Are politicians like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio populist Tea Party vintage or just tools of the very rich? Is the obstruction caused by Tea Party representatives in Congress really grass-roots, or is it runaway ideologues playing for attention and uncontrolled by their corporate sponsors (witness Tea Party circus scenes above)?
The Tea Party Movement, so prominent in the media and in politics, was actually bought and paid for by billionaires, multimillionaires and corporations. With conservatism’s penchant for using emotion-packed patriotic terms to deceive, “Tea Party” was a likely choice for a pretense of a grass-roots movement. Some 42 years ago as part of a “market fundamentalist” push to promote corporate profits at the expense of the public good, a tobacco lawyer, Lewis Powell advocated more political power for corporations.
Eight years of the Bush administration provided the final leg of a neo-conservative infrastructure for a peaceful coup down the plutocratic path. In 2009, the Tea Party was another strategy set to neutralize a Democratic administration and divert anger toward hand-picked targets of public unions, the government, the EPA – anything but big corporate interests which caused the financial conflagration. Koch Industries was and is in the midst of this effort.
Though the tea party is still called a populist movement, it is anything but. The plutocratic-sponsored movement cagily exploited the anger and angst arising from a Wall-street induced Great Recession, but its plan had been laid long before it took hold among a cadre of stricken American citizens. Its beginning was carefully orchestrated by a well-financed plan to begin what might look like a populist movement against middle-class favored programs which rich corporate interests vehemently opposed.
Everything had been set in motion when the first national protest was triggered on February 19th of 2009, not long after Barack Obama was sworn in as president. Our economy was in critical freefall and big business even then wanted to control the action and reaction to the economic crash. On the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Rick Santelli, the CNBC Business News Editor and a hedge fund executive, criticized the government plan to refinance mortgages, saying the plan promoted bad behavior. Of course, though the taxpayer’s bailout was already underway, he said nothing about the criminal behavior of big banks and hedge funds, the latter which he was part of.
Santelli suggested holding a tea party to gather and dump derivatives on July 1st of that year. Curiously overnight the website, ChicagoTeaParty.com was live. The media did not point out that this site was registered about six months before. Facebook tea party pages in 40 cities were launched the day after Santelli’s rant. A tea party coordination site was live the next day and getting 11,000 visitors a day soon after. The next day Fox News started mentioning the new Tea Party. It is obvious that none of this was spontaneous as the GOP, conservatives and libertarians would have you believe.
It’s no accident that the Tea Party movement supports those issues that benefit the interests of the very rich who have been behind the various national and regional Tea Party organizations from the very beginning. The Tea Party (TP) wants to reduce the national debt and the budget deficit, wants to reduce government spending and taxes. The TP was against TARP (an effort mouthed by corporate masters but already defunct), against the economic stimulus, against health care reform, for right to privacy and to own guns, against the EPA, against Wall Street regulation – all laundry list issues favored by the rich corporate interests.
Patriotic-sounding names sport secret big money organizations behind the Tea Party: Citizens for a Sound Economy (Koch brothers founded), Freedom Works (Koch brother funded), and various Super PACs, also funded by the rich. There’s no doubt that a protest movement was brewing after Wall Street tanked the economy. Rich conservatives were just ready to exploit it and point it in their own direction with ready-made signs, transportation, publicity and financial support.
Coddled by tax reductions under George W. Bush and able to hide taxable money under lax tax laws, the corporate rich had tens of millions of dollars to spend to assure that income and wealth stayed with them , as well as transferring it from the middle class to them. Furthermore, the Supreme Court was in lock-step unison with corporate interests, regarding unlimited spending for elections and suppressing the vote of likely Democratic voters. To this end Justice Thomas and Scalia attended Koch semi-annual political strategy meetings.
The plans of the rich, teamed with the media, the Supreme Court, the GOP, the Tea Party, and the immense largesse made available by Citizens United seemed so foolproof in the 2012 election, that Romney and other lackeys of the rich like Fox News were shocked when Obama won the election for a second term.
Like other programs supported by and favorable to the right-wing, the Tea Party is minority supported, but corporate funded. Unfortunately money has captured institutions – the media, judicial, states controlled by the GOP, and the GOP House, seem to override majority interests. Accordingly in 2010 the Tea Party had a 31% approval rating, but today it’s 24% with a 47% disapproval rating. Nevertheless, it somehow hamstrings government — and progress.
How long will the minority view, still pretending to be populist, continue to rule our country?
“Corporations are people, my friend” (Romney during the 2012 campaign), and their growing billions of dollars make their influence multiply like Christ’s miracle of fishes. Emotional campaign tactics like the Tea Party depict their efforts as patriotic and Christian, though no real tenet of Christianity ever condoned stealing our wealth and our income like the deceptive tactics of the rich and their Judas agents in the GOP.
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