I wrote yesterday about how the introduction of funds for Syrian rebels into the continuing resolution bollixed up the conservative fight against the Ex-Im Bank. The Club for Growth, which had warred against the bank, withdrew its "key vote." Conservatives were suddenly freer to back a CR that extended the Ex-Im charter into September 2015, several government shutdowns from now.
Suddenly, via Damian Paletta and Brody Mullins, we have a pro-Ex-Im super PAC founded by a businessman who specializes in "business-to-business services for importers and exporters," and is not named George Costanza.
Maybe "suddenly" is the wrong word to use here. Ex-Im has already been drumming up business for D.C. "strategists"—don't call them lobbyists!—who can work over members, op-ed pages, and social media in defense of free money for Boeing. Hamilton Place Strategies, for example, has been relentless in sending dignitaries onto TV and finding small businesses that can talk to the press about how great Ex-Im has been. The Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have been out there, too.* They said they would be in the summer, when I asked whether the club/Koch/Tea Party push against Ex-Im was going to work. "I don’t sense that there’s a massive grassroots opposition to Ex-Im," the chamber's senior director of international policy told me.
It depends what "grassroots" means. This hasn't been a front-burner issue, ever. It was a signifying issue that Republicans belatedly realized they could run on, to make Democrats look like tools for big business. The club was even scoring hits on Elizabeth Warren for supporting Ex-Im. "It's shameful that someone like Elizabeth Warren, who has spent her entire career demonizing Wall Street and big corporations, is siding with them on the Export-Import Bank," the club told Zach Carter last month.
The trolling will have to pause for a little while. If this CR passes, the pro-Ex-Im corporations have bested the anti-Ex-Im corporations and libertarians. And some consultants and ad-makers will be able to pay off mortgages as the fight drags into 2015.
*Correction, Sept. 18, 2014: This post originally misidentified the National Association of Manufacturers as the National Organization of Manufacturers.