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Rebekah Mercer tries to hide her real agenda. Don’t buy it



You might have heard of the Mercer family. They’re one of the ultra-rich billionaire clans, like the Kochs and Adelsons, on the radical-right side of the political spectrum that funnels secret cash into arch-Republican causes. Jane Mayer, in her sensational 2017 book, Dark Money, describes the patriarch, Robert Mercer, this way: “He had long held the [American] government in low regard and shared the Koch [Brothers’] antipathy toward government regulations.” Mercer led the effort to prevent a mosque from being built near Ground Zero, in Manhattan; he “shared deep skepticism about global warming”; and he “paid for ads that manipulated voters’ fears about terrorism and Medicare.”

The Mercers also are “one of the main stakeholders in Breitbart News,” according to the New Yorker magazine, which called the family part of “a tiny group of mega-donors” to the Republican Party who routinely take advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, in which the Court’s Republican majority ruled that unlimited amounts of secret funding can be channeled anonymously into political campaigns. In the 2016 election cycle, the Mercers contributed at least $22.5 to Republican candidates—and that’s only their disclosed donations. That amount is likely dwarfed by the dark money no one will ever know about. In fact, as Steve Bannon himself told Mayer, when you look at the [Republican] donors during the past four years, [the Mercers] have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the Kochs.”

The Mercers have come under heavy attack from liberals and Constitutionalists, which seems to be why Robert’s daughter, Rebekah, last Thursday wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. Entitled Forget the Media Caricature. Here’s What I Believe,” it is part apologia, part propaganda: her reply to the “absurd smears” from “gullible, but vicious characters” that describe her family as “racist, anti-Semitic and anti-science.”

Rebekah begins with the kind of standard platitudes we’ve come to expect from someone defending her character. “I believe in a kind and generous United States, where the hungry are fed, the sick are cared for, and the homeless are sheltered.” That sounds pretty good: Barack Obama might have said it. Sounding more and more like a Democrat, Rebekah adds, “I reject as venomous and ignorant any discrimination based on race, gender, creed, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

All well and good so far. But does the Mercer family’s actual behavior match Rebekah’s inspiring words? Unfortunately, the secretive nature of their funding makes it very difficult to uncover just where all their money and influence goes. But here are some things we know.

For starters, notice how Rebekah’s “I reject” list, above, doesn’t include “discrimination” based on religion, as you’d expect a full list to do. That’s because she does discriminate against Muslims, as proven by her anti-mosque stance.

What else? The Mercers are super anti-Clintonites, although they’ve never been able to explain just why. Mercer millions went to a lawsuit against the Clinton Foundation between 2012-2014, for access to the group’s emails, in a failed effort to delegitimize Hillary Clinton and hand the government over to low-taxing Republicans.

The Mercers also are prime backers of a shadowy organization, the Government Accountability Institute, whose publications were an influential source of talking points for Trump allies during this election cycle, providing fodder for one of Trump’s early salvos against Clinton in a speech in June and regularly populating the pages of Breitbart.” (Rebekah Mercer is on the GAI’s board.) The Mercers also consistently back white supremacist groups; as the website Flagpole reports, “Trump and Breitbart”—both of whom benefit from Mercer money—“serve as ‘bridges’ to white supremacy” through the Mercer’s continued support of racists like Milo Yiannopoulos.

The Mercers initially backed Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination, so it’s fair to look at Cruz’s record as a reflection of the Mercers’ beliefs. Cruz was the only Senator to vote against any form of a path to citizenship for the Dreamers.

So much for no discrimination based on race and ethnicity!

When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, Cruz said the issue would be “front and center” in his own presidential campaign. Calling the ruling “the very definition of tyranny,” he urged states to ignore it and outlaw gay marriage anyway.

So much for no discrimination against sexual orientation!

Cruz led the fight in the Senate against food stamps.

So much for treating the poor with “dignity and compassion.” So much for “a kind and generous United States”!

Cruz introduced the “Obamacare Repeal Act” to “repeal the Affordable Care Act as if such Act had not been enacted.”

So much for a country “where the sick are cared for.”

In a First Amendment case testing the limits of government sponsorship of Christianity, Cruz represented the American Legion in arguing in favor of a cross that had been erected in the Mohave Desert—a decision that was upheld by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court. And yet Cruz called for more funding of police “to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

So much for “treating all people with dignity and compassion.”

It’s only natural, I suppose, to want to defend your name when it’s been called into question in the media. That is Rebekah Mercer’s right. But what she cannot evade are the facts: her family supports the wrong values, the wrong causes, the wrong candidates, the wrong vision of America. Despite her pious homilies in the Wall Street Journal, Rebekah Mercer’s money funds the anti-science, tea party anger, nationalist ignorance and white supremacism of the far right wing of the Republican Party. She can put lipstick on a pig. But it’s still a pig.


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