When business and politics don’t mix

It didn’t take long before I got an email suggesting NOT to shop at the following businesses because of their support of the Tea Party.

It’s this kind of partisan BS that is killing our country. However I can tell you that my company has lost business because I choose to take a political stand. From the DDN article (and the e-mail)

The local merchant then gives 5 percent of the sale revenue to the local Tea party chapter to help fund rallies.

Participating businesses:

  • Anderson Mechanical Associates, LLC
  • B & K Heating, Inc.
  • Beef O’Brady’s Family Sports Pub
  • Cool Solutions Heating & Air Conditioning
  • D.A.R.E. Automotive Specialists,Inc.
  • Essex & Associates, Inc.
  • Essex HR & Associates
  • Evans BMW, Volvo, Volkswagen
  • Flash Quick Copy, Inc.
  • G.L. Dart General Contracting/A-1 Roofing
  • Gamber Family Dental
  • Graphic Impact
  • HouseMaster Home Inspections and Radon Testing
  • Marketing Consultants
  • McAfee Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
  • O’Learys Pub & Grub
  • Reiber Cleaners, Inc.
  • Rich Roofing
  • Right at Home-Dayton
  • Ryan B. Walker CPA Inc.
  • Safeguard Print & Promo
  • Screen Works, Inc.
  • Tea Party Payroll, LLC
  • The Accounting & Business Coach
  • The Bronze Salon Tanning

via List of businesses participating in Tea Party discounts.

As a marketing consultant I can tell you that almost all cause marketing can have unexpected consequences. Recently even Target, which has made a major effort to be “Gay friendly” got caught for a donation to an anti-gay marriage candidate in Minnesota.

The sad part of the email blast to me- is that all of these are small local business people. This is a drop in the bucket of our local political machine.

Never mind that the big companies, with their political action committees, do much more harm to the political system. NCR used to be a cash trough for a certain Congressman, and if you look at the “non-profit” hospital groups’ executive teams, you are looking at more political donation juice than all of these independent businesses will generate.

Boycotts are nice, but if we want real change, what we need is campaign finance reform- eliminate all political donations- and we might start to see the results we want.

And btw- the comments on the DDN seem to indicate that this isn’t such a hot idea either.

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Ice BanditDonald PhillipsDavid EsratiJohn IseBubba Jones Recent comment authors
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On the macro level, you’re right.  Big money politics is killing America slowly.
On the micro level, I’ll note a widespread sentiment.  Many people who might support the Tea Party are also thinking of avoiding those businesses.  I for one will choose a business based on my perception of quality and service, and when a business starts advancing a political agenda, it’s fair to wonder if they’re taking their eyes off their core mission.
This is not to say that individuals should avoid politics, but rather that no business should make politics a part of their operations–unless they are by nature political, such as campaign consultants, some polling firms, and of course the political parties.  The practice smells like vote-buying.
It also smells of prejudice.  What would be said if they offered a discount to Jews, or hispanics, or neo-Nazis, or card-carrying Communists?
Just set a fair price and leave your politics outside your workplace.  That goes not only for owners/managers, but also for employees–take off your campaign button while you’re on the job.  Bring back professionalism.

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

>>> It also smells of prejudice.  What would be said if they offered a discount to Jews, or hispanics, or neo-Nazis, or card-carrying Communists? <<< – truddick
That’s ridiculous!!  Are businesses that offer AAA or AARP discounts also prejudiced?  This is just another group that is currying favor amongst it’s members and/or advocates.  And, truddick, please don’t tell me it’s different because the Tea Party is a quasi-political organization.  AARP is a nothing but a political lobbying organization.

John Ise
John Ise

The Tea Party is not a party nor a movement, but rather a temper tantrum.

Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

The boycot has been an effective  political tactic in domestic politics going back to the colonial era. The modern labor movement was born during auto worker sit-downs (read: labor boycots) during the 1930s. Ceasar Chavez used  the boycott of California Central Valley fruit and produce to gain basic employment rights for farmworkers during the ’60s.  Martin Luther King…

The boycot is domocracy at its nonviolent (for the most part) best.

Ice Bandit
Ice Bandit

…but if we want real change, what we need is campaign finance reform- eliminate all political donations- and we might start to see the results we want. (David Esrati)
Just as if you give Stevie Wonder a machine gun and enuff’ ammo he will eventually shoot somebody, give David Esrati enough time and he’ll come up with a good and workable idea. And the Old Bandito’s is cross-eyed with delight knowing that day has arrived. Yeah, David, big money politics is wrong, but as you know, you can’t just institute a ban on corporate contributions, which the Supreme Court has ruled a violation of the constitution’s guarantee of free speech. So by logical extention, we know you wish to diminish corporate influence by diminishing government’s size, scope and power. Nobody will contribute money to a candidate for office whose total budget is $14.99. Gotta’ hand it to you David, every now and then, your ideas just reek of genius. Can we get you to speak at an upcoming tea party?……..

Ice Bandit
Ice Bandit

No bout adoubt it, the Tea Party phenomena has got the usual suspects in the media and Esrati.com doing the old drop and roll. At first, the media tried to portray these citizen activists as a rally of the American League of People who Married their First Cousins, but this attempt failed. Later, when demographic studies conducted by none other than the New York Times revealed these folks to be more mature, wealthier and better educated than typical Americans, they were caricatured as being racist. But  despite reaching down and deep into their trick bags to discredit the Tea Parties  (including attendance by Democrat party provocateurs carrying the racists signs David Esrati uses to demean the phenomena) attendance at and sympathy for the movement grows. It is a fact of American political life that nothing scares the entrenched and powerful more than a movement that is beyond the control and influence of their media or Hollywood toadies. And in a political culture that constantly bemoans the lack of fire and enthusiasm for political  activism, why would this particular groundswell be villified? Furthermore, why should business, knowing the life success at a typical Tea Party, want to ignore this highly desirable demographic? The Old Bandito’s only surprise about the number of sympathetic merchants is that the list is not longer with a couple of luxury car dealers thrown in. And such activism, when it is donating buckets of money to causes sympathetic to the left (think Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream) are lauded by the media. No dear David, the Tea Party isn’t going away until the reason for the Tea Party’s formation goes away, and that may as soon as an upcoming Tuesday in November…….


Hm.  Bandito, as a card-carrying member of AAA and AARP, I wonder about your knowledge level.
Yes, both organizations do political advocacy.  But note that neither group endorses candidates.  AAA only concerns itself with transportation and travel industry issues, AARP with the interests of its elderly members (gosh, this is the first time I’ve called myself elderly!).  As such, the organizations are no different from, say, the oil industry, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the charter school movement, or PFLAG.
I am able to tell the difference between advocacy and political fund-raising.  Are you?


As an alternative to eliminating donations to political campaigns–
And old social truth: if you want to encourage something, fund it.  If you want to discourage something, tax it.
And so I suggest that, rather than outlaw political donations or implement public support for candidates, instead we simply tax campaign donations.  This tax should be bracketed according to the total donations received by a campaign.
At the same time, we would remove all limits on contributions, and we would require that no one except a candidate’s official campaign could mention any candidate by name in any public communication.  That would prevent a campaign from trying to cut taxes by spinning off into multiple PACS (is anyone else getting tired of the Republican governors’ ideas about what’s wrong with Ohio?).
I’d envision the bracketing to start at zero percent for small campaigns–under $5000, say–and then going up to 90% for campaigns that exceed a million dollars.
That would mean that deep-pocket donors could still fuel a massive media campaign by making ever-bigger donations–but in the process of buying a politician, the deep-pocket people would also be balancing our governmental budgets and reducing the national deficit.  It would also mean that a huge advantage in donations would be reduced in impact, thus leveling the playing field.
Yes, I know, this is like my idea for eliminating gerrymandering (eliminate districts–elect all offices state-wide).  But submitted for  the sake of argument and entertainment…