Dec 7, 2013
Tea Party Robber Barons
Posted on Oct 24, 2010
We are witnessing, we are told, a groundswell of anger from a spontaneous, grass-roots movement against the president, Congress, Democrats, socialists (are commies extinct?), the debt, higher taxes, the “takeover” of the health system, and on and on. But the tea party appears to be as bothered by the policies of Franklin Roosevelt as those of Barack Obama.
Disenchantment on the left, meanwhile, is muted and hardly reported. Liberals have been disappointed by President Obama’s initial appointments, his compromised health measure, financial system regulation that offered no remedies to prevent a recurrence of our financial distress, retention of Bush-era policies on detainees and failure to shut down Guantanamo.
The media repeatedly invoke grass roots and other code words to describe the tea party. Tell a lie often enough and it is believed. Our media wizards must realize that with the revelations of high-powered funding and the involvement of Republican operatives, the characterization of the tea party as a spontaneous, ground-up movement does not fit; nagging facts nevertheless must bow to pursuing the “colorful.”
Why take note of a bald candidate—the elected leader of Delaware’s most populous county, one of only 30 counties in the nation with a AAA bond rating—when he is opposed by an attractive woman who bragged that she did not go to Yale, who has gained media stardom with off-the-wall notions on masturbation, gay adoptions and the teaching of evolution, and who was forced by her own past remarks to deny that she was ever a witch? Making the inevitable cheap shot, Christine O’Donnell has criticized the Supreme Court for all of society’s ills since 1954, but when challenged she could not cite a case that fit her objections. She is the poster child for our talk-radio (and TV) culture.
Political strategists with big-money allies have conducted a campaign on the incredible plank of anger, and they have recruited candidates to reflect that anger. The anger is choreographed, directed from above and largely aimed at Obama.
The political operatives and financial angels of this angry movement have capitalized on that most fragile and forgettable of human traits: memory. Memories and backbones fail us in harsh times. The political strategists and their financiers who conjured up the tea party are clever. But will electoral success bring us smaller government, freedom from foreign-held debt or new jobs for Americans?
David and Charles Koch are the most prominent bankrollers of the tea party. They fit the mold of late 19th century “robber barons” and reject government oversight, corporate taxes and social welfare programs—except welfare that benefits private enterprise. They want no government regulation of the pollution caused by their oil refineries. Simple political bribes served their predecessors, whereas the Kochs and others provide bountiful campaign contributions—our legalized bribery—under the constitutional cover of free speech.
The Koch brothers have created the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has funded tea party rallies. The Kochs’ own agenda neatly fits that of its recruits.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported a poll of tea party respondents almost unanimously favoring smaller government and lower taxes. Six in 10 advocate government based on Christian principles. More than any other voters, they want to repeal legislation enacted by the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress. They are perfectly matched with the Republican Party, its operatives and the likes of the Kochs.
Many of the candidates in the current midterm elections faithfully mirror the ideas and programs (or is it anti-programs?) of this movement. These fierce and angry candidates offer a perfect made-for-media package. They posture with outlandish positions, and the media dutifully channel their notions as if they deserve serious consideration.
Nevada’s Republican senatorial candidate, Sharron Angle, who at one time prided herself for being so very far out there, now refuses to speak to the media, knowing full well that she nevertheless has their full attention.
But by far the most egregious candidate of all is West Virginia’s Republican senatorial candidate. The state’s populace is poor by most national standards. Why then a strong movement for a candidate who openly advocates views contrary to the needs of such people?
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