Al Gore blasted the "false spontaneity of the Tea Party" and attacked the billionaire Koch brothers for exerting meddlesome corporate influence on American politics in a Huffington Post blog post
Citing a new study, the former vice president slammed the Tea Party, claiming the tobacco industry and billionaires created it more than a decade ago.
Gore said the Tea Party has been growing steadily over time, rather than starting in 2009 as was previously thought.
The Tea Party advocates for less government intervention and lower taxes. Tea Party organizations, particularly Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, oppose smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes.
The study Gore referenced, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, says that "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," Gore wrote.
Gore said that Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks were originally a single organization founded by the Koch brothers that was largely financed by the tobacco industry. The interests merged to promote a common agenda, he claimed.
"Our democracy has been hacked by this expansion of corporate power, preventing meaningful action on several crucial issues," Gore wrote. "We must reclaim control of our destiny. Reducing corporate influence in American politics and reinvigorating reason-based decision-making is vital to the sustainability of our democratic system."
Newsbusters.org, a site devoted to exposing liberal media biases, called Gore's article another example of his "practically patented brand of factually-challenged left-wing propaganda."
On OpenMarket.org, a non-profit public policy organization, Hans Bader called Gore's article a "smear campaign" on the Koch brothers and the tobacco industry.
"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," Bader said. "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 (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."
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