03/17/2014 08:54 am ET Updated May 17, 2014

The Koch Prerogative

History does not exactly repeat itself. It is more like an echo.

Stanley Baldwin was the leader of the British Conservative party from 1923 to 1937. He was three times prime Minister in that unsettled time as the Labour Party inexorably displaced the Liberal Party as the other major British political party..

Baldwin's party faced a critical by-election in 1931 and he was being hammered by two ultra wealthy media giants who were brothers in ideology and opposition to Baldwin. Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Roth mere. They were the Koch brothers of the day when a newspaper ownership was a personal political tool, a tradition that survives today in Rupert Murdoch's British media holdings and on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Wikipedia quotes Baldwin as describing them thus:

"The newspapers attacking me are not newspapers in the ordinary sense," Baldwin said. "They are engines of propaganda for the constantly changing policies, desires, personal vices, personal likes and dislikes of the two men. What are their methods? Their methods are direct falsehoods, misrepresentation, half-truths....."

Today you do not have to own a newspaper or television station to advance your personal political objectives. Thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision, you can buy more exposure for views, truthful or not than the press lords ever dreamed possible. The Koch brothers are the poster boys for such corrosion of political integrity today. And the hundreds of millions spent mostly anonymously through "Super PACs" in 2012 will continue their explosive growth.

What stopped the press lords temporarily and won the election for the Conservatives was Baldwin's use of a phrase borrowed from his cousin Rudyard Kipling:

"...What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility - the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."

And that is what the Koch brothers seek. By massive spending they can elect candidates who are totally beholden to them, candidates who when in office will pimp (the only accurate word) for them and their positions.

This is what this great nation has sunk to. What counts is cash. Cash buys votes and candidates. And candidates are pimps for those who have achieved power without any responsibility to use it for the public good. Rather, the harlots -- the modern term whores seems more appropriate -- use their irresponsible power for their private interests.

Stanly Baldwin won his fight with the power of those simple words. Unfortunately the Koch brothers and their fellow travelers can overwhelm the airways an drown out the simple truth. Whores have more to say in our political system than voters or legislators or presidents.