The billionaires’ takeover of the GOP

The people at Ring of Fire radio were good enough to make a nice YouTube clip of my recent interview on the Ed Schultz radio show.

Guest host Mike Papantonio and I discuss the billionaires’ hostile takeover of the Republican Party, courtesy of Citizens United, the gift that keeps on taking. Here, the “taken” is the R’s themselves.

Corruption via Shutterstock

The clip references a series of cadre coups on the right, described as “inner groups [cadres] taking over outer groups [their hosts]. This is similar to the way a cadre (hard-core creationists) took over local Texas school boards, then moved upward until they “owned” the committees that control state-wide textbook content. After that, it was Dinos-for-Jesus for everyone. The Southern Baptist Convention (its controlling organization) was similarly couped by MoveCon activists.

The first takeover of the Republican Party, as noted in the interview, occurred in the 1970s, as the original Movement Conservatives took over party control from more traditional Republicans, who tended to be Nelson Rockefeller types. Now those last-gen “traditional” MoveCons are being themselves dethroned by the Americans for Prosperity–financed “Tea Party” candidates. In the clip, I called that coup about 60% complete.

Grand Daddy of the AFP is, of course, David Koch, who seems to be fronting these days for Koch Bros Central. Thus the billionaires — the Kochs, Adelson and the Foster Freize–types — are well on their way to having their way with the Boehners and McConnells et al. As noted in the clip, Norquist has already capitulated.


Read my earlier piece on the distinction between Tea Party voters (people with real beliefs) and Tea Party candidates (employees with bosses in a tightly controlled organization). It’s an important distinction in my view; these two groups should not be conflated with language like “the Tea Party.” There is no “the Tea Party” — there are true-believers without power, and people with power who use those believers. Both tend to be called “the Tea Party” but they’re two different balls of wax, at least as I see it.

If you agree, you might want to let your language reflect it; after all, language does count.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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806 Responses to “The billionaires’ takeover of the GOP”

  1. bruceewilson says:

    What’s your evidence that there is a useful distinction to me made between those you define as “Move Cons” associated with the 1970s takeover of the GOP (most accounts I’ve heard place the beginning of the takeover in the 1980s – see links below) and the AFP-financed “Tea Party” candidates ?

    The religious right’s takeover of the GOP has been ongoing for decades, and the “Tea Party” candidates are almost uniformly veterans of that process, die-hard Christian conservative culture warriors who have rebranded themselves. No more, no less.

    And, this is nothing new. Koch brother money, at least according to Greg Palast, played a significant role in the Gingrich-led 1994 takeover of Congress and the Senate.

    Further, the Kochs, Adelson, and Foster Friess are not the only funders in the mix. The first two, I believe we’d agree, are secular, but Friess has strong religious convictions and many other big money funders of the politicized religious right do as well – Howard Ahmanson, the DeVos’s, Truett Cathy & family, Dave Green of Hobby Lobby, Ken Eldred, the Walmart fortune clan… the list is long.

    The frame of 1) secular funders, 2) secular political operatives, 3) “true believers” is simply not supported by the evidence. The Todd Aikens, the Richard Mourdocks, the Christine O’Donnell’s and Sharron Angles all cut their teeth as Christian conservative culture warriors. Koch money helped such people run for office, sure, but it did not make them, and they are anything but secular.

    A commonly view, that the Tea Party on the whole is secular, was refuted by a 2010
    survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) which showed
    that “Nearly half (47 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea
    Party movement also identify as a part of the religious right or
    Christian conservative movement”.

    But a later, 2011 PRRI survey demonstrated
    an even stronger religious right / Tea Party overlap: “three-quarters
    (75 percent) of those who identify with the Tea Party movement describe
    themselves as “a Christian conservative.” ”
    Here are some accounts of the takeover of the GOP, from people who observed it as it was ongoing:

    Theocracywatch has a nice cover of the takeover, which some place as starting as early as 1980, but most in the mid-1980s:

    But the effort didn’t really ramp up until the late 1980s to early 1990s — so, maybe you’re talking about something that went on in the 1970s that I’m unaware of. In the first of those two links on the takeover, above, Dr. Bruce Prescott – who helped lead the opposition in Texas to the SBC takeover – describes the GOP takeover effort as ramping up in 1990.

    There have been solid academic efforts to assess the (growing) influence of the religious right in the Republican Party – see “Spreading Out and Digging In” – a 2002 published survey from Campaigns and Elections magazine, by Kimberly Conger and John C. Green:

    I’m not aware of anything as comprehensive since. Alas. – BruceW

  2. Memryskr10 says:

    This has got to stop here and now before they totally ruin our constitutuion ! and they are now on their way to messing up China too !!

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