Note to Dems: Run Against the Koch Brothers.
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:35:46 PM EST
If we want to beat Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Astroturf phenomena that is the Tea Party movement, why not go for the jugular vein?  Define every GOP candidate as a surrogate for the Koch Brothers.
It seems as if the Tea Party movement has energized the Right and that the Left seems lethargic. But what is the solution?  The idea of Democratic candidates running against George W. Bush is a tactic of past campaigns.

The Dems need a bogeyman who can both revitalize liberals and frighten the daylights out of Independent voters.  This someone should be able to make even old time patrician conservatives uncomfortable -- in much the way that the demagogic populist conservatism of George Wallace and Lester Maddox did in another era. Indeed, Tea Party conservatism is undoubtedly causing William Buckley, Jr. to spin in his grave.

There are two such bogeymen available. And although they are not GOP candidates, I am not sure that they need to be to serve the purpose.

The brothers Koch, Charles and David Koch have received some long overdue expose in The New Yorker by Jane Mayer -- as well as recent pieces by Joe Conason and Frank Rich.  These have pulled aside the dark curtain that has obscured their activities and cast some disinfecting sunlight upon their nefarious political empire.

As Meyer noted in The New Yorker:

As their fortunes grew, Charles and David Koch became the primary underwriters of hard-line libertarian politics in America. Charles's goal, as Doherty described it, was to tear the government "out at the root." The brothers' first major public step came in 1979, when Charles persuaded David, then thirty-nine, to run for public office. They had become supporters of the Libertarian Party, and were backing its Presidential candidate, Ed Clark, who was running against Ronald Reagan from the right.

Meyer also details the kind of America the Koch brothers envision for the rest of us:

Many of the ideas propounded in the 1980 campaign presaged the Tea Party movement. Ed Clark told The Nation that libertarians were getting ready to stage "a very big tea party," because people were "sick to death" of taxes. The Libertarian Party platform called for the abolition of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., as well as of federal regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Energy. The Party wanted to end Social Security, minimum-wage laws, gun control, and all personal and corporate income taxes; it proposed the legalization of prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide. Government should be reduced to only one function: the protection of individual rights. William F. Buckley, Jr., a more traditional conservative, called the movement "Anarcho-Totalitarianism."

To that end, the various Koch family foundations fund libertarian think tanks and advocacy groups. Among them are the Cato Institute (co-founded in 1977 by Charles Koch) and the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution where Alveda King, a featured speaker at Glenn Lee Beck's August 28, 2010 "Restoring Honor rally" - also funded by the Koch brothers - is a Senior Fellow.

Alveda King is not their only effort to manipulate the faith of ordinary folks in order to advance their economic agenda. The brothers bankroll, via family foundations  neoconservative and religoius right groups that seek to destroy the Social Gospel message of both Catholicism and the mainline Protestant denominations and transform them into apologists for buccaneer-style laissez-faire capitalism.  These are groups such as the Ethics and Public Policy Center  ("EPPC") and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty .

EPPC members such as Eric Cohen and Rick Santorum have been vocal opponents of both embryonic stem cell research an LGBT rights. Such support underscores two important points: first, it creates a dilemma for working class voters who while being economically sympathetic with Democrats vote against their interests out of a sense of damnation anxiety; secondly, it takes to heart Catholic Right activist Robert P. George's recent claim the agendas of both economic and religious conservatives are one and the same.

Frank Rich reported in his August 29, 2010 column:

Tea Partiers may share the Kochs' detestation of taxes, big government and Obama. But there's a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business, whether on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico, while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly.

Yet inexorably the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by current Republican members of Congress, including the putative next speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and the new kid on the block, Alaska's anti-Medicaid, anti-unemployment insurance Palin protégé, Joe Miller. Their program opposes a federal deficit, but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the superrich; apologizes to corporate malefactors like BP and derides money put in escrow for oil spill victims as a "slush fund"; opposes the extension of unemployment benefits; and calls for a freeze on federal regulations in an era when abuses in the oil, financial, mining, pharmaceutical and even egg industries (among others) have been outrageous.

This is laissez-faire economics at its worst and most cynical. The Koch brothers desire an economic system where capitalism is perverted, reduced to a vehicle for the powerful to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens instead of it being a vibrant engine that creates meritoriously earned wealth for the many. In short, they are the poster boys for arbitrary economic power. It is they, not a government of, by and for the people that needs to be feared.

Well, if the Tea Party movement and the fringe candidates it has spawned so rely on the Koch brothers, let's give the voters them in good healthy doses. Let the DNC make every GOP candidate from Linda McMahon to Sharron Angle to Joe Miller a running mate of the these two troubadours of  laissez-faire.  Let the rank and file Tea Party joiner know what the Koch brothers really think of them. As Joe Conason keenly noted:

It certainly seems unlikely that David Koch has ever encountered any of the folks who turn up at a typical tea party event or that he has ever showed up at a congressional town hall meeting to scream about health care reform. He lives on Park Avenue in a 9,000-square-foot duplex apartment and spends his time cultivating elitist Manhattan society with donations to New York cultural institutions, notably the ballet. He used to divide his time between a yacht in the south of France and a palatial home in the Hamptons, where he hosted "an East Coast version of Hugh Hefner's soirees" in the clothes-optional Playboy mansion.

In short, Mr. Koch is not exactly a pitchfork populist and  doesn't care much what they think. A former Koch adviser told The New Yorker that the Kochs back the tea party movement for the most cynical reasons. "This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves."

The Kochs are kooks, and have been willing to bankroll the likes of Dick Army's Americans for Properity to spread their brand of far right kookery via front groups we now call the Tea Party movement (Can you say, The Kook Brothers?). (Did you know that David Koch is the Chairman of this group?) Let the American people know that of they elect a Rand Paul, a Pat Toomey, and put in place a GOP-controlled Congress that they are essentially handing the reigns of power over to the Kochs and their Kooky brand of conservatism.

The shadowy, anti-democratic politics of the Koch brothers cannot stand the light of day.
Let's let the sun keep shining in their dark corners of American politics.  It could make a decisive difference in November.

...I'm actually citing Frank Rich and Michael Gerson. But I did so because I had to admit they both hit the mark this time.

The DNC has to say what I pointed out earlier about this particularly nasty strain of libertarian belief: "This is what Tea Party advocates such as Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe mean when they demand "Give us liberty!". It is liberty for a select, fortunate few; the freedom from having profit distributed based upon merit, contribution or special skills but instead via unchecked power."

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:47:33 PM EST

I wish the Dems would make the Koch brothers the issue, but the corporate press surely would ignore it in their haste to cover up ginned up controversy.

by khughes1963 on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 01:16:59 AM EST
 If the DNC pounds away at the Kochs by using TV ads that morph GOP candidates into the boys while following up with spin-meisters having their talking points ready, the msm cannot avoid but making the Kochs the issue.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:34:49 AM EST
When their masters (the elites) speak, the corporate press obeys.  It's been shown again and again that they are not really free to report on the news, and contrary to public opinion and propaganda, the news is very neoliberally biased (if not conservatively biased).

Even the best of them (NPR, for instance) has been shown to be biased at times.  As an example - the reporting on the Jena Six situation... the most accurate sources of information (based on court/congressional testimony and official documents) are the websites set up to specifically support the Jena Six (they were derided and attacked as "socialist" or "black racists").  Every other venue lacked specific information- like the fact that the only adult eyewitness account of the "beating" showed that Bell wasn't involved (although he went to jail for it).  Many other aspects of that situation (which I studied and analyzed, specifically the reporting on it) have never hit the news.  Those aspects change the situation from how it's perceived in general, to rabid small town racists getting away with discrimination and prejudice.

My research and analysis found that the more conservative, the more distorted and wrong the reporting on the situation.  Fox News and Rev. Moon's "paper" were so racist and wrong it was pathetic.  Yet people actually think they report the truth and can be trusted.

While doing literature review, I learned that the news services have a long history of selective reporting (and careful selection of wording) that promotes racism and supports the status quo.  It's been a couple of years since I did the research, but as I remember there were quite a few analyses that showed the deliberate selective reporting and wording.   I seriously doubt the elites will want a couple of their own to be exposed like that, even though I would hope it would happen.


While I do hope this news (of the Koch brothers) hits the networks (it'd be nice to see some truth get in there), at the same time I'm not going to hold my breath.  

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 10:08:18 AM EST

as usual.
But I, the Proofreader from Hell, must suggest that we aim for the jugular (and spare the poor juggler).

by nogodsnomasters on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:33:08 PM EST
Ah, the sins of a dyslexic!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:27:08 PM EST

Great article and a good idea for an ad, morphing the Koch brothers into the GOP candidate. It would probably work in some places, but down here in Mississippi it probably wouldn't matter. Whatever FOX says is the gospel, doncha know?

The rest of the nation will have to lead the way; the south is going (further) mad with Tea Partyitis.
Besides, we love us some kleptocrats down here!

by COinMS on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 03:43:39 PM EST

Your readers can depend on you to lay bare the truth behind the rightwing.

by bettyclermont on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 02:49:59 PM EST

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