According to the Oct. 5 New York Times, “A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning,” the government shutdown was planned since the re-election of President Obama in 2012. Before Ted Cruz was appointed talking mouth of the minute, former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese III and leaders from more than 36 conservative groups had been strategizing a massive plot … a “blueprint to defund Obamacare” by shutting down the government.
Who would be so arrogant as to dismiss and disregard the voice of the American people and our democratic system of government that passed the Affordable Care Act by majority rule into a law that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States? Who would derail democracy and risk defaulting on the debt?
“Koch Konservatives.” The covert branch of government run by ideological despots whose powerful billions not only afford them the protection of Citizens United to manipulate our elections legally but now, apparently, the veto power to override our legislative process! Americans have not experienced such since the attempted corporate coup on President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, when a group of wealthy businessmen created a veterans organization in a plot to overthrow the president. What? A group of patriotic Americans manipulated by big money to destroy a president?
Freedom, Patriot, Prosperity, Heritage … apparently these labels are not so American after all. “Freedom” is just a “front” to these ultra-rich oligarchs whose egos can’t accept the loss of democratic election or the passage of a bill that did not advance their own narrow political view or financial advancement. They wrap themselves in the Constitution when it serves them and pocket it when it does not. They flash the Federalist papers in the face the democratic process and quote Madison, Hamilton and Jay … three gentlemen who used blood-sucking leeches to find medical relief in their day.
Advances in medical technology and pharmacology have greatly enhanced and prolonged our lives, but the The New England Journal of Medicine ranks the United States health care system as 37th in the world, while demanding the highest insurance premiums.
And the only jobs Koch Konservatives are concerned about appear to be paying right-wing political advocates to spread an epidemic of Obamaphobia.
Freedom Partners is a tax-exempt business organization with more than 200 members who pay at least $1,000,000 in annual dues. The board is headed by an executive of Koch Industries and funds organizations like the Tea Party Patriots to push to defund the Affordable Care Act. According to PBS Bill Moyers and company, Freedom Partners spent $250,000,000 in 2012 to shape political and policy debate, including dubious studies, misinformation in talking points and even raunchy TV commercials involving proctologists, all to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
The Kochs donated $500,000 to Heritage Action shortly after the passage of Citizens United. Their executive officer, Michael Needham, recently stated, “Any CR (continuing resolution) to fund the government of any length that doesn’t address Obamacare is not acceptable.” I think Boehner might have gotten that message.
At any cost, the House of Representatives, with the most novice members vulnerable to strong-arming by ultra-rich oligarchs bankrolling campaigns, has become the broken branch of our government. They sit like mischievous imps on the edge of a teetering branch, chain saw in hand, taunting, “Make me! Make me!” while gleefully touching the blade to the trunk of our majestic ancestral tree. They will cause suffering to working families and the economic recovery we have made, risk the country’s credit rating and tarnish our credibility and standing in the world before they reach the age of reason.
So what good is the democratic process when we can’t believe in it anymore? What happens when we believe that powerful covert forces in this country will not give up attacking the government to get their way at any cost, to write legislation through ALEC for states to pass, to push for Social Security privatization and environmental deregulation and execute a “blueprint” for failure until our government is too disjointed to function and people are too demoralized to vote?
Sweep the house in November! That’s what the American people can do to counteract this ploy by the faux government of the Kochs, by the Kochs and for the Kochs in our nation. It won’t be easy. The power and extent of the Koch Konservative dominion is deeply funded, organized with people motivated by winning no matter what the costs and billionaires who can pay them very handsomely for their efforts.
There are “scorecards” that are kept to log how a Republican voted on any given issue. Moderate Republicans who are not Koch Konservatives are “targeted” in the next election with Tea party challengers. The Kochs and other billionaires get what they want or else. If they can’t get it through Republican incumbents, they fund Tea Party candidates … and gerrymander the district so the elected official can sit on the proverbial tea pot and do nothing.
But Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians are all keeping their own score cards in this shameful game. Do we all abide by the Constitution of the United States or only when it works for our side? The only Americans who can afford to win “at any cost” are the billionaires. And losing democracy in this country is too high a price to pay.
Cheryl Cook lives in Nevada City.