Think about people used to power, used to getting their way. People in positions of authority in large organizations that have the money to convince the weak to agree and to destroy those who would stand up against them.
The large oil companies are used to getting their way, whether it's in places like Africa or Asia where they can buy government leaders or US states where they can do the same. In Alaska, Conoco-Phillips put one of their lawyer/lobbyists into the governorship and two more of their employees into the legislature. They are so used to getting their way, they pay no attention to those who disagree with them - including the Democratic minority.
Think about the people who are currently keeping the Alaska Republican leaders from agreeing to expand Medicaid, despite the overwhelming support for its expansion. NPR had a piece on five states
that have been dealing with Medicaid expansion - Florida, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Alaska. In all these places the Koch Brothers' supported Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has spent a lot of money in opposition to Medicaid expansion.
Montana's a slightly different case from the others. Legislators got angry at AFP for going behind their backs and connecting directly with constituents.
In Alaska, it seems they've gone directly to Chenault and Meyers, the heads of the state house and senate respectively. Because they're saying no to everyone else and refusing to make any concessions. As I said, if you get used to power, you think you can do whatever you want.
Salon has an article on how Americans for Prosperity "blew up" the Tennessee Medicaid expansion bill.
Forbes puts David Koch's wealth at $42.7 billion. They also put Charles Koch at the same amount. I wasn't sure if that amount was combined or individual. Bloomberg, though, puts them jointly at $100 billion.
To get a sense of things, suppose your net worth was $100,000. If you spent the same percentage of your wealth as the Koch brothers it would be something like:
Koch brothers spend $1 million.
You spend $1.
You spend $200 on a candidate.
The Koch brothers would spend $200 million.
This is why people like Tom Hayden were talking about economic democracy back in the 1970s. Because without a reasonably level playing field, we lose democracy.
As we see in the Medicaid fight. And the way Shell can tell Seattle to go to hell, we'll put our oil rigs wherever we damn well please.
* I'm reposting because Feedburner didn't catch this one to blogrolls. Apologies to those who came here earlier. I'm trying to figure out a good way to signal you, so you don't come back to a post you've already seen.