them. But what’s Biden’s excuse?

Well, American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten and National Education Association head Becky Pringle were among the Biden administration’s first and most frequent White House guests. And pressure from the top is the only explanation for how Weingarten was able to literally dictate language to the Centers for Disease Control for its “scientific” guidance on school reopenings.

In short, this president stands with his teacher-union allies against the principles of Barack Obama, the best interests of children and even good public-health policy amid the pandemic.

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