This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, January 29, 2015:
The assumption behind raising and spending a billion dollars, as the Koch brothers Charles and David seem to support, is that with enough money, enough grassroots action, and sufficiently elegant voter software, election successes like that of last November can be repeated in 2016. This past weekend, Freedom Partners, the Koch’s equivalent to a chamber of commerce for wealthy conservatives (each of its 200 members pays a minimum of $100,000 in annual dues), announced at its Palm Springs winter meeting that it was going to raise $900 million to pour into the upcoming presidential election.
Part of the money would go into advertising, part into expanding the present small but growing grassroots Heritage Action program, and part into buying sophisticated voter information software so that those in the field know whose door bells to ring. Precious little is expected to go into policy development, and none at all in educating the general public.
As Freedom Partners President Marc Short said: “2014 was nice, but there’s a long way to go.” He noted that his group’s ultimate goal is to make the ideals of a free market “central” in American society, adding that “Politics is a necessary means to that end.”
If successful, that $900 million will double what the Koch brothers and their affiliates and friends spent in 2012, and will exceed what both political parties together spent that year.
The brothers Koch have been investing in political action, both direct and indirect, for years, trying to find the magic potion that would turn back the rush to collectivism in the US, thanks not only to Obama but previous presidents who found it convenient to ignore the restrictions and limitations built into the Constitution to try to keep precisely that from happening. The list of groups they support is impressive. In 2008, for example, they sent major funding to 34 separate political action and policy development groups, including:
The Cato Institute,
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University,
The Institute for Humane Studies,
Citizens for a Sound Economy,
The Heritage Foundation,
The Competitive Enterprise Institute,
The Federalist Society,
The Institute for Justice,
The Manhattan Institute,
The American Enterprise Institute, and
The American Legislative Exchange Council.
The announcement made the New York Times nervous, causing it to complain that this billion dollars “effectively transforms the Koch organization into a third major political party” which will “put enormous fund-raising pressure on Democrats and liberal outside groups.”
It also made Ben Ray, a spokesman for American Bridge, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, very unhappy: “What an obscene amount of money! It just goes to show the kind of cold calculation that the Kochs will apply to protect their bottom line.”
But is the assumption valid? Can the Kochs and their affiliates and friends simply overwhelm the political conversation to secure a long-term meaningful change in Washington?
Part of the answer may be in a letter Senator Jeff Sessions sent to his colleagues last summer complaining about Obama’s constitutional abrogations and imploring them to do something about them. He wrote:
I write to inform you of a development that threatens the foundation of our constitutional Republic. On July 3, 2014, the National Journal reported:
Obama made it clear he would press his executive powers to the limit. He gave quiet credence to recommendations from La Raza and other immigration groups that between 5 million and 6 million adult illegal immigrants could be spared deportation….
Obama has now ordered the Homeland Security and Justice departments to find executive authorities that could enlarge that non-prosecutorial umbrella by a factor of 10….
This is breathtaking.
This action … would be an executive nullification of our borders as an enforceable national boundary….
Congress cannot surrender to this lawlessness. Acting in defense of Congress, our constituents, and their communities, we must stand firm. This transcends politics. It is about our duty as constitutional officeholders. It is about the solemn oath we all took as Members of Congress.
What happened? Did his plea cause Senators to rise up and say NO? Has anything happened in either the Senate or the House to nullify or neutralize Obama’s ambitions?
Because of a disinterested and uninformed constituency, such nullification efforts failed to materialize. Such efforts will only succeed when an educated and informed electorate brings sufficient pressure to bear on sufficient numbers of those elected Senators and Representatives to give such a plea traction.
It will take education at the earliest grade levels to teach the principles necessary to sustain the Republic. As John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
This writer serves on the board of one group promoting the teaching of such principles: Freedom Project Education. It explains its mission:
Rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values, FPE’s live, online school offers a complete classical education for students from Kindergarten through High School, free from public school spin and Common Core indoctrination.
[This is] an education similar to that received by America’s Founding Fathers, promoting liberty, citizenship, and independent thinking….
Unless that foundation is laid, political action, no matter how well intended or well-financed, will ultimately fail to restore liberty. On the other hand, once a sufficient number of the electorate is so educated, plans of tyrants like Obama and his predecessors will fail thanks to efforts by men like Sessions and his fellow Senators.
The New York Times: Koch Brothers Budget of $889 Million for 2016 Is on Par With Both Parties’ Spending
The Washington Post: Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections
Political activities of the Koch brothers
Opposing Views: Koch Brothers Plan To Spend $889 Million On Political Influence
John Adams’ quote: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Background on Freedom Partners