By Tory Newmyer, writer
FORTUNE -- Last week I offered a new piece of information suggesting why business leaders and the Tea Party are having so much trouble getting along: They're coming from different places, literally. Only one Fortune 100 company is headquartered in a Congressional district represented by a Tea Party-affiliated Republican ("Why Big Business and House Republicans don't mix").
As noted, that data point alone is hardly conclusive. Close proximity shouldn't guarantee anything about a similarity of experience, much less outlook. It also couldn't hurt. Not to get all Charles Murray, but if more of the corporate chiefs posing as economic statesmen during the latest debt ceiling scare could have called on intransigent House Republicans as constituents, they would have stood a better chance of making their arguments connect.
The CEOs were already facing an uphill fight. Populist Republicans in Congress believe they draw strength from fighting for small businessmen and women as though they exist in an entirely separate economy. To the extent that means they think Main Street would be insulated from the effects of a federal default, the notion is dangerously wrong.
Yet in a very different sense, their constituents do live in an alternate reality. The Washington Post on Tuesday examined economic conditions in Tea Party strongholds and found in the districts of the 45 stoutest House Republican hardliners, the recovery is sputtering badly.
"On average, the economy in the districts those Republicans represent is significantly worse than it is in the nation at large," with median income last year 7 points below the national standard and unemployment nearly two points higher than nationwide.
A pair of charts (here and here) help tell the tale. Some will continue to insist the estrangement between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment is a fiction -- that the unholy axis of Koch money and an army of Congressional deregulators it purchased continues to serve as the organizing force behind the GOP. By this line, any talk of big business groups in Washington actually investing in more moderate challengers to Republican incumbents is just idle chatter. By the time the 2014 midterm elections heat up, corporate front groups will be plowing millions back into the reelection campaigns of the most stalwart debt ceiling deniers because the imperative of maintaining a Republican check on the Obama administration will trump the need to address the party's directional problems. The early indication suggests that's wrong. And while corporate execs and Republican ideologues may continue to share a stylistic penchant for self-defeating short-termism, the latest crisis appears to have been truly galvanizing for corporate interests when it comes to their policy priorities in Washington.
Meanwhile the dislocation that spawned the surge of conservative populism is only getting worse. Pain in these Tea Party districts may be particularly acute, but as we know broadly, corporate profits as a share of total economic activity are at record highs while wages are at record lows. No wonder then that economic elites are having trouble making themselves understood to the dispossessed -- and a self-appointed if misguided band of their political leadership -- as the chasm between them yawns.
Octogenarian CEOs are so last decade. Meet the new senior senior executives.
By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- David Murdock's push to take Dole Food private was all about long-term strategy. The CEO is buying out his company for $1.2 billion in order to implement a turnaround away from the pressures of the public market.
That's a big chunk of cash -- to say nothing of an open-ended project -- for anyone, MOREAug 16, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Improved interactive tool lets readers pick their dream executive team.
FORTUNE – Corporate management has never been more of a team endeavor. Talk to almost any large-company CEO about technology, for example, and he or she will tell you that a company's chief information officer needs to worry less about deploying PCs and smartphones, and spend more time working with the top marketing officer, sales executives, division heads, and others to MOREStephanie N. Mehta, Deputy Managing Editor - Jul 22, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Can the company best known for single-serve coffee pods become a leading purveyor of other beverages?
By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- Brian Kelley left a great gig at Coca-Cola Co. -- he had just been tapped as the next president and chief operating office of refreshments -- to run Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a relatively tiny java maker based in Waterbury, Vt.
Green Mountain (GMCR) is about one-twelfth the size of Coca-Cola MOREJul 11, 2013 1:00 PM ET
Ben van Beurden is a Shell lifer who will likely inspire the technology divisions as the oil giant's new CEO.
By David Whitford, editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- The only thing that shouldn't surprise us about the choice of Ben van Beurden as the new CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, announced Tuesday, is that his choice comes as a total surprise.
"It matters slightly less who is the CEO of Shell than the CEO MOREJul 9, 2013 2:34 PM ET
Christine Day's announcement that she's leaving Lululemon has left many scratching their heads.Colleen Leahey, Reporter - Jun 14, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Companies like J.C. Penney and P&G are looking to former top executives for their rescue. Will it work?
By Elizabeth G. Olson
FORTUNE -- For all the talk of new executive blood, some big, but flailing, companies like J.C. Penney (JCP) and Procter & Gamble (PG) are looking to former top executives for their rescue. Turning to the tried-and-true can seem like a failure of vision or lack of a talent MOREJun 5, 2013 11:52 AM ET
In a sudden shakeup, Bob McDonald is out as CEO, and former CEO AG Lafley is in. Bill Ackman says he's pleased.
By Jennifer Reingold
FORTUNE -- "I'm going to prove you wrong." That's what Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald said to me on April 29th, when we crossed paths at Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel. It was an awkward moment: Just over two months earlier, I had MOREMay 24, 2013 7:17 AM ET
Johnson's strategy must first be grounded in the simple fact that J.C. Penney customers are not the same as Apple's.Mar 5, 2013 10:59 AM ET
A court decision granting former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski a new parole hearing is a good sign that the inmate is nearing the end of his term earlier than his 8 to 25-year sentence.
By David A. Kaplan
FORTUNE -- Don't expect Dennis Kozlowski to be back running some big company or living the high life that got him into trouble in the first place. But the former Tyco (TYC) CEO MOREFeb 8, 2013 9:20 AM ET
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