Fink's comments about "the Founding Fathers" invite some reply from those who have studied the formation and history of the American Constitution. It is striking for its flawed view of history and for the glimpse it offers of the full extent of the brothers' far-right agenda.
To many Americans on the right, the "Founding Fathers" (the phrase, as Jill Lepore reports in her book, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History, was coined by that world statesman, Warren G. Harding) are gods. They have to be perfect, or America might not be perfect. That's why crackpots like Michele Bachmann insist that the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention were actually seeking to abolish slavery. There's no evidence of that; but, like the story of Joshua making the sun stand still, it just has to be true.
Let's take Fink seriously, though, and imagine he is talking about the actual historical figures who helped create the American republic in the 18th century. The fact that the Koch brothers are billionaires seeking to augment their fortunes doesn't, in and of itself, make them a different breed of cat than the Founders. Some of them (Jefferson, Adams) were old rich; others (Washington, for example) were new rich; and some (Hamilton, for example) wanted desperately to become rich. Economic interest -- the Virginians' dependence on slave labor, Washington's holdings in Western real estate, Hamilton's vision of wealth as a commercial lawyer -- influenced their vision of what the new country should become. The Koch brothers aren't morally pure, but neither were the "founding brothers" of the Revolution and federal period.
Political forces unfriendly to our form of government have begun to transform it from within
"This was a very small group of people that were a minority that changed the whole country," Fink says. No different from a SuperPAC, in other words. Except that's not exactly how it happened. Despite what some people imagine today, both the Revolution and the Constitution didn't just break out because some folks got tired of paying a tax on tea. They arose out of serious, prolonged, disciplined involvement with public institutions. The colonies moved from loyalty to independence, and then from independence to nationhood, within a framework of public debate and self-government. Over and over, the major Founders perceived a public need. They met privately to discuss what should be done, to be sure; but then they took their ideas public, and took responsibility for them. They didn't hire others to run for office; they ran themselves, and put their reputations on the line.
They did "spread the influence around."
Were they seeking to create a Koch-style libertarian utopia -- a country where established wealth helps itself to public resources and the common people deferentially tug their forelocks? Hardly. The roots of "American exceptionalism" lie in the idea that ordinary Americans would be masters of their destinies -- not serfs to a hereditary nobility, not servants of established wealth. If you want a picture of the Founding generation's nightmare, consider the election packet recently sent to 45,000 employees of Georgia-Pacific, owned by the Koch Brothers. In no uncertain terms, the packet explains which candidates in national and state races employees are to vote for.