Tea Party Alienated Big Business With Obamacare Fail, CEO Says

The Tea Party‘s pro-big business stance once made the GOP splinter group the darlings of some of the moneyed big names in big business, but a failed Obamacare gambit invoking a shutdown of the US government has officially ended that honeymoon period, one CEO says.

According to AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson, corporations dislike Obamacare — but it’s preferable to a weak economy and anemic recovery, one which hasn’t been helped by Tea Party shenanigans.

Jackson appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and described a business climate with a growing distaste for tea, saying the spectacle in Washington this month only served to make the Tea Party look amateurish and less than clever with a doomed to fail political move.

He explained:

“It would be like if you’re playing a game of poker and you know you have a losing hand and you push all the chips on the table, that’s just stupid or crazy-neither of which are very good.”

The CEO said this month’s shutdown didn’t just make the Tea Party look foolish — it also hurt mainstream Republicans, who often can’t easily avoid caucusing with the more extreme group:

“It was not the finest moment for the Republican Party… Business is genuinely reflecting on whether they’re enablers of this dysfunction and whether we really have to be more supportive of the center of the spectrum whether it’s Democratic and Republican.”

Jackson suggested the shutdown was essentially a wake-up call for the intersection of business and politics, and Yahoo quotes the AutoNation chair as musing:

“Definitely the pause button was hit out there in America. But we fully expect to get that [shutdown slowdown] behind us.”

His comments are not intended to be an endorsement of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and he states that the government “probably should have postponed the entire thing for a year, because they’re simply not ready.” From a business perspective, he notes that many feel the “complexity and the requirements to meet the standards are absolutely mind-boggling.”

However, even the big business head admits that despite the hassles, Obamacare’s implementation is very likely doable. He says:

“We’re doing everything possible to prepare for [Obamacare]. If the systems are there, it’s probably manageable. Without the systems, it’s going to be a just a huge mess for corporate America.”

It’s not clear to which systems precisely Jackson refers, but individual Obamacare exchange buyers have reported widespread difficulty in reaching the state and federal sites due to heavy demand for the cut-rate plans starting in January of 2014.

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