If you’ve been following politics at all on either side of the 49th parallel, you’ve probably heard of the infamous and somewhat slightly demonic Koch brothers who have been funnelling torrents of their apparently unlimited wealth into creating a time machine to send America back to the 50’s. Not the real 1950’s, however, but an idyllic version without Russians, communists, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, unions, rock and roll, corporate taxes, atheists, beatniks, free speech, nor any sort of democratic hindrance to the constitutional rights of the obscenely rich.
Brother David ran for vice-President in 1980 (apparently Ronald Reagan was too socialist for the Koch boys) on a Libertarian platform which advocated the abolition of Social Security, the FBI, the CIA, public schools, and the pesky Federal Elections Commission, which the bros have effectively neutered since with their support for Citizens United. Brother Charles, who supported David’s VP bid, eschewed politics as too nasty and corrupting of business, preferring to pour money anonymously into surrogate fronts for the libertarian revolution.
Their latest pet project, of course, is the Tea Party‘s effort to install the malleable Mitt Romney –their 9th round draft pick — at the head of a libertarian government of the people, by the people, and for the people … “the people” being members of the Tea Party, those who drank the same Kool Aid, and the indentured minions under Koch control.
The man who would be king pays tribute to the men who would be kingmakers. Curiously this touching scene never appeared in network TV coverage, the producers preferring an edifying sky-crane shot of the convention centre.
Just how much influence the Koch brothers have outside of the U.S. is a matter of some speculation (I’d put my money on “considerable”) although we do know that they have outspent Exxon on campaigns to educate the populace as to the reasons why the scientific method doesn’t apply to global warming. And David has an M.Sc. from MIT, FYI, so Q.E.D. — he knows his S.H.I.T.
The billionaire bros have also made substantial contributions to Canada’s right wing “think tank”, the Fraser Institute (as reported here), which is an ideological haven for the who’s who of Canada’s “New Right” including our testy autocrat, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has his own issues with elections oversight. Like the Tea Party, Harper’s Cons are adamantly opposed to letting minor annoyances like climate catastrophes impede our regress back to the future.
Harper’s Conservatives, by the way, won last year’s election with 39% of the popular vote because of vote splitting amongst 4 other parties, all of which are centre-left. His current approval rating is in the 35% range while his party is in a virtual tie with the democratic socialist NDP (the official opposition) in popularity polls.
Given this ambivalence Canadians have toward their continuing existence, I’m not certain the Cons would play along with any attempt by the Koch brothers to revive the “54.40 or fight” platform of former U.S. President James Polk which would have put western Canada under U.S. control. Frankly, though, I’d rather not tempt them. Harper has already expressed borderline disgust with the country he has deigned to lead, having described it as a 2nd rate socialist state. I fear he’d find it hard to refuse his own free-market fiefdom if it were offered.
So, fellow canoeheads, I believe it behoves us to let it be known, loudly and often, that we are reasonably content to remain in the 21st century with the rest of the rational world. And, no, Chuck and David, we have no more Canadian-built Deloreans for sale. Please send Michael J. Fox home before you leave for Hill Valley. Later, ‘Gator.