How Did 2 Men Get So Mighty?
Money may not buy happiness but it certainly can buy power. In a country of more than 300 million people, two men are emerging as the mightiest force in American politics. And all they have going for them is money – lots and lots of money.
I’m talking about the Koch Brothers of course – Charles and David (above).
Nobody elected them to anything. Yet they control several state legislatures and the House of Representatives. How did they achieve this feat? They paid cash.
The Kochs were easily able to recruit amoral henchmen to craft the strategies for their coup. Obviously, there are those who will do anything for a price – however harmful their actions might be for their country and their world. Show them the money and they will show you how to game the system.
The Kochs’ malevolent influence is evident in such laws as Stand Your Ground, which is turning out to be a license to kill young black males. And they are responsible for the epidemic of anti-choice, union busting and voter suppression legislation sweeping across America. Their targets also include environmental laws, which get in the way of their energy empire’s operations.
Koch operatives provide generous campaign contributions for politicians and then give them templates for the laws the Kochs want enacted. These operatives also pour torrents of money into ad campaigns against candidates who don’t share the Kochs’ radical views.
Charles and David don’t pull the levers of power in plain sight of course. They rely on astroturf organizations like FreedomWorks, Club for Growth Action Fund, Senate Conservative Fund, and the Tea Party Patriots, which together “raised” $20 million last year. You don’t have to think very hard to figure out where the money came from.
And that’s just part of the picture. Here’s a revelation from an article by Steven Rosenfeld in AlterNet:
Outside the official Republican barricades is a competing four-year-old effort bankrolled by the Kochs. Their massive voter database project is called Themis and has a sister firm, i360, that works for the “pro-free-market political and advocacy community.” Another long-established Koch group, Americans For Prosperity, has been a big sponsor of the Tea Party. When House Republicans held a retreat in late January, Tea Party Patriots “set in motion 900,000 automatic phone calls in 90 Republican House districts” opposing immigration reform, the Times reported, citing an operation that looks like Themis’ work.
Needless to say, that computer-driven deluge, as well as several thousand calls to the Capitol from irate right-wingers, gave Boehner an excuse to kill a bill that granted legal status and eventual citizenship to 11 million Latinos.
Examining the power struggles going on in the Republican Party, Rosenfeld concludes:
… the biggest winner is likely to be the Kochs. Their advertising blitz attacking Democrats and Obamacare puts the party establishment in their debt. And they are also backingTea Partiers and other insurgents, meaning no matter who wins in 2014, they will gain power and influence in GOP circles.
It’s looking more and more as if a vote for the Republicans in November will be a vote for the Koch Brothers and their nefarious policies. Just one more reason – and a compelling one – to vote Democrat.