Fox News is reporting that many of the country’s largest unions have contributed massive amounts of money to a 527 group that has set up a front to do battle with the Tea Party movement. The name of the front in this particular effort is theteapartyisover and among the many groups funding the myriad entities that channel money into its coffers are some familiar names:
The most recent backers of the Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority West, which helped fund the APPC and thus the Tea Party site, form a veritable Who’s Who of the country’s top labor unions: the Service Employees International Union, Change to Win, the Communications Workers of America, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and others besides.
But by far the largest donations have come from a collection of unionized government workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — which in 2008 alone donated $5.8 million to Patriot Majority and another $4.1 million to Patriot Majority Midwest.
The scheme is entirely legal but that’s not the takeaway from this particular article in my opinion. What I find most interesting is that during the past eighteen months there has been an inordinate amount of media disdain and mocking directed toward two political phenomena: Sara Palin and The Tea Party movement. Neither have been openly engaged by a media and Beltway consortium of interests on the issues they espouse. Rather the Palin/Tea Party initiative has been met with derision and scorn. That’s why it’s often more interesting to pay more attention to what the opposition is spending it’s money on instead of what it’s flacks are hawking over the airwaves or the internet.
Apparently the largest union in the country, the government employees union (AFSCME), is very afraid of the substance and policy positions served up by the Palin/Tea Party movement because they are investing millions of dollars to, in one sense, covertly destroy its message and apparatus. What Tea Party advocates should find most interesting about this union funded agenda is that the unions are joined in their mission by none other than the Wall Street interests that President Obama has been demagoguing about of late: private equity and hedge funds. Go to the links in the Fox article and you will find contributions from one of the largest private equity funds in the US (TPG) contributing alongside the SEIU and NEA.
Why would the filthy capitalists be in bed with the unions in this movement? Could it be that they know the Tea Party has designs on the unhealthy relationship between big business and government (something a Republican named Eisenhower warned us about over fifty years)? Or is it that Sara Palin has a proven record of taking on big business while she was governor of Alaska? The answer is both.