Wednesday, October 20, 2010


There are some obvious points to be made about this story -- that the wholesale purchase of our government seems impossible to stop; that teabaggers are delusional if they think their movement's funders give a crap about them -- but I'd like to add this: wouldn't it be nice if a few titans of American industry were actually working this hard and spending this much money to devise, improve and sell actual useful goods and services? Wouldn't that be a niceboost for the economy?

... Koch Industries, the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes ... , is planning a confidential meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to, as an invitation says, "develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity."

... The Koch network meets twice a year to plan and expand its efforts -- as the letter says, "to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it."

... To give prospective participants a sense of what to expect, Mr. Koch's letter enclosed a brochure from the group's meeting at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, including a list of the roughly 200 participants -- a confab of hedge fund executives, Republican donors, free-market evangelists and prominent members of the New York social circuit.

... The participants in Aspen dined under the stars at the top of the gondola run on Aspen Mountain, and listened to Glenn Beck of Fox News in a session titled, "Is America on the Road to Serfdom?"

... Mr. Koch ... notes that previous guests have included Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, Gov. Haley Barbour and Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, and Representatives Mike Pence, Tom Price and Paul D. Ryan....

Even though we keep hearing that we're in a bad economy in which everyone is pinching pennies, this pricey gathering isn't the only example of free spending to advance wingnuttery. There's also this:

The George Washington University chapter of the College Republicans seem to be having a bit of trouble rallying volunteers to campaign for Christine O'Donnell:

We are still DESPERATELY looking for people to sign up for the campaign trip to Delaware this weekend. Please attend! Our candidates in Delaware desperately need help! A gift of 50 dollars, free food, transportation, and lodging at a beautiful hotel in Delaware will be provided to ANYONE who comes on this trip. YOU WILL GET PAID FOR GOING! THIS WILL BE THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR YEAR HERE AT GW! Additionally, the campaigns will give our College Republicans chapter 2,000 dollars for future programming if we get 30 people to go. Please go!

The College Republicans have traditionally been extremely well funded by wealthy donors. Obvious so much cash is burning a hole in their wallet that they can waste it on a fool's errand like this. But none of the fat-cat donors think this is wasteful?

In what other part of the economy, with the possible exception of R&D at Apple, is there this kind of enthusiastic spending? Why do all of the economy's "animal spirits" seem to be concentrated in right-wing government-hijacking efforts?

Hell, this even extends to the right-wing rank and file. We're told that the teabaggers' anger is economic, but every couple of days we read that another teabag candidate is awash in cash. Sharron Angle raises $14 mil! O'Donnell outraises Coons! Glenn Beck's call for donations to the Chamber of Commerce crashes the Chamber's servers!

I don't know what ordinary wingers are thinking, but I half-wonder whether the big boys' financial behavior suggests that we need to go to a libertarian -- or communist -- government. Obviously, as long as battles over the degree and nature of government spending and taxation can be endlessly refought, some of these guys are going to think there's more money to be made from gaming the political system than from actual business.

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