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Tea Party used to push corporate agenda (Institute for Liberty, Monsanto, Asian paper company)

If you've been following our extensive tea parties coverage, you'll know where this is going (and if you're a teapartier, you'll have no clue):

Last fall, [Institute for Liberty's] president, Andrew Langer, had himself videotaped [ peekURL.com/vM87wLC ] on Long Wharf in Boston holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence as he compared Washington’s proposed tariff on paper from Indonesia and China to Britain's colonial trade policies in 1776.

That's from "Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party" by Mike McIntyre of the New York Times (link) about how the Institute for Liberty and similar groups piggyback on the Teaparties in order to push a corporate agenda. It's not clear how successful they've been; the video has just about 150 views. However, if they haven't been as successful as Dick Armey has been it's not because the teaparties have seen through him: in my two years' of experience with them I've never known anyone in the teaparties to be able to see through anything.

In the article, McIntyre states that the Tea Party is "as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government", but the former does not appear to be true (see also this). The teapartiers are hand-made to be used to push a corporate agenda, usually by using a cleaned-up variant of something like "Nancy Pelosi hates your guts, so be a Patriot and help this corporation I'm being paid by ease pollution restrictions".

In the case above, Langer was serving (unpaid per him) the interests of a paper company from Indonesia that had concurrently - and no doubt completely coincidentally - mounted a PR campaign against tariffs on their products. And:

Mr. Langer had arrived the previous year from the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobbying group. An enthusiastic, talkative man of 40 who dabbles in Republican politics in Maryland, he quickly saw potential in the Tea Party phenomenon. Working with FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, the institute co-sponsored early Tea Party events in Washington and published a guide called “How to Brew a Tea Party.”

Mr. Langer can seem disarmingly candid when discussing his work. In a recent interview, he explained how the institute pitched its services to opponents of the Obama health care plan, resulting in a $1 million advertising blitz.

Both Freedomworks and AFP are part of the general Kochtopus (groups funded by or linked to the Koch family) and both have been very deeply involved in organizing the teaparties. And:

He said he had sometimes chosen issues suggested by colleagues from an earlier job, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market group heavily financed by business interests. The two institutes are involved in a campaign advocating a realignment of NASA’s budget that would benefit commercial spaceflight entrepreneurs. The Institute of Liberty’s contribution was a Web page called “No Space Pork!”

Last year, the two groups also supported the effort by the agribusiness giant Monsanto to ease federal restrictions on its pesticide-resistant alfalfa. (In February, regulators agreed to do so.) Mr. Langer said he decided “to try out our grass-roots method on that, and frame it as a dairy issue and access to affordable food.”

CEI is also part of the Kochtopus, and that page embeds the video at peekURL.com/vKTxvzK from blogging stalwart Bill Whittle. Any links between him and the Institute for Liberty aren't known.

Other tags: libertarians

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 11:47 · Importance: 4