Skip to main content

Al Gore Attacks Koch Brothers and 'False Spontaneity of the Tea Party'

Noel Sheppard's picture

Al 'Jazeera' Gore took to the Huffington Post on Valentine's Day to attack the Tea Party as well as the Koch brothers.

Not surprisingly, his "False Spontaneity of the Tea Party" consisted of his practically patented brand of factually-challenged left-wing propaganda:

A new study by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Medicine reveals that the Tea Party Movement was planned over a decade ago by groups with ties to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. The movement was not a spontaneous populist uprising, but rather a long-term strategy to promote the anti-science, anti-government agenda of powerful corporate interests.

The two organizations mentioned in the report, Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks, used to be a single organization that was founded by the Koch brothers and heavily financed by the tobacco industry. These organizations began planning the Tea Party Movement over ten years ago to promote a common agenda that advocated market fundamentalism over science and opposed any regulation or taxation of fossil fuels and tobacco products.

Gore was channeling an article published at the climate alarmist website Desmogblog Monday. Reason's Jacob Sullum rebutted some of its claims Thursday:

The main evidence for this thesis is that Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a think tank co-founded by libertarian billionaire David Koch and economist Richard Fink in 1984, received donations from tobacco companies (mainly Philip Morris) between 1991 and 2002. A year or two later, CSE split into two organizations, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, that have helped support and organize Tea Party activists. How much tobacco money did CSE get? According to Glantz et al., $5.3 million over 12 years, which amounts to roughly 11 percent of CSE's revenue as of 2002. That's a substantial share, but was it enough to corrupt "a think tank dedicated to free market economics" and backed by an ideologically motivated billionaire? [Co-author of National Cancer Institute study anti-smoking activist Stanton] Glantz et al. show that CSE saw eye to eye with Philip Morris on issues such as tobacco taxes and smoking bans, which presumably is why the company supported it. But they do not present any evidence that CSE took positions contrary to its avowed principles because it was eager to keep the tobacco money flowing. Nor do they claim that FreedomWorks or Americans for Prosperity, the groups that have aligned themselves with the Tea Party, receive substantial tobacco industry funding, let alone that such money is important enough to sway the entire Tea Party movement. [...]

According to Glantz et al., then, supporting private property rights, consumer choice, and limited government makes you objectively pro-tobacco, whether or not you are getting any money from cigarette manufacturers. After all, those are "well-established industry arguments." Likewise, if you oppose ObamaCare, you are doing the bidding of Big Tobacco, even if you don't realize it.


Sullum marvelously concludes that the best part of this "political hatchet job masquerading as science" is that it "was funded by taxpayers like you, via the National Cancer Institute, whose mission apparently now includes agitating against the president's critics."

Indeed. Is that now the charge of the taxpayer-funded NCI and NIH?

Scary concept, isn't it?

Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute addressed this Friday in his piece titled "Shades Of McCarthyism: Federal Government Funds Smear Campaigns On Tea Party, Kochs":

In backward cultures, people ignorantly blame their misfortunes on witches and the devil. Similarly, progressives scapegoat the Koch brothers for seemingly everything, with equally little basis in reality. [...]

The study is based on strange reasoning, such as the fact that one group funded in small part by tobacco companies used the word “Tea Party” in passing in 2002, a group largely unrelated to the groups that later came into being and used it in 2009. (Because, obviously, no one had ever used the words “Tea Party” before the 21st century.) Never mind that much of America’s non-profits get money from tobacco companies, which fund countless causes, such as arts funding, domestic violence shelters, and non-profits across the political spectrum — the family behind Lorillard Tobacco is famously liberal and donates to liberal politicians. [...]

The federal government has become so politicized that it can even use money intended for cancer research to demonize the administration’s critics. [...]

Your tax dollars at work! Whatever government bureaucrat funded this “study” doubtless took solace in the fact that this kind of thing is rewarded by the Obama administration. President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security earlier depicted people who believe in federalism or states’ rights, or oppose illegal immigration, as “right-wing extremists.” The Obama administration demonizes its critics, and seeks to silence them (examples here, here, and here), in a fashion worthy of “gangster government,” to quote veteran political commentator Michael Barone of The Washington Examiner. Its contempt for the rule of law is also illustrated by what even the liberal Washington Post referred to as Obama’s “bullying of bondholders” at GM and Chrysler. Other government officials have also depicted peaceful Tea Party protesters as potentially dangerous right-wing extremists.


Indeed.

Something that Bader and Sullum didn't address is that most people believe the Tea Party has its roots in Ross Perot's Reform Party which largely advocated the same principles of restrained government spending, balanced budgets, and entitlement reform back in 1992.

Was Perot also in bed with tobacco companies? Is that what his self-funded run for the presidency was all about?

The NCI, NIH, Desmogblog, and Gore didn't address this.

Color me very unsurprised.