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2016 Election

Koch Bros Circus: It Takes One to Know One, Ted


Ted Cruz is making every effort to remain a front-runner in the Republican Primary. In case you missed it, the Primary is a dog-and-pony show in which 19 (!) Republicans are now battling to see who can say the most infamous, libelous and outrageous calumnies and be seen as believing them in their heart of hearts. The prize is funding by the Koch Brothers, who are determined to purchase the White House, to the tune of one billion dollars. It is an atrocious and internationally embarrassing spectacle, as if the Statue of Liberty had vomited forth the dark putrescence in America’s collective soul in front of busloads of Japanese tourists and their Minoltas. The Koch Bros are clearly relishing their role as kingmaker (at least for the primaries) and making the candidates jump through more hoops than contestants in American Ninja. It would be almost too much humiliation for empathy to bear except for the fact that one of these benighted miscreants stands some legitimate chance of becoming the most powerful person on Earth.

This fact alone must cause endless sleepless nights in foreign capitals: the only thing of between these lunatics, the White House and the US nuclear arsenal is the good judgment of the American electorate. Cue George W. Bush, Fox News, Ferguson.

cruz and kochs

Senator Cruz, the first Republicans to declare his candidacy, enjoyed some early popularity. As a Texas Hispanic, Republicans might hope that Mr. Cruz could win the second most populous state in the Union as well as a large share of the Hispanic vote. They may go on hoping for the second outcome: Mr. Cruz is not particularly well regarded by the US Hispanic community outside his home state. The Texan also lacks a number of other credentials some might see as necessary: he has not been a Senator for very long, he lacks foreign policy and military experience, his last name is not Bush.

But the Circus is not a sprint; it is a marathon – a two year marathon. Early popularity is an illusion and popularity is transient. Sure enough, Mr. Cruz was soon eclipsed as other right-wing leaders with stronger creds as they oozed into the fetid ring. Principal amongst these are:

  • Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. Because, of course, two Bushs weren’t enough. While nevertheless the strongest brand-name candidate in the GOP field and with the Bush dynastic machine behind him, Mr. Bush is not the darling of the Circus – he is viewed as far too moderate, which is all you need to know about the state of the Republican party;
  • Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American Senator from Florida. He is the GOP´s “A-list” Hispanic, rather than Mr. Cruz: more charismatic, far more hawkish, more consistently in-line with the Republican establishment. Also, his Roman Catholicism is more likely to resonate with other Hispanics than Mr. Cruz’s Southern Baptist faith;
  • Rand Paul, Liberitarian leader, who immediately bent over to obscure and contradict the principles his father had pugnaciously defended in the US Senate for decades;
  • Scott Walker, CEO of Koch Group North – formerly the State of Wisconsin;
  • Chris “Iscariot” Christie, who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning the Republican Primary, but whose squirming under the torture of the conservative oligarchs will serve to entertain and educate other GOP politicos with the temerity to forgot who their masters are.

Mr. Cruz undoubtedly felt the heat, especially once Mr. Rubio entered the fray, and felt that he needed to up his game to avoid falling too far behind the pack and receiving the kiss of death: being labeled a moderate. He is already on very thin ice with his party’s hawks on foreign policy. His strategy was to launch a foam-at-the-mouth attack on what he called “liberal fascists” who he accused of oppressing Christians and seeking the extermination of Christianity. Such over-the-top tactics are typical of Mr. Cruz’s style: they often backfire, but sometimes he’ll knock it out of the park. This particular piece of vileness was calculated to garner media attention as well as the approval of the Koch Bros. Vicious attacks on liberals – who they are convinced are all closet Bolsheviks – will always bring a smile to their lips.

It makes no difference that the slanderous attack is beyond ludicrous. A “liberal fascist” is an oxymoron, a contradiction; it makes as much sense as “Christians Against Christ”. Liberals have always fought for the rights of the individual, the dignity of every human being and the Four Freedoms. What was fascism, but a rejection of democracy, of equality and of the entire Age of Reason? Fascists? Who are the fascists? Republicans would like to forget that it was conservatives like John D. Rockefeller, William Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh who gave material assistance to Franco’s goose-stepping butchers during the Spanish Civil War and admired Hitler’s Reich right up until the outbreak of war. They would also like to forget that it was a Democratic – liberal – Administration that crushed fascism in Europe and Asia while Republican isolationists howled; a Democratic Administration that saved Berlin from the Soviet blockade; a Democratic Administration that defended the freedom of South Korea at great cost.

Par for the course: the modern Republican Party is built upon myths and lies, told and retold until the liers themselves have forgotten what the truth is. A tactic ably pioneered by Reichsminister Joseph Goebbels. Ted Cruz is only following in that fine tradition. Only by the twisted logic of his rancid ideology could he equate the liberal’s demand for freedom of conscience and equality before the law with an assault upon Christians. A Jewish friend of mine said it best:

“No, Ted, no. No one is “going after” Christians. Christians are not being jailed, killed, fired, or exiled for their beliefs. Churches are not being burned, raided, or closed by liberals or anyone else. When Christians are forced to sew yellow crosses on their clothing and get stuffed into boxcars, I will be willing to listen to his arguments about anti-Christian fascism.”

What is most disconcerting is that these lies have been told and retold so many times that great swathes of the American public believe them. It is the Great Unlearning, the Republican project to rewrite history in their image; to dumb down America and extirpate all memory of those who don’t meet the radical ideological purity the GOP demands. Jefferson has been wiped out of American history for daring to codify the separation of Church and State; the Civil War was about state’s rights; FDR didn’t save the nation from Depression and War, he was just a dirty socialist. So it goes. The GOP has even turned our great Constitution into the American Quran, written by God himself. Mr. Madison apparently had no hand in it at all.

So it goes. Perhaps Mr. Cruz is so quick to use the word fascist because it takes one to know one. A thief always suspects that everyone else is out to rob him. But that’s not quite right, the Republican Party isn’t full of Nazis: the German Nazis were practically atheists. They lacked the element of religious fanaticism of today’s GOP. They have much more in common with the ayatollahs in Tehran; a curious, but fitting, irony. The modern Republicans are a totalitarian organization, bigoted and intolerant. They are the Soviets with religion. Any disagreement, any deviation from the official line is rank treason and apostasy. Only they are the keepers of the truth; everyone else is the whelp of Satan.

The Circus will continue for months before the Koch Bros and Adelson Traveling Show finally purchase an Anointed One, which means that the outrages have only begun. Ted Cruz will not bask long in the media attention, so he’ll have to outdo himself both in vitriol and in obsequiousness. It will not help him: the Senator remains a very long shot for either the benediction of the Circus or the selection of his party.

Sit Ted, sit. Roll over. Good boy.

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“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.“

John Adams


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