Wisconsin Recall Elections: Are the 20 Year-old Methods of Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition Coming to Fruition?

Gary G. Kohls, MD

”It (the Christian Coalition’s political agenda) is like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It’s better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. You’ve got two choices: You can wear camies and shimmy along on your belly, or you can put on a red coat and stand up for everyone to see. It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more effective.” -- Ralph Reed, (Los Angeles Times - 3-22-92)

“I want to be invisible, I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” -- Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson’s successor as leader of the Christian Coalition, admitting his intent on using deception regarding the Christian Coalition’s true aims (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11-9-91)

Note: By the time this column gets published in the Reader, the recall election of Scott Walker will be over. It should have been clear to all that the fundamentalist preacher’s kid (likely to have been heavily influenced by the agendas of the Christian Coalition – as have hundreds of other Republican politicians and governors like ex-Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty) are controlled and bankrolled by obscenely wealthy, anti-Christic, right-wing corporate elites who are based outside of the state of Wisconsin (and therefore their lobbyists and their anonymous smelly money, thanks to the “Citizens United” Supreme Court ruling of 2010) should be treated similarly to the undocumented aliens that Walker et al want to treat so harshly.

Walker et al’s agenda is also that of the odious anti-democracy, pro-corporate, right-wing think tank called the American Legislative Exchange Council that has so many sponsors that are among the 1% – see www.alecexposed.org for the sobering details.

Also see http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xbcr/justice/ALEC_Report.pdf for a shocking list of ALEC’s ghostwritten sample legislative bills and the billionaires, Big Businesses and  politicians who are financially and politically funding the think tank.

Even though this column will be too late to influence the Wisconsin vote, I submit it because of the important historical facts that need to be understood before the planned anti-democracy coup d’etat of the NeoCons and TheoCons (see www.theocracywatch.org) is completed and the Koch Brothers’ opponents are in Ralph Reed’s body bags.

Most people have their own methods of evaluating political candidates and their parties during campaign season, when we finally have to start deciding which candidate is the least bad for the future of our fellow sentient beings with whom we share the planet (not to mention the safety, availability and affordability of the air, soil, water and food supplies). The candidates we elect are the ones that will be making the life or death decisions that determine the fate of the earth, the children and the other living things that ruthless corporations have little or no concern about.

The most important strategy that I use is fairly straight-forward. It does require some effort, some luck and some knowledge of history, especially the politics of extreme right-wing pro-corporate conservatism otherwise known as fascism.

What we need to
find out about political
candidates before
voting for them

These are some of the questions I would like answers from the declared candidates and their political parties:

1)      “Where on the political spectrum would this candidate have been if he or she had run for political office in the 1920s and 30s in Nazi (fascist) or pre-Nazi Weimar Germany (an experiment in democracy that was destroyed by the right-wing and centrist political parties and their corporate supporters)? Would he or she have leaned left (pro-democracy, pro-labor, antiwar, socialist) or right (fascist, nationalist, pro-war, pro-corporate, pro-monarchist)?”

2)      “What are the political, racial, economic beliefs of this candidate and his or her party? In 1930s Germany, would those beliefs have made him or her, upon gaining office, a fascist-supporter, an anti-fascist resister or a fear-ridden, silent bystander? Is the candidate (or his supporters) a fear-monger when it comes to dealing with oppressible minorities like foreigners, non-Christians, non-whites, gays, etc?”

3)      “Would this candidate have been recruited by the Nazi Party to serve Hitler’s right-wing, pro-war agenda or would he have had the courage (a la Paul Wellstone) to be willing to risk his life fighting against fascism and corporatism in the battle to overthrow Hitler and his war-profiteering supporters?”

4)      “What are the candidate’s theological and religious beliefs? Does the candidate’s religion preach hatred, fear and “holy” homicide against ‘the enemies of their nation or their religion’ (like the so-called “Positive German Christian Church” that Hitler set up to usurp the Protestant church) or does the candidate’s religion teach peaceful co-existence? Does the candidate’s religion teach that, contrary to all scientific evidence, the earth is only 10,000 years old, that the end of the world is coming soon, (therefore making irrelevant the concept of care of the earth for the benefit of future generations) or that non-Fundamentalist Christians who are fingered a being “heathen” deserve to be starved, imprisoned, tortured, murdered or “left behind”?” I would also like to know before I vote if the religion of the candidate teaches that there is nothing wrong with book-banning or book-burning (which, historically, is a prelude to burning human “heretics”)?

Getting answers to these questions usually makes voting decisions easier were it not for the fact that there is often only very small differences between the candidates of the two major political parties, both being essentially a single war party that has two wings, one wing essentially center right and the other extreme right, although most politicians and their parties are clever enough not to reveal what they or their paymasters are planning behind closed doors. Developing critical thinking skills is important.  The ability to “read between the lines” and not automatically trust people or groups that want your vote or your money is essential.

The dangers to
democracy of the 2010
Citizens United decision

If the candidate’s previous voting records are available, sincere citizens need to vote against the candidate with the most proto-fascist qualities and/or the one that is being supported by corporations with anti-democracy, pro-war or wealth-extracting agendas. (Alarmingly, the infamous Supreme Court “Citizens United” ruling in January 2010 by the 5 ultra-conservative activist judges and corporate lapdogs on the bench, allows unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions to political parties, their candidates and assorted nefarious groups that pay for million-dollar attack ads on TV and radio and guarantee that nobody will be able to find out who are the people or corporations that are behind the dirty tricks! (It should be noted that the money being spent on attack ads is currently going against Democrats, 7 to 1.)

It shouldn’t have to be stated that intelligent and thoughtful voters who remember the irreversible damage done to the US Constitution and the nation by the Cheney/Bush/Rove administration should be supporting candidates that oppose racism, economic oppression and militarism (the triple evils of Martin Luther King) and who work for the altruistic causes of true democracy, equality, fairness, peace, justice, reconciliation, liberation of the oppressed and relief of human suffering.

The main problem of course is that America’s two major political parties (with the exception of the few who are in the still-existent, but marginalized, left wing of the Democratic Party) are bought and paid for; and their owners are corporate lobbyists and the big money that finances their campaigns. The worst of them are firmly in the back pockets of the biggest business going, the mother of all deficit-spenders, the Pentagon. Every Republican and nearly every Democrat in Congress, and every president since the Vietnam War was finally de-funded, has cowardly and reflexively voted for virtually every exotic and unaffordable weapons system that the war-profiteering corporations have demanded be built: the primary cause of the fiscal and ethical quagmire that the US is in today.

America’s moral and
fiscal bankruptcy and
Pentagon spending

How could the problem - and the solution - be more obvious? Ongoing fiscal crises are to be expected when the Pentagon spends about 2 billion dollars a day with no visible “return on investment” for the taxpayers. (
It needs to be pointed out that the Pentagon budget is over $700 billion a year, soon approaching a trillion dollars annually when the bill for the hundreds of thousands of permanent service-connected disabilities and incurable war wounds of the traumatized combat veterans comes due. Pentagon budgets have been massive drags on the economy during the Vietnam War and continuing a decade later with the Reagan/Bush era when military spending on America’s criminal nuclear arsenal, went through the roof - as did the national debt, which rose an additional $4 trillion dollars by the time Reagan left office.
Our politicians have turned into obedient lapdogs for the bloated, too-big-to-fail (and too-big-to-criticize) 800-pound gorilla Pentagon that treats peace-promoting civilians with disdain. It must be said that if the US is ever going to be able to balance its budget, the warmongering politicians and pro-war political parties favored by the military-industrial complex need to be challenged, de-funded and voted out of office.

German fascism
and lessons unlearned
for America

For those with some knowledge of world history, especially the history of German fascism, here are some more pointed questions to ask about specific issues and beliefs when preparing to vote:

1) Do the candidates have traits that resemble the cunning silver-tongued propagandist Joseph Goebbels (Nazi party leader and Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment) who had iron-fisted control over the German media, including the movie and radio industries, who brutally repressed opposition points of view? The broadcasting of pro-democracy, anti-fascist information was prohibited by the socialist-hating, leftist-hating and liberal-hating Nazis.

2) Are the candidates blindly pro-militarist and pro-war in their voting records or proclamations, as was true for the WWI flying ace hero, and ruthless Luftwaffe-creator Reich Marshall Hermann Goering, who was at one time Hitler’s second in command. (Goering had no compunctions about ruthlessly plundering, for the war profiteering corporations, the natural resources of the conquered and the colonized, especially oil and cheap, conscripted soldiers and factory workers, several of the essential ingredients for conducting modern wars.)  

3) Are the candidates or their families on the payrolls of wealthy industrialists or corporations whose main interests are profits, “free” markets and stealing foreign resources through police state coercion - as was the method of Fritz Thyssen and many other captains of industry?  (Thyssen was the wealthy industrialist who was an early financial supporter of the Nazi Party, as was the wealthy anti-Semite Henry Ford and George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush, among many other American industries such as Standard Oil and IBM, who profited from their German investments. The fascist  multi-millionaire Thyssen made timely “investments” and saved the Nazi party from a likely extinction after the 1929 US stock market crash and the resultant world-wide depression.)

4) Are the candidates supported by corporations that benefit from war and military spending such as was the infamous House of Krupp and their many steel-making armaments factories? (The powerful Krupp family was the legendary German weapons manufacturing group that, for centuries prior to Hitler’s reign, had made enormous fortunes by producing the best high-grade steel weaponry that the world had ever known, which they then very profitably sold to all sides of whatever potential war was threatening at the time. Krupp Industries ruthlessly chewed up tens of thousands of non-German slave labor during WWII. In testimony at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, it was revealed that Krupp had profited enormously from the slave labor at thier automatic weapons plant at Auschwitz.)

5) Do the candidate’s political agendas discriminate against minorities? Will the candidate support wars or the occupation of weaker sovereign nations for economic advantage (as did Hitler’s henchmen)?

6) Has the candidate shown support for the secret police, the use of torture, “preventive detention” policies or pre-emptive military strikes, which were popular with the likes of the odious Heinrich Himmler and the many infamous party functionaries and bureaucrats who made the concentration camps, prisons and transportation systems run smoothly?

7) Is there a history of disregard for human rights or the refusal to effectively deal with justice issues like starvation, refugees, the abuse of prisoners of war, degradation of the environment, the exploitation of workers and the withholding of adequate healthcare for all? Is there a disregard for displaced and impoverished people, those often labeled as “untermenschen”, ”vermin” or “cockroaches” who, through such stigmatization, become easy targets for all forms of violence - including genocide - which was the strategy of the architects of the holocaust, well-exemplified by right-wing government bureaucrats like Adolf Eichmann?

8) Is the religion of the candidate compatible with the organized, indiscriminate mass slaughter that is modern war? Is the candidate’s god a violent, wrathful, punitive god (which blesses war and makes the slaughter “holy”) or is the candidate’s god an unconditionally loving, forgiving god that commands mercy and the Golden Rule and forbids homicidal violence? Does the church that the candidate belongs to, if he professes to be a follower of Jesus, abide by the ethical nonviolent teachings in the Sermon on the Mount? Is the candidate a member of a church like the racist, xenophobic, nationalist and anti-Semitic “Positive German Christian” church that Hitler established to usurp the Confessing churches of German Protestantism? (Ludwig Muller, an inept Nazi military chaplain was handpicked by Hitler to be the new Protestant bishop at the national synod conference in September of 1933.).

Could it happen here?

Many concerned observers of the current political scene in America have seen alarming trends in the noisy radical right-wingers that have usurped power in the once respectable Republican Party. Book burnings and police state totalitarian rule began in earnest soon  after German fascists drowned democracy in Hitler’s bathtub. It could happen here.
The main thing that American fascism seems to lack is a screeching dictator, but ruling class fascism that is hidden behind corporate boardroom walls can be equally evil. The American form of fascism, which has been called “Friendly American Fascism” may come about by a slow, rolling, bloodless coup almost invisibly brought on by a whole bunch of smiley-faced, good-looking spokespersons (even including sexy-looking blondes and brunettes in short skirts and professionally coiffed hairdos.) This group won’t look anything like the snarling Nazis that are so easy to loathe.

Many of those in the lower 99%, most of whom have been living in poverty for decades or even generations (or are barely clinging to an uncertain and rapidly evaporating middle class existence), are being hypnotized by a diverse group of misleaders that are spouting their propaganda all over the mainstream media, but most of whom haven’t really experienced the American brand of racism, militarism and economic oppression, that the impoverished, the homeless, the jobless, the starving and the discriminated-against have been suffering for generations.
Simple suspicion that a candidate might be a devotee of fascist-leaning politics or economics should be a good-enough reason to withhold ones vote from that politician and to withhold ones purchases from his supportive corporate entity until more is known about the hidden agendas. We all should regard such entities as being “guilty until proven innocent” of treason, corruption or malfeasance. Ruthless entities do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

With practice, applying the advice above can help to make one’s voting decisions, as well as one’s consumer decisions, more easily made.
For more information about fascism, check out Professor Lawrence Britt’s important article, titled “Fascism Anyone?” originally published in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. It can be accessed online at: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=britt_23_2
Dr Kohls is a retired physician who writes about peace, justice, religion, war, politics and mental health issues. He regards it as his professional duty to warn others about the root causes of war, violence and oppression that always accompanies fascism. He is motivated to work for a peaceful world for his children and grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of everyone who is living on this imperiled planet.