During the Affordable Care Act/American Health Care Act debate I wrote of being invited to attend a forum hosted by “Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ staff”. While it was true that Traci Couture, CMR’s District Director, was there, the featured “physician”/speaker was Dr. Roger Stark, a member of the Washington Policy Center. We were all admonished repeatedly to speak into the microphones so Chris Cargill, the Eastern Washington Office Director of WPC, could record our opinions, presumably for later analysis. When Dr. Stark asked for a show of hands of the attendees who were in favor of a single payer system, all attendees raised a hand. I realized this was not really a forum, but a “constituent biopsy”, an effort to gauge the arguments of the opposition.
That experience made it clear to me that the Washington Policy Center functions as Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ brain. As such, it bears watching, which, thanks to the internet, is not all that difficult. You can go right to their website or you can explore WPC’s links to the Koch brother’s donor group, their links to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and their misinformation on climate and the environment, for example, here.
Legislators like Cathy McMorris Rodgers have neither the time nor the money to read widely and form their own opinions, especially if they are not exactly intellectual giants to begin with. Most legislators simply must depend on the framing and “facts” fed them from well-funded institutions like the WPC.
It is worth your while fix the term Washington Policy Center in your memory. Learn the names of some of the talking heads on their staff. Once you do you will notice how often they get quoted and the influence they wield.
It is with that background that I noted the ad I posted above. Just think, prominent donors and Republican supporters in little ‘ol Spokane can attend this Gala Dinner at the Davenport for a mere $150 or sponsor 20 people with a contribution of $15,000. For your donation you’d get a chance to listen to a speech by Nigel Farage, “Briton of the Year”, former leader of the far right UK Independence Party, prominent anti-immigrant spokesperson, engineer of Brexit and friend of Steve Bannon. (There was a rumor that Betsy DeVos was coming to Spokane. I cannot confirm that, but she IS noted somewhere on the WPC website.)
Put September 27th on our calendar. It would be a good evening to take a walk…with a sign. More later.
Keep to the high ground,