May 29, 2012  |  


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What would the world be like if the Republican Party’s most influential billionaire backers got their way—if “the geezer empire struck back,” as New York magazine writer Frank Rich put it in a recent piece about this posse of unbelievably wealthy white men who have written million-dollar checks to GOP super PACs and non-profits in 2012.

Beyond the usual GOP jeremiads—cutting taxes and government spending, shredding safety nets, eviscerating federal regulation and privatizing whatever remains—many of the GOP’s biggest moneymen have specific issues and goals, often business-related, and would expect a Romney presidency to advance those agendas.

There is no shortage of amazing reporting on top GOP donors, such as Rich’s overview of these "Sugar Daddies" or The New Republic’s profile of 80-year-old Harold Simmons. Add in reports from watchdogs, such as the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, and what emerges is a jaw-dropping class of mega-wealthy, alpha-male vulture capitalists who would barely blink at the human or environmental consequences of cashing out.

The 2012 campaign has been awash in Republican billionaires who have discovered they can write checks—small for them at just a million or two—and are fawned over by political consultants urging them to go for the jugular. Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts is one such political newcomer. He backed off a $10 million race-baiting plan to smear Obama with remarks by his former pastor, but is now investing in a movie where the guilt-by-association is tied to Obama’s absentee Kenyan father.

Other newcomers include William Koch, an avid sailor who has opposed a wind turbine farm off Cape Cod and now grouses about Obama being too regulation friendly, even as the New York Times editorializes that his record reining in corporate excesses is “mediocre.” 

These all-too-predictable political screeds and their billionaire promoters appear as babes in the political woods, actually, when compared to the GOP’s more seasoned big moneymen who have used campaign cash and lobbying to win government intervention on behalf of their private fortunes. In contrast to fulminations against Obama’s anti-colonial heritage or supposedly anti-capitalist inclinations, several billionaire Republicans know exactly why they are investing in Mitt Romney. 

1. Irradiate North America’s Biggest Aquifer?

Harold Simmons has come a long way from his hardscrabble rural Texas roots and schoolteacher parents. In March, he told the Wall Street Journal in a

5 Reasons the ‘Geezer Empire’ of Billionaire Republicans Are Showering Romney With Cash | | AlterNet