The Republican Party, judging by the latest presidential debate, is now the party positioned against crony capitalism and corporate profiteering through government.
So far, this shift is mostly rhetorical, but even that puts many of them on the record. It still represents progress for a party that has historically been more pro-big business than pro-free enterprise.
Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and other GOP hopefuls all decried corporate welfare in the latest debate. The candidates also made a crucial case against over-regulation, an argument most Republicans ignored in past years: regulation and government complexity fall heaviest on Mom & Pop businesses, thus protecting the big guys from competition.
In 2009, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele attacked Democrats crafting Obamacare as insufficiently deferential to industry. That critique was politically brain-dead and factually wrong. Fiorina on Tuesday night launched a more powerful salvo, calling Obamacare "crony capitalism at its worst." She asked, "Who helped write this bill? Drug companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, every single one of those kinds of companies are bulking up to deal with big government."