The Phantom Koch Menace

Let’s face it: the Democrats are scared. Polling shows them down, Nate Silver now projects the Republicans to gain the Senate this year and while Hillary is popular in Democrat circles, it is quite likely she would lose a general election. There is a very real possibility the Republicans could control both Houses and the White House in 2017.

There are many ways for the Democrats to respond to this downturn in their political fortunes. They could work on getting their message out. They could change their agenda to be more in tune with reality and the needs of the … spttt … teeheeehee …. OK, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face. I actually think the best political strategy for anyone, regardless of party, is just to shut the hell up and let your opponents defeat themselves.

But no, they’ve decided that the path to electoral victory is … attacking the Koch Brothers. I’m not joking. Harry Reid has been lambasting them on the Senate Floor. A progressive group incorrectly accused them of being behind the Keystone XL pipeline (said group being under the impression that Americans oppose it). That turned into a hilarious incident in which the WaPo mindlessly repeated their bogus claims. When called on it, they said:

The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.

In short, the Democrats are going to make the Koch Brothers an issue so we are going to make them an issue, facts be damned.

There’s only one problem. Most Americans could give a rat’s backside about the Koch Brothers. Half of Americans don’t even know who they are. Another fifth don’t care. The only people who really care about them are … passionate partisan Inside the Beltway Democrats and their adherents.

This a perfect distillation of how the Democrats have gone from the Party of Destiny to the Party of Density. They are constantly railing about side issues that no one cares about, constantly glomming onto some issue that they think will propel them to victory. They do this because when it comes to the most important issue right now — the economy — they haven’t the faintest foggiest fucking clue as to what to do about it.

If the Democrats think they’re going to ride Koch hatred to victory, they are deeply mistaken. But then again, they’re mistaken about almost everything.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    Anyone that doesn’t like the failed, crony, big government “solutions” the left loves is an evil profiteer. And yes, solutions is in quotes because the left’s solutions, wiithout fail, always result in bigger problems. That they would like to prevent us from talking about that doesn’t make it otherwise.

    The old tactic of accusing anyone that dared point out how horrible the shit the left pushes of being motivated by some evil notion – racism, sexism, homophobia, greed, the need to drink the blood of children and eat their organs, or any other such bullshit – no longer has the effectivity it used to. back when the mere accusation was enough to silence anyone that dared to point these failures out. We should thank our first black president for the way the left beat that dead horse so badly that nobody but low information leftists take these despicable tactics intended to silence those that point the failures out seriously anymore.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    The funny thing is that the Kochs don’t fit into the left-right box. They are very fiscally conservative but they support gay marriage, pot legalization and a few other socially liberal positions. They funded the Berkeley Earth program which has provided the best temperature record analysis yet (something that goes against their business interests). But they refuse to accept these facts. It’s hilarious because you’ll get into arguments with people where they refuse to believe these facts because they’ve been told that the Kochs are pure evil. And if they’re evil, they must, by definition, oppose gay marriage and science, right?

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  3. Xetrov

    This is an interesting list – http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

    Koch Industries is on it at 59th place for all time donations. It does not count individual donations. Unless I counted wrong, there are 18 different unions ahead of Koch Industries for donations, and all of them lean heavily to the left. The American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees alone more than tripled Koch Industries donations. 81% to Democrats, 1% to Republicans. You have to go down to 17th place before you find an organization/company that heavily favors Republicans over Democrats (UPS).

    But the Koch Brothers are the problem.

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  4. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. Xetrov

    This piece attempts to compare the Koch spending to union spending at the 2012 election.
    http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/blog/1936/koch_spends_more_than_double_top_ten_unions_combined/

    POSTED BY LEE FANG

    http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/reporters/leefang/

    Lee Fang is a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund and a contributing writer at The Nation magazine. He previously covered lobbying and conservative movements as a blogger with ThinkProgress.org.

    Why are you wasting my time?

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  6. CM

    So does that mean the amount left out (because it’s certain Super PAC spending or undisclosed ‘dark money spending’) is irrelevant?

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  7. Xetrov

    Why would I be inclined to include Super PAC spending when it wasn’t part of the list I found?

    If you want Super PAC spending for 2012, it’s here – http://projects.wsj.com/super-pacs/

    “Restore Our Future” the super PAC that is often attributed to belonging to the Koch brothers spent $142,097,462 in 2012. Definitely the most according to the WSJ, but a far cry from the $400+ million the Soros disciple claims. Of course, neither of the Koch brothers are listed in the top donor list to it. http://projects.wsj.com/super-pacs/#/2012/committees/C00490045

    I do find it ironic that you would post an article trying to demonize the Koch brothers that was written by someone who was at one point funded by George Soros.

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  8. Xetrov

    Looking more into this “dark money spending” (oooh, scary), and apparently Union spending doesn’t stop with outright donations:

    The American Federation of Teachers donated $2 million and The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees donated $1 million to Majority PAC.

    The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipe Fitting Industry gave $1.5 million, The American Federation of Teachers gave another $1.5 million, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association gave $1.25 million, and SEIU, UAW Education Fund, and International Union of Painters each gave $1 million to Priorities USA Action (so did George Soros, but shhh).

    House Majority PAC has similar union donations (and from good old George).

    And then of course there are the Union PAC’s themselves. AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC raised over $20 million almost all of it from various Unions. The Service Employees International Union PAC raised over $16 million ALL of which came from that union.

    Holy crap, Unions have some serious cash.

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  9. CM

    Why would I be inclined to include Super PAC spending when it wasn’t part of the list I found?

    Because it clearly makes up a considerable portion of money being spent to help particularly parties – isn’t that your point, that the Kochs’ are considerably outspent and therefore cannot be considered ‘a problem’. If someone is wanting to make any sort of point about the extent of Koch spending, and comparing it to others (for example unions) then surely you’d need to include all spending by all groups/individuals, no matter how they get it there. Not just part of it.

    The $407 million doesn’t come from that “Soros disciple”:

    But they have substantial firepower. Together, the 17 conservative groups that made up the network raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign, according to the analysis of tax returns by The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-backed-political-network-built-to-shield-donors-raised-400-million-in-2012-elections/2014/01/05/9e7cfd9a-719b-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html

    The Center for Responsive Politics is opensecrets,com, your own original source.

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  10. Xetrov

    Because it clearly makes up a considerable portion of money being spent to help particularly parties

    And? Providing a list of individual and corporate direct donations to elections isn’t pertinent to a discussion about the left attacking

    Your pedantic comments aside, the original article you posted, and the actual numbers still don’t come close to matching, even when you include “dark spending”..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-backed-political-network-built-to-shield-donors-raised-400-million-in-2012-elections/2014/01/05/9e7cfd9a-719b-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html

    The Center for Responsive Politics is opensecrets,com, your own original source.

    Caution, goal post movement in progress.

    From:

    Koch Spends More Than Double Top Ten Unions Combined

    For the last election, Koch PAC spent $4.9 million in disclosed contributions (figures that appear on the chart referenced by Strassel). But they also spent over $407 million on undisclosed campaign entities, which does not show up in the CRP chart.

    in your original source to:

    Its funders remain largely unknown; the coalition was carefully constructed with extensive legal barriers to shield its donors.

    But they have substantial firepower. Together, the 17 conservative groups that made up the network raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign, according to the analysis of tax returns by The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

    So the Koch brothers didn’t spend over $407 million themselves, they just have a legal organization that helps other super rich people donate money to campaigns. Fascinating.

    Considering the hostile environment this administration has created against private citizens (*), can you blame these rich people from wanting to protect their identities as much as the law will allow?

    My overwhelming problem in this is that there are unions that have so much money that they can donate tens of millions in union dues to liberal politicians, and there are many members of those unions who get no say where their money goes, yet are forced to keep paying dues thanks to laws these liberal politicians pass. You don’t see a problem there.

    * http://l.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/behind-the-curtain-a-brief-history-of-romneys-donors/

    * http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/jw-obtains-records-detailing-obama-administrations-warrantless-collection-of-citizens-personal-financial-data/

    * http://www.thewrap.com/barack-obama-fox-news-rush-limbaugh

    * http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/02/obama-uses-wh-press-corps-as-threat-against-chrysler-investors/

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  11. Hal_10000 *

    CM, I find that analysis fo $400 million *extremely* deceptive. What they are doing is lumping Koch-supported groups in with the Kochs. So if the Koch Brothers gave $1 million to some group that spent $120 million, they’re credited with the entire $120 million.

    This is the whole problem I have with the Koch boogeyman. It attributes much more influence to them than they have. It casts as shadowy and sinister things that are considered normal when someone other than the Koch Brothers do it. It, frankly, smacks of conspiracy theories. They’ll be on about the Freemasons next.

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  12. Miguelito

    The same Koch boogeyman bit happened recently in Florida about some legislation (gun related IIRC). Headlines screamed that they Kochs were for the legislation when it turned out they’d given the group that was pushing for it, a few thousand $ in the past, and they had nothing at all to do with any direction, especially regarding said legislation.

    Xetrov, on your first link to the opensecrets page and unions vs the rest.. that’s usually always followed (kinda surprised it didn’t pop up yet) by the argument that “unions are just groups of people working together.” I love that one.. as if companies aren’t. Also, it ignores the points already made that much of that political union money is spent against the wishes of many people that either are members of the union by choice but don’t necessarily like the particular political spending, or worse, people that are members because they had no choice (sans not having a job, of course).

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  13. CM

    Yep all good points. And no, I don’t blame them. And yes I do agree that union members should know where their money goes (and I don’t actually think unions should be giving money to politicians at all).

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