I guess the New Yorker is still trying to redeem itself for the notorious “The Politics Of Fear” cartoon cover during the 2008 presidential primary that depicted Barack Obama in Muslim garb. "Covert Operations", an extensively researched article in this week’s magazine about the infamous Koch brothers and the hundreds of millions they have shoveled into political organizations, including big bucks to prop up the Tea Party brand, goes a long way towards making up for a transgression I saw as unforgivable two years ago.
A Republican campaign consultant who has done research on behalf of Charles and David Koch said of the Tea Party, “The Koch brothers gave the money that founded it. It’s like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud—and they’re our candidates!”
The Koch brothers substantial investments to make sure the Tea Party groups across the country flowered in a way that would draw maximum media attention to its efforts was no secret to me or to any of the leading political pundits and the news producers who script their shows. There has been enough verifiable information about these two power mad billionaires laying right out there in the open for years to make a week long television documentary chronicling the subversive nature of their political activism, but even now, after The New Yorker has opened the barn door, I doubt that you will see very much coverage of this story.
Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.”
Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders.
To a Tea Party member reading the New Yorker article, it must be the equivalent of being pimp slapped. Because despite all of their protestations to the contrary, they will be back out on the streets next week, and the week after that, making noise for the TV cameras exactly the way rich men like the Koch brothers intended, the same way prostitutes get back on the stroll after they’ve taken a beating from their pimp.
Americans for Prosperity, meanwhile, has announced that it will spend an additional forty-five million dollars before the midterm elections, in November. Although the group is legally prohibited from directly endorsing candidates, it nonetheless plans to target some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.”
It must be mind boggling to realize that your rallies wouldn't have half the attendance they do now if it wasn't for the professional organization, logistics, supplies and transportation that the very people you were railing against were actually making available to your troops.
Charles Koch seems to have approached both business and politics with the deliberation of an engineer. “To bring about social change,” he told Doherty, requires “a strategy” that is “vertically and horizontally integrated,” spanning “from idea creation to policy development to education to grassroots organizations to lobbying to litigation to political action.” The project, he admitted, was extremely ambitious. “We have a radical philosophy,” he said.
On top of all of this, how bad must it feel, after spending the last few months trying to eradicate the appearance that your beloved Tea Party harbors racists, to come to find out that the sugar daddies who have provided aa substantial amount of the transportation and organization and logistical planning for your largest "grassroots events" are direct descendants of a bona fide founder of the John Birch Society?