Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

By FRANK RICH
NYT

ANOTHER weekend, another grass-roots demonstration starring Real Americans who are mad as hell and want to take back their country from you-know-who. Last Sunday the site was Lower Manhattan, where they jeered the “ground zero mosque.” This weekend, the scene shifted to Washington, where the avatars of oppressed white Tea Party America, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, were slated to “reclaim the civil rights movement” (Beck’s words) on the same spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream exactly 47 years earlier.

Vive la révolution!

There’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.

Their self-interested and at times radical agendas, like Murdoch’s, go well beyond, and sometimes counter to, the interests of those who serve as spear carriers in the political pageants hawked on Fox News. The country will be in for quite a ride should these potentates gain power, and given the recession-battered electorate’s unchecked anger and the Obama White House’s unfocused political strategy, they might.

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.

(More here.)

4 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

Interesting. Is Rich saying that progressives are against free speech? Or, perhaps some free speech is bad but not all. It is interesting that Rich failed to discuss George Soros. More half truth in Vos Verax.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Tom said...

"Interesting. Is Rich saying that progressives are against free speech? Or, perhaps some free speech is bad but not all. It is interesting that Rich failed to discuss George Soros."

We all know that Soros funds the Center for American Progress, and he's up-front about his affiliation - but the Koch Brothers don't want us to know about their hand in birthing and financially supporting the tea party. Since you seem to prefer the dealings of the Koch Bros. stay secret, I'm curious: do you work for them as well? It would be entirely in character for them to assign an "anonymous" astroturf poster to try and discredit blogs who cover their political shenanigans.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting indeed tha Soros wasn't mentioned except, of course, where he was mentioned.

As Rich pointed out, Soros does not work in the shadows, he's a publicity hound. And, unlike the Kochs, what Soros backs doesn't fatten his wallet.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TL:DR, eh?
From below the fold-
"Many of them tried to change the subject to George Soros, the billionaire backer of liberal causes. But Soros is a publicity hound who is transparent about where he shovels his money. And like many liberals — selflessly or foolishly, depending on your point of view — he supports causes that are unrelated to his business interests and that, if anything, raise his taxes."
So, I count one straw man, one false equivalency, and one reading comprehension failure. Better luck next time.

7:39 AM  

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