Back in 1998, Hillary Clinton claimed that the attacks on her and her husband were the work of a vast right-wing conspiracy. I’m not sure such a conspiracy was at work then, but I'm pretty sure there is one now. This plot is led and funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.
As a progressive populist I hate what the GOP is doing to weaken this country. But as a political strategist, I can’t help but admire the road conservatives are taking to lead this country to ruin.
Republicans and conservatives understand the tactics of a good general. Never attack straight ahead in one direction but make a coordinated assault on two or more positions at the same time. That is what conservatives are doing now at the federal and state level.
Republicans and their Tea Party allies are working on two important campaigns in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals around the country. The conservative goals are to rip the economic safety net wide open and pave the way for their friends in big business to dominate political campaigns.
On the economic front the right-wing two-pronged attack is on Medicaid in D.C. and jobless benefits in the states.
In Michigan which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, the GOP has succeeded in cutting jobless benefits by six weeks. The conservatives in Missouri are also trying to limit unemployment benefits. Meanwhile in Washington, the right wing wants to cut funding for Medicaid. About half of all Medicaid recipients are children. [See who donates the most to your member of Congress.]
Of course these attacks on children, the unemploye,d and the disabled don’t stop the Tea Party from giving billionaires and banks big tax breaks. The message from the GOP on both fronts is if you’re hurting, you’re out of luck. If you’re rich and powerful we will pay any price to help you out.
On the campaign finance front, right wingers are on the attack in the national and state capitals. Last year, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court allowed unrestricted corporate funding on federal campaigns. While conservatives in Washington opened up the spigot for corporate money, their counterparts in state capitals are shutting off the campaign spending of labor unions representing working families. [Read the U.S. News op-ed debate: Is the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Hurting Democracy?]
If Republicans succeed in driving Democratic money out of politics, it will be easier for conservatives to destroy the economic safety net. Two disasters for the price of one. Now that's real fiscal discipline for you. The Koch brothers are getting their money's worth on this deal.