What if the Kochs were Democrats?

Author: Barrett Rainey

The saddest people I know at the moment are my Republican friends. The ones who watched the CPAC convention last week. Eager to again be proud of the good ol’ Republican brand, they were looking for some hint – some small clue – that all this talk of recognizing the Party’s recent electoral failures and the expected new efforts to heal the badly wounded elephant would result in some good GOP news for a change.

What they saw was a parade of the same oft-rejected faces living in another time and certainly another world. They heard the same old mantras voters have ignored before. Looking for substance that Republicans at the national level were hard at work banishing defeated voices of the past while offering a glimpse of a new, more positive future, they saw time-warp presentations of same-old, same-old. All harbingers of more time to come in the political wilderness.

Thinking Republicans were treated to three days of ample evidence that those who control the GOP administration and the nominating process nationally are more committed than ever to a course of public destruction. Even with the heavily gerrymandered congressional districts and Republican-sponsored voter restrictions we’ve witnessed in many states, 2014 looks even more promising for Democrats. If the many threats heard at CPAC about challenging Republican incumbents from the far right are carried out, that’ll be the cherry on top.

I came away from the CPAC experience with such an unworldly, disconnected feeling of political fantasy, I came up with some of my own.

Suppose – just suppose – the Koch Brothers, Foster Freize, Adeleson and the other billionaires were – gasp – life-long Democrats. What if they had bankrolled the other side of the aisle 30 or 40 years ago when they began to surreptitiously worm their way into the political woodwork of a national party? What if they’d poured those hundreds of millions of dollars into candidates and causes representing the poor, educational improvements, new energy development, climate change, a redesigned military for today’s conditions, veteran’s care, mental and physical health research and … well … many other things?

If those ubber-rich guys – with their vast resources – had been behind people and movements devoted to those and other important issues, would we be in the mess we are in Congress right now? With all the terribly important problems that need to be addressed in the House and Senate, would the Republican angst be as high as the one emergency national issue they’ve complained about the most? Discontinued tours of the White House?

Had that fantasy been reality for several decades, we would be living in a far different country. As a nation, we’d be working on those and many other issues. And, when people are working, they do a lot less bitching and become part of the team. And, with more people working, deficit reduction is less a fantasy and broken political promise and more a reality.

If you really looked and heard the craziness and otherworldly activities of CPAC last week, you know – you KNOW – cooperation, working together, dedicating national resources to facing and whipping our most important problems had no place in the discussions. You saw absolute resolve to repeat past failed experiences with the same failed faces and their rejected arguments. You heard lies trotted out as fact. You heard messages of division and exclusion. You heard false messages of “change” and “inclusion” while attendees deliberately dis-invited some of the best people the GOP has to offer. Excluded people they need to make “change” and “inclusion” more than feel-good, happy talk.

The reason why the failure of CPAC to offer anything new and positive is so terribly disappointing is that this crowd represents who you’ll see on the ballots in many states in 2014. Many of these crazies control the nominating procedures in their states. Those who “think” like they do will be the names offered you’ll see in too many cases.

Rather than “change” and “inclusion,” they want purity. Winning is less important than adhering to deeply flawed tenets which have produced too many deeply flawed officeholders. CPAC offered no immunization from past political sickness. It was simply an over-ballyhooed booster shot for continued ailments.

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