“Thank God for the Koch brothers…Pull your head out, man…The rich carry this country.” – excerpts of several tweet exchanges from a self-described “Capitalist, Libertarian,” directed at @proseandthorn, after sharing the news of the Koch founded group, Americans for Prosperity, opening a Louisiana branch to defeat Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)
I don’t want to encourage the RWNJ who tweeted those words, and more, by publishing her name here, but you can read her tweet-raid, where she calls me a “liberal hack,” and warns that if the Senate remains in Democrat control, “we will be officially a communist nation,” on my Twitter feed.
Happy New Year. It’s less than a week into 2014 and the partisanship that divides Congress once again cleaves a gulf between American activists as we bounce down the rutted campaign trail of our respective candidates, to November. Expect there to be billboards – bought by folks like the Kochs and the Heritage Foundation – every ten feet, on the right side of the highway, talking about the Affordable Care Act’s shaky roll-out and Obama’s misleading sales pitch.
Louisiana is only one state where Americans for Prosperity is applying pressure to unseat an incumbent Senate Democrat. They are also attacking New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Kay Hagan, in North Carolina. The year wasn’t even 24 hours old when AFP released a television ad across the Tar Heel state, attacking Hagan for her Obamacare vote, where someone whose policy was cancelled (for reasons the ad doesn’t explain) blames Hagan, and says, “She just doesn’t get it.”
Similar ads were aired by the Koch-backed group against Landrieu and Shaheen, in their home states.
Meanwhile, Heritage is using the lawsuit of Colorado nuns against the law’s birth control mandates for its own purposes, publishing stories sympathetic to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who, they say, the law “punishes…for holding beliefs that spur them to compassionate service.” It’s an interesting choice of words for a group like Heritage, which fights banking regulations that protect all Americans from exploitation, calls the New Deal policies that put millions back to work during the depression “an all-out assault on liberty,” and refers to progressivism as “a pseudo religion that must be soundly defeated.” Compassion, indeed.
While the Right attacks incumbent Southern Democrats for their support of the ACA, the open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia provides more of a dilemma for their machine. With a crowded field of Republicans trying to out-Todd Aiken each other for the conservative base, it gives a moderate Democrat with name recognition and no Senate vote baggage, Michelle Nunn, an opening to win in a reliably red state.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Nunn raised $1.6 million last quarter, meaning she has raised $3.3 million since she announced her candidacy last July. While “80 percent of those donors gave less than $100,” the AJC notes, the campaign also received an as yet unknown amount from former Virgina Sen. John Warner, a Republican.
Georgia Republicans insist that Nunn cannot win. “[T]his is not a purple state,” state Republican chair John Padgett recently told supporters, according to the AJC story. “And the Georgia GOP is not going to fall down on its duty to you and the rest of the country and let this state turn into a purple state.”
That’s reassuring, I suppose, to my Twitter heckler, who sees a Democrat led Senate, representing at least some of the Old South states, as the equivalent of a Communist America. Certainly, it indicates that the Right views conservatism as an essential “duty to the country.”
Let me pull my head out long enough to point out to them that they have bought into, and are in support of, a mythical country, a picture drawn in Sunday schools and the Fox News echo chamber. I’ll pull my head out long enough to point out to them that one day they and the people they love may have to rely on the government programs they rail against – Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps. I’ll pull my head out to admit, yes, I love government, because I love and care about my fellow Americans – even the ignorant – who I alone do not have the resources to help feed and clothe, and I don’t trust the rich to carry anything but their stock portfolios.
But what do I know? I’m just a liberal hack.