The teabag forces are out front in today’s politics, noisily trying
to oust Democrats and install a new Congress that they think will end
“business-as-usual” in Washington. Nice political rhetoric, but peek
behind the curtain.

While the rise of the tea parties was fueled by the legitimate fury
of thousands of outsiders, the rank-and-file troops have unwittingly
fallen under the political leadership of consummate corporate insiders.
For example, few grass-roots tea bag enthusiasts realize that the chief
funder of their anti-establishment rallies is uber-establishmentarian,
David Koch, who’s using the tea party to advance his laissez-faire
agenda of creating a corporate kleptocracy that’ll stomp on people like

There is also another force behind the scenes. And this force is
moving quietly and assuredly to make certain that a Republican Congress
will deliver business-MORE-THAN-usual.

Meet Paul Singer, the ultra-rich operator of a $17-billion hedge
fund. A far-out laissez faire ideologue, he’s one of the Wall Street
barons who’s mad-as-hell at Barack Obama and the Democrats for having
the temerity even to try reining in the bankster greed that has brought
our economy to its knees, leading to millions of Americans to be either
unemployed or underemployed.

Like a big chicken little, Singer has been running around decrying
Obama’s Wall Street reforms, insisting that they’ll ruin America’s
position as the world leader in finance. Apparently he slept through
2007, when Wall Street itself ruined that reputation.

Nonetheless, Singer is richer than Daddy Warbucks, which makes him a
BIG chicken little in Republican politics. So far this year, he has
poured $4 million of his own fortune into GOP congressional candidates
and corporate front groups, and he’s raised millions more, plus backing
Wall Street-friendly Republicans with cash from his hedge fund.

Singer’s not alone in trying to co-opt teabag energy and divert it
into the service of the corporate agenda. K Street, where flocks of
corporate lobbying firms roost, is moving quickly to capture any gains
that Republicans make in November.

This corporate lobbying corridor
is undergoing a major makeover, quietly shifting from Democratic to
Republican influence peddlers.

In particular, GOP staffers on Capitol Hill are in high demand, with
such outfits as Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, and Raytheon now paying top
dollar to hire well-connected Republicans. “They’re the new ‘It girl,'”
gushed one insider.

And that’s “it” exactly. Money is the real power in Washington. Until that changes, there’ll be no change.

It doesn’t help our democracy that the Supreme Court saw fit to
funnel even more corporate money into our elections, thus drowning out
the voices of citizens in favor of giving corporations the biggest,
loudest, rudest megaphone ever.

In January, five black-robed autocrats on the Supreme Court decreed
that America’s corporate powers must be allowed to flood our elections
with an unprecedented, unlimited, unconscionable tsunami of special
interest money that’ll swamp over any pretension that our elections are
an exercise in democracy.

Oh, tut-tut, clucked the five Supremes at the time, the electoral
impact will be minimal, for corporate executives will be self-regulating
in the use of their shareholders’ money. Wow, what a happy theory!

Maybe these five slap-happy theorists should visit the ongoing Senate
race in Florida. Led by the ethically challenged Republican hatchet man
Karl Rove, a front group named American Crossroads has amassed an ocean
of Supreme Court-approved money from out-of-state corporations and
billionaires to back a Republican hustler named Marco Rubio. Hailing the
influx of corporate cash from Rove’s front group, one of Rubio’s
backers happily declared, “I think it’s going to seal the deal in
getting his message out.”

And what exactly is his message? “Rubio will rein in out-of-control
spending in Washington,” screams one of his ads. No, he won’t. He’ll
simply shift spending from public needs to giveaways for oil companies,
military contractors and other money powers that the five Supremes and
Karl Rove have unleashed on the good people of Florida.

In Corporate Corruptistan, money is the message.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow,
Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on
behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families,
environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.