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Monday, August 30, 2010

Teabaggers Clueless About Their Own Funding

A leftover bookmark from my earlier post. As much as teabaggers like to think they're part of some grassroots movement, they're actually just a puppet show run by three gazillionaires -- Rupert Murdoch and the brothers David and Charles Koch.

Frank Rich, NYT:

Tea party busThere’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president.

Only the fat cats change — not their methods and not their pet bugaboos (taxes, corporate regulation, organized labor, and government “handouts” to the poor, unemployed, ill and elderly). Even the sources of their fortunes remain fairly constant. Koch Industries began with oil in the 1930s and now also spews an array of industrial products, from Dixie cups to Lycra, not unlike DuPont’s portfolio of paint and plastics. Sometimes the biological DNA persists as well. The Koch brothers’ father, Fred, was among the select group chosen to serve on the Birch Society’s top governing body. In a recorded 1963 speech that survives in a University of Michigan archive, he can be heard warning of “a takeover” of America in which Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.” That rant could be delivered as is at any Tea Party rally today.

This belief that the Tea Party is some self-sustaining, organic thing is one reason why I think the average teabagger isn't very smart. If there's no central control, where do the soundstages come from? Who bought and painted "Tea Party" all over those buses? Who paid for all those fliers? Without any central management, how do these things get organized? And even if there were some over-arching Tea Party machine, they wouldn't be able to afford all this stuff because teabaggers don't put their money where their mouths are.

Then again, these are people who think global warming is hooey and that an allegorical story about a talking snake and a magic apple explains things better than the theory of evolution. Why would anyone be surprised to find out they think that all this free stuff just falls out of the sky by magic?

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