Liberal radio host Thom Hartmann says that the Republican party is made up of three types of people: the rich, shills for the rich, and suckers. That’s an accurate description, but not detailed enough. Each of those categories can be broken down further, to give a more precise picture of the makeup of the modern Republican party.
With that in mind, here are the eight types of people who currently call themselves Republicans.
1. The Oligarchs
Example: Sheldon Adelson
The oligarchs are the financial backers of the party. They rarely seek the limelight, but sometimes find themselves thrust into it. They are the “kingmakers,” thanks in large part to the Citizens United decision. Witness the Koch brothers’ recent vetting of announced and likely Republican presidential candidates, trying to settle on the one who will receive a massive infusion of their cash. Ditto Sheldon Adelson, who spent $93 million on the 2012 election, according to the Washington Post. Those are the biggest examples, but there are many more.
2. The Billionaire Industrialists
Example: Mitt Romney
This group of Republicans could also fit into the category of oligarchs, but, unlike the oligarchs, they don’t want to be kingmakers, they want to be king. They see America as belonging to people like them: wealthy, and powerful. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, these guys will tell you that it’s just because you didn’t work hard enough, or weren’t creative enough. Never mind that most of these guys — Romney, Donald Trump, etc. — inherited wealth, positions of power, or both. If you’re poor, or middle class, and struggling, well, just work harder, and more. Sleep is overrated, anyway.
3. The Corporate Shills
Example: The Cato Institute
There are so many individuals shilling for the oligarchs, and financed by them, that it is easier to talk about the organizations they work for, than to identify each person. The Cato Institute, which describes itself as “a public policy research organization — a think tank – dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace,” is just one of dozens of these groups.
According to Forbes, Charles and David Koch (see “Oligarchs” above) have contributed millions to the Cato Institute. It’s almost laughable to read Cato’s description of how the group is funded, which says:
In order to maintain its independence, the Cato Institute accepts no government funding. Cato receives approximately 80 percent of its funding through tax-deductible contributions from individuals, with the remainder of its support coming from foundations, corporations, and the sale of books and publications.
Other groups, that put out pseudo-research designed to promote the interests of the oligarchs who fund them include: Americans For Prosperity (another Koch brothers funded group), the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and many, many more.
4. The Religious Hucksters
Example: Franklin Graham
This faction of Republicans has an important job: To convince people to vote against their economic self-interest, by using “wedge issues” such as same-sex marriage, abortion, fear of Muslims (or “MOOs-lims” as Graham would say), etc. This group is extensive, and counts as members those with well known names such as Graham, as well as unknown preachers who step into the pulpits of numerous churches every Sunday. But they’re all selling the same message: vote Republican, or God will want nothing to do with you.
5. The “Noise Machine”
Example: Rush Limbaugh
The noise machine is extensive, and it permeates the airwaves. Limbaugh has, for years, been the CEO of the Republican noise machine, but, after a series of gaffes cost him many sponsors, his star seems to be fading. There are plenty more out there, whose names may not be as big, but who are just as good as stirring up the uninformed, including: Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and so on.
Of course, this section can’t leave out the entire cast of characters at Fox News. From the curvy couch crew of Fox and Friends, to the evening rants of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, Fox News is one 24 hour noise cycle.
Of course, the job of this segment of the party is to tell half-truths, and flat-out lies, to those who aren’t paying attention, in order to, again, get them to vote against their own self-interests (see “Religious Hucksters”).
6. The War Hawks
Example: Dick Cheney
These Republicans have never seen a war they didn’t like. Some of this group served in the military, such as John McCain. But many of them, like former vice president Cheney, have never worn a uniform. They see the world as a dangerous place that can only be tamed by American intervention. Intervention that might require your child to go fight and die. But not their children. They have more important things to do, like grow up to be leaders, who will then send other people’s children off to fight and die. This group sees any dissent from a Republican president’s war plans as “unpatriotic.” But, they will travel the world to criticize a Democratic president for his handling of American conflicts he inherited from a Republican.
When talking about this group, we can’t leave out their connections to the defense industry. Isn’t it interesting that most of the biggest hawks in the country have the deepest ties to the military-industrial complex?
7. The Country Clubbers
Example: Hundreds of thousands of upper middle class voters
This group includes a lot of educated people, who should be able to see through the claims made by the shills and hucksters. But hey, they live in gated communities. They’re doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women. Republicans keep their taxes low. And those wars Republicans like to start? No worries. The children of this group are in some sort of professional school, or preparing to take over the family business. They’re too busy to do anything like sign up for military service. Even though they don’t make anything close to the money made by the oligarchs and other billionaires, they’re comfortable. They don’t need things like food stamps, so they don’t really see the purpose of them. They take advantage of all sorts of tax deductions, but don’t like the idea of others getting government assistance. Their motto could be “Government program that helps me — GOOD. Government program that helps you — BAD!”
8. The Dumb*sses
Example: The Tea Party
This is an example of one place where something called “trickle down” actually works. Everything done by the members of the first six groups in this summary winds up here — with people who listen to what the shills have to say, and who vote the way the oligarchs want them to. Were it not for this group of terminally uninformed voters, mostly old, mostly white, mostly uneducated, there would be no Republican party, or at the very least, it wouldn’t resemble what it is today.
These people hate the government, but love the largest government agency — the military. They’re quite happy to send their kids off to die in Republican wars, to protect their “freedom.” They opposed the so-called “government takeover of healthcare,” aka the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), but don’t you dare touch their Medicare. They think that President Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan, socialist, who is destroying America, but don’t you dare call them racists.
You have to give the chiefs of the Republican party credit. They have all of the pieces in place, and the thing runs like the proverbial “well oiled machine.” This is why liberals can never rest. And why we must always, ALWAYS, get out and vote.
Featured image via the Republicans Suck Facebook Page