'We Are Koch'
January 27, 2015 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign - "an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history... These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. Now the Kochs' network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party's dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government."
posted by kliuless (77 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
2016 seems like their "last best hope".
posted by anonymisc at 4:26 PM on January 27, 2015


Hell, after a few years as emperor, Palpatine pretty much didn't care if people could see his g-string underwear up his robes.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Somewhere, deep below a giant boulder, the Koch brothers slinked out of the shadows and looked at the monitor that gave them a view of the world above ground, smoldering and barren. Occasionally, a figure - human? - would appear and immediately collapse to the ground, clutching at its throat.

The younger brother turned to the older brother, an anxious look on his face.

"We saved America, didn't we? At long last we saved it."

As the power slowly died and the oxygen circulators shut down, the older brother, with his final breath, happily hissed "Yes, its safe. America is safe."

They both lost consciousness in the dark on a pile of warm money and then were immediately whisked away to Objectivist heaven.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2015 [59 favorites]


Someone posted on twitter this morning that to put that number in context, sometimes their total net wealth fluctuates by more than that amount over the course of a day.
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:39 PM on January 27, 2015 [26 favorites]


2016 seems like their "last best hope".

Their last best hope of what? Spending the bargain-basement sum of less than a billion to reshape the landscape of American politics?
posted by blucevalo at 4:39 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


2016 seems like their "last best hope".

People keep predicting the death of the Republican/Koch party, notwithstanding 2010, 2014 and the enormous successes they've achieved in 30+ statehouses.

Let's not 'hurfdurf, demographics' them away 18 months before the election, mmkay? They're in this for the long haul, and the Kochs could spend this much in 50 straight elections and still be worth 50+ bil$. They're not going away, ever.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:40 PM on January 27, 2015 [42 favorites]


It's pretty awesome to watch them blow such a staggering amount of cash, since the similar mountain of cash they spent in the last election failed to elect their man.

It's interesting how some people who are so good at certain things (in this case the Koch brothers running their business) are so utterly, terribly bad at other things (the Koch brothers and politics).

It's the height of vanity, and it would be more comical save for the massive amount of money that just evaporates into thin air.
posted by Nevin at 4:40 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is what would have happened if the Duke Brothers had been allowed to corner the concentrated frozen orange juice market.
posted by delfin at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [55 favorites]


Maybe we can get them to blow more of their cash on unnecessary fancy brutalist plazas in front of museums, opera houses, and the like.
posted by phooky at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


...and we're done.
posted by Sphinx at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2015


It's pretty awesome to watch them blow such a staggering amount of cash, since the similar mountain of cash they spent in the last election failed to elect their man.

Its not ultimately about electing a president, but electing governors and friendly state houses and senates. Sure, they'd love to have their own pet president, but they're doing really well with Walker, Brownback, et al.

We on the left have got to get into local politics in an aggressive way or its going to be McConnells all the way down.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:47 PM on January 27, 2015 [54 favorites]


Has there been a reliable study on just where the money goes?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 4:51 PM on January 27, 2015


You gotta spend money to make money.
posted by bstreep at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


You gotta spend other people's money to make your own money.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 4:58 PM on January 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


These people are one of the reasons we cannot have nice things. What does public debate mean when 80 people are rich beyond the dreams of Croesus and have larger wealth than the other billions sharing their planet? The Supreme Court has ruled that Worthington's Law (more money == better than) is not just a Mr Show sketch, it's the law. The Overton window keeps getting shifted ever so slightly to the right, same as it ever was.

At least the media companies and consultants are raking in a lot of cash.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:58 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is starting to resemble the goings-on in Gibson's The Peripheral. I'm beginning to wonder if we're someone's stub.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's pretty awesome to watch them blow such a staggering amount of cash, since the similar mountain of cash they spent in the last election failed to elect their man.

I'll preface the next statement with the fact that rich people can be just as dumb about money as anybody else. Note that it is probably likely the Koch operation involved a calculated risk that this amount, as staggering as it is, was worth it for the legislative returns. As Joey Michaels notes, the "big prize" is not the election at all, but the thousands of lower offices that actually control things like, you know, whether your subsidiary-of-a-subsidiary is allowed to dump their trash into the local river without being fined. Those things add up to significant cash savings.

Look at any of those transparency initiatives and note how inexpensive it is to buy a senator. Things like, you know, Chevron sending their favorite senators each the cost of a used Civic, in exchange for millions in special legislative actions.

So, that's the thing that scares me most about the Kochs, not "lol dumb rich people" but, considering the option that this is actually a savvy business move.
posted by odinsdream at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2015 [33 favorites]


2016 seems like their "last best hope".

Death comes for all, but billions can buy a lot of life support.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Palin/Trump for America
posted by sammyo at 5:15 PM on January 27, 2015


I think it's a little simplistic to think that they're doing this to reap measurable financial gain. Maybe once, but now they're probably just doing it because they can and want to. This sum represents about 1/100th of their total worth -- I spend more (%) on coffee each year and that gains me fuck all.
posted by hafehd at 5:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't even know what else to say. We all know the deal here, but in the face of all that money, and plenty of people willing to take that money and their marching orders from the Kochs, it seems like all we can do is run for local offices and vote!
posted by droplet at 5:35 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please God let them spend at least half of it on Sarah Palin'a campaign.
posted by fshgrl at 5:51 PM on January 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Kochs know that Palin, Trump, and their ilk are never going to win; they are running to make money for themselves on books, tv shows, etc.

What we have to worry about is them making Scott Walker our next President.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:12 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


God Bless America.

Sigh.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:19 PM on January 27, 2015


The truly scary thing to me is this: once they lose they will realize how much of the Democratic Party they could buy instead.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:27 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


We can ignore them again like we did last time, right? No, I am sure Rove will be happy this time! Kick that football again. It only costs a billion each time, ya wanks.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:33 PM on January 27, 2015


I walk my dog behind David Koch's alma mater Deerfield Academy several times a week. I park at the David H. Koch "science" building, in which, I'm guessing, zero climate science is taught. But the Koch universe has no problem with this, I'm sure.
posted by Camofrog at 6:35 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I miss the billionaires who used to attempt takeovers with giant robots and atomic death rays.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:36 PM on January 27, 2015 [9 favorites]



It's pretty awesome to watch them blow such a staggering amount of cash, since the similar mountain of cash they spent in the last election failed to elect their man.


They didn't elect their man, but they're still pushing their agenda.

Keystone XL is still pushing through. All sorts of state level issues are being decided in their favor, all the way to a ban on bus lanes in Tennessee. It might be just an idee fixee in two brothers who are still intent on honoring their father by pretending he was a self made capitalist. But quite frankly they could make a case that this money is an investment and that it will pay off in economic rent going their way.
posted by ocschwar at 6:41 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do not mistake this for a simple moneymaking scheme -- though Deregulate Everything So We Can Control Everything is a large part of it. There's also a large chunk of ideological vengeance at work here.

When your father was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, you grow up with dangerous ideas about America and what it should stand for. When you have ridiculous amounts of wealth and the influence that brings, contempt for anything standing in your way is not uncommon. When you have both of those, the Supreme Court has said "go ahead and use your wealth as a political siege engine any way you like now," the Republican Party's prion disease is visibly advancing and you are in your mid-to-late seventies, AND your family name has turned into a caricature of Wealthy Bastardry, fuck it, all in, it's time to go full Montgomery Burns and stick it to the peons and the pinkos and anyone else who thinks anyone other than you and your kind should be in charge.

They want people elected who will let them do whatever they want to do, but they also want people elected who will reboot America's caste system and shred the safety nets. They don't want just Obamacare repealed, they want the New Deal wiped clean away. They want to leave this earth with America the way they feel it should've been all along. And, piece by piece, they might get it.
posted by delfin at 6:41 PM on January 27, 2015 [45 favorites]


What if they threw that money at doing something kind of good? Just a little bit good?

Can you imagine? They can't, I know.

But yeah, so what delfin said.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:44 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Keystone XL is still pushing through.

The Keystone XL which Obama has now pledged to veto and appears may be DOA?
posted by Justinian at 6:51 PM on January 27, 2015


The Keystone XL which Obama has now pledged to veto and appears may be DOA?

Oh.

Well, the bakeries are closed, so I'm not going to get my words written on a cake so I can eat them.
Yet.
posted by ocschwar at 6:54 PM on January 27, 2015


It's only a minor victory, frankly, so I am not breaking out the party hats and balloons yet either.
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on January 27, 2015


The Keystone XL which Obama has now pledged to veto and appears may be DOA?

It'll never get passed under an Obama administration but, to the Republicans and petro-state Dems, it just doesn't matter. Keystone XL has become just like Obamacare repeal-- a political shibboleth for their base and a cudgel to hit Obama.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:56 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Koch brothers don’t care if you care about their plans to buy 2016 election - If you were expecting journalists to express much consternation at the idea that a group of the super-wealthy are openly announcing their intention to buy the next election, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, the news is being reported more like that of a record-breaking contract for a professional athlete: wonder at the sums involved, but precious little moral outrage. That’s mostly because political reporters tend to believe that election campaigns are already nothing but a parade of deception and manipulation, an enterprise that’s inherently corrupt. So what’s a little more corruption?

...

In his 2003 novel Jennifer Government, Max Barry imagines a future in which the penetration of capitalism and marketing has become so total that people take the names of their corporate employers as their own last names; characters are called things like John Nike, Nathaniel ExxonMobil, and Calvin McDonalds.

We may not have gotten quite that far yet, but the next Republican president — whether that person is elected in 2016 or after — will have been sponsored, supported, elevated, and outfitted by the Koch brothers and their friends. Should a Republican candidate they don’t like show promise in the primaries, he will surely be crushed by the awesome machine they’re building. The winner may not take their name (Scott Walker-Koch, perhaps?), but he or she will be in their debt to a degree we have not previously contemplated. And the consensus will be that that’s just how things work now.

posted by T.D. Strange at 6:58 PM on January 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


I wish people like this were more into using their vast resources to build moon hotels and Mars colonies and nuclear fusion reactors and functional health care systems and clean industrial infrastructure and museums and all the rest of it instead of waging ideological siege warfare. It's all such a waste.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:04 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


What I love are all the people who insist that the money doesn't change anything in politics.

McDonald's spends around $1 billion a year on advertising. One of two things is true: either McDonald's is pissing away that money on nothing and its shareholders don't care (not completely impossible actually); or the executives at one of the largest 100 companies in the country believe that billions of dollars in purchases are influenced by their advertising.
posted by zachlipton at 7:04 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Gross.
posted by maxwelton at 7:08 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


This much money and attention. Again. Huh.

I don't believe this is mere banality. This isn't just rah-rah Republicans. It's not even rah-rah oil and filthy lucre.

They want something specific out of this. Something that will take time, and the presidency is but the fulcrum to the real goal. Something only the president can do.

They want a treaty. They want a Supreme Court. They want an invasion. They want a pardon.

This is some real Tywin Lannister shit right here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


The truly scary thing to me is this: once they lose they will realize how much of the Democratic Party they could buy instead.

And what makes you think they're not already hedging? ;->
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


They want a Supreme Court.

Nailed it.

Whoever wins in 2016 controls the Supreme Court. Another Scalia or Alito in place of Ginsburg and it's over, they won. 5 permanent votes to repeal every last shred of the New Deal all the way back to Lochner. There's no such thing as 'impartial' SCOTUS Justices, and the Court is the last place in American politics where the intractable gridlock preventing either side from achieving large goals at once is vulnerable, and big wins are within reach. Five Koch Justices* gives them de facto control over the entire country.

* - They might need two replacements, depending on your view of Anthony Kennedy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's the height of vanity, and it would be more comical save for the massive amount of money that just evaporates into thin air.

It hardly disappears into thin air. It'll probably employ quite a few people over the next few years. In fact, it's probably the closest to downward redistribution that the Koch family fortune ever gets.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:12 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Has there been a reliable study on just where the money goes?

I know where the money goes!

Part of the hubbub around 501c4 organizations is because they don't have to disclose their donors because they are social welfare organizations. So what does that mean? Specifically, "However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity."

Numbers and names chosen for ease of illustration.

Let's say I'm a big-time businessman, looking to get certain legislative or judicial outcomes. I spend a billion dollars on "Americans for America," a 501c4, that engages in 49% political activism, 1% on personnel and admin, and 50% on "social welfare." What social welfare? "Building Better Businesses," a 501c4. BBB spends 49% political activism, 1% personnel and admin, 50% on social welfare. What social welfare? "Creating Conscientious Communities," a 501c4. CCC spends 49% political activism, 1% personnel and admin, 50% social welfare. What social welfare? ...

Repeat a few iterations, and you end up with some small fish at the bottom, doing voter registration or giving all their money to the Red Cross - and, of course, complaining when the IRS looks askance at their 501c4 application.

This scam is so easy, I could run it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 PM on January 27, 2015 [23 favorites]


They both lost consciousness in the dark on a pile of warm money speech.

FTFY.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:57 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history

Isn't that every presidential election?

Not, at all, discounting the fiscal thuggery they're going to employ. Just saying.. every presidential election costs more than the one before it, no? Obama spent nearly a billion.

That's fucking terrifying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:09 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is that how it actually works the man of twists and turns? I thought they just count as "social welfare" the money they spend on issue ads or other efforts that don't directly involve saying "vote for X."
posted by zachlipton at 9:17 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's craziest/saddest about this is it could all be nipped in the bud by two simple steps.
One, implement an accountable, verifiable vote-counting system.
Two, make all elections of public officials publicly funded.

It'll never happen, but things like the Koch Bros only function the way they do because the mechanisms of our democracy allow them to. Nothing says you have to keep these mechanisms (Electoral college, etc.) to keep Democracy. Re-jigger the system and assholes like the Koch Bros (I'm not the only one who reads 'Koch' as 'Cock', am I?) and their political destructiveness is neutered.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:13 AM on January 28, 2015


Just keep an eye on your local elections folks, and write in to your local papers, too. This election will come and go, but the Koch's influence is going to be seeping into the land like fallout for decades.
posted by Catblack at 12:45 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


That episode of Air Crash Investigation where David Koch talks about surviving the fiery crash of USAir 1493 at LAX in 1991 is really weird. It's Air Crash Investigation, so you're used - conditioned really - to identifying with crash survivors and imagining yourself in their place. And Koch is well spoken and a decent story teller and does a competent job of narrating his experiences. But you keep finding yourself screaming internally, "No! Don't find that exit! Inhale that smoke! Go to the back of the plane!" And it kind of breaks the whole Air Crash Investigation audience identification model.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:07 AM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


It'll never happen, but things like the Koch Bros only function the way they do because the mechanisms of our democracy allow them to. Nothing says you have to keep these mechanisms (Electoral college, etc.) to keep Democracy. Re-jigger the system and assholes like the Koch Bros (I'm not the only one who reads 'Koch' as 'Cock', am I?) and their political destructiveness is neutered.

The processes for changing most of those things is, at this point, a series of Constitutional amendments. Even the initial hurdle to get the ratification process going requires agreement from 2/3 of the state houses and/or 2/3 of the sitting members of both houses of Congress, and would require not only a massive mobilization of the public but also a few election cycles to have even a slim chance....and that's assuming most people would have the time, energy, and empathy for it all in the first place.

To give you an idea of the inertia I'm talking about, consider that prior to 1971, there was a major new amendment passed at least once a decade; since 1971, we have had exactly one amendment, a relatively minor one that mostly meant Congress could no longer give itself raises that took effect before the next election cycle. And even that was introduced in 1789, forgotten, and finally pushed through over 200 years later thanks to a letter-writing campaign that invoked not only the common opprobrium against politicians but also the venerable origins of the idea with The Founders.

The amendment process was not intended to have this level of sheer inertia, but it was also designed for a smaller number of states (Making the 2/3 ratification benchmark less of a hurdle) and a far smaller, more engaged electorate that seemed more capable of achieving moments of solidarity. By the time you had support for an amendment today, you'd probably have a level of political engagement and agreement that would already look a lot more like direct democracy than representative democracy.

Look, there's a reason that the last really significant amendment was passed in 1971, and that one took nearly twenty years of sustained efforts inside and outside government, a number of bellwether laws and state challenges to existing laws, and a national crisis of conscience over drafting people to fight in a controversial war. But it's very, very hard to even construct a popular political movement that doesn't end up attached to the party system, for one thing, and that means that there's an almost built-in resistance with lots of money, resources, and friends in the media.

More than that, the amendment process is built on a level of faith in civic institutions that we haven't had for decades. Today, a fairly large number of people think think any action the government takes regarding money or business is inherently evil, incompetent, or both. Arguably, the President who did the most to push through the last really significant amendment is also the one who did the most to break precisely the kind of faith in the system needed for the amendment process to really work.
posted by kewb at 3:40 AM on January 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Exhibit 1 of why we need a higher tax rate on the top earners. If you have nearly a billion dollars to throw into political campaigns, and it represents about 1% of your worth you unequivocally just have too much money.
posted by edgeways at 4:36 AM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's pretty awesome to watch them blow such a staggering amount of cash, since the similar mountain of cash they spent in the last election failed to elect their man.

The Presidential race is largely a MacGuffin. It's become all but meaningless within the long-term fight to control the country. As we've seen over the course of Obama's two terms, a President can be held at-bay by a disciplined and focused opposition.

You did happen to see what the Kochs have been accomplishing in both houses of Congress and in state legislatures and governorships nationwide, right? That's where the real, long-lasting battle is, and the brothers know this. They've almost made the Presidency a nullified position, thanks to their efforts. They have the House secured for as long as any of us care to see, and they've finally captured the Senate, though not in as overwhelming numbers as the House. Still, they've managed to push Obama into a corner where all he can do now is issue executive orders. All it's going to take to nullify even that is a few more Senate seats. About the only bright light in this gloomy picture is that, in 2016, there are many more (supposedly vulnerable) Republican Senate seats in-play than Democratic. So, there's some hope the D's can win that body back. Look for a huge spend by the Koch's in those races.

That's not to say getting "their man" into the Oval Office isn't a goal. Having top-to-bottom control of the government will certainly make accomplishing the Koch's goals much more streamlined, but, if they manage to establish a veto-proof Senate, the Presidency truly becomes irrelevant. Getting "their man" into the White House will simply be a pretty cherry on top of their rancid cake.

A billion dollars will work harder and gain more long-lasting results for the Kochs if spent on Senate, House and state-level races.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Koch Brothers are worth $81.4 billion. Each of those billions is a thousand millions. So $600 million to them is similar to a guy with $81,400 in his pocket spending $600 of it.

Would you spend that $600 if you thought it would get you even just $1000?

If I were the recipient of some of this money, I'd be upset that I'm getting such chump change.
posted by Legomancer at 6:04 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I could totally do this. Just the other day, I earned like 4.567^17 on the stock exchange.

Wait, no. That was tangerines. Damn.

So.

Close.
posted by slipthought at 6:09 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


A billion dollars will work harder and gain more long-lasting results for the Kochs if spent on Senate, House and state-level races.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:10 AM on January 28 [3 favorites +] [!]


Wouldn't it be cheaper just to bribe the Democrats already in office?
posted by Gungho at 7:33 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cheaper just to bribe the Democrats already in office?

Turncoats can always turn back. You always want true believers in your pocket, if you can help it.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fascinating thing about how this plays out is the people funding deregulation and unbridled greed are routinely ripped of by their own followers because the 'true believers' will sacrifice absolutely nothing for the cause. If you search for some of the right wing PAC funding scandals and infighting stories you will see that the right wing's political economy is pretty much buggered by epic levels of malcompetence, corruption and fraud. The only reason they succeed at all is that they have such enormous piles of money to throw at campaigning that they have some random successes.
posted by srboisvert at 8:48 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nevin: It's the height of vanity, and it would be more comical save for the massive amount of money that just evaporates into thin air.
You are naively assuming that one loss for their methods implies their methods will never, ever work.

It's like declaring a victory in the war because they lost one battle. If your opponent is the size of ALL OF ASIA, that's probably not a wise assumption.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange: Whoever wins in 2016 controls the Supreme Court. Another Scalia or Alito in place of Ginsburg and it's over, they won. 5 permanent votes to repeal every last shred of the New Deal all the way back to Lochner.
Even that is softballing their aims. Repeal New Deal, the Civil Rights Act (in all but name; they'll leave the nominal claim of rights-protection in place, while gutting it to the very skin), Americans with Disabilties Act, PPACA a.k.a. Obamacare, Roe v. Wade, and whatever treaties with Native American nations are inconvenient to their business goals.

Everything idiot talking heads like Rush Limbaugh spout to gain listeners, these jackasses actually support.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:15 AM on January 28, 2015


One thing that's different about the upcoming election is that the Republicans seem pretty dialed in to youth culture lately.
posted by ODiV at 9:31 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


IAmBroom...You left out gutting the EPA. That's a huge one for business. Back to the smoggy 60's!
posted by Thorzdad at 10:14 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it even about electing Republicans anymore, or just accomplishing the same thing by scaring Democrats into electing 1%-friendly "Democrats" because, you know, otherwise the Republicans will win.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:15 AM on January 28, 2015


> All sorts of state level issues are being decided in their favor, all the way to a ban on bus lanes in Tennessee.

Whoa, you aren't joking! The Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity killed Nashville's bus rapid transit project (which ought to appeal to conservatives as being the cheapest transit project).

This really isn't about the Presidential election but the thousand cuts to local governments.
posted by Monochrome at 10:18 AM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


This really isn't about the Presidential election but the thousand cuts to local governments.

Kind of puts that whole "States Rights" movement in a different light, doesn't it?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:18 AM on January 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you were expecting journalists to express much consternation at the idea that a group of the super-wealthy are openly announcing their intention to buy the next election, you’ll be disappointed.

This is kinda a weird thing to say 'cause a lot of outlets are covering this story pretty heavily. But I suppose that doesn't make as interesting a soundbite.
posted by Justinian at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


At the risk of sounding Pollyanna-ish and naive, it makes me happy about the state of US democracy that a left-wing sniper hasn't bumped off these guys, Rove, Limbaugh, etc. As screwed up as it is, our system is still fundamentally sound enough that we solve our problems by voting, or if we are really pissed at the system, we don't vote, or waste our votes on a no-chance third party candidate. Or in other words, the "loony left" is nothing of the sort, judging by it's responses to this oligarchic takeover.
posted by jetsetsc at 12:33 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity killed Nashville's bus rapid transit project

Well that is as upsetting. I wonder how much they've had to do with the destruction of rail and rapid transit proposals that have been proposed, initially received a warm reception, then murdered. Scott Walker has been leading the charge, trying to strangle any form of upgraded transportation and killing bus lines during his time a city executive. And Walker takes his marching orders from the Koch brothers. Walker killed the rapid transit initiative some years back. I wonder if it even stretches to the light rail initiative in the 90s. I don't know how active they were back then; I certainly didn't hear about them, but that may just be a lack of awareness on my part.

Then the question becomes why? Why do the Koch brothers care about transit? It can't just be government spending. Wisconsin is dumping much bucks into ridiculous freeway upgrades.

The paranoid part of me thinks that they want to starve out cities, which tend to lean more liberal. Or just keep the poor immobile, taking away the ability to travel to where work and food is.

Sometimes I look around and I think I really don't want any part of any of this. Humanity has the tools to be so great and yet always turns those tools to destroying itself.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:53 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom: “Everything idiot talking heads like Rush Limbaugh spout to gain listeners, these jackasses actually support.”
Which reminds me: Considering how big of a Pierce fan I am, you'd think I'd have already read Idiot America. I hadn't. Just started it last week and I'm here to tell y'all, Charlie Pierce absolutely nails how a handful of people who shouldn't be listened to have come to dominate our politics. If you haven't read it, you should.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:23 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoa, what's with all this talk of Koch-funded corruption and influence? Doesn't anybody remember Justice Kennedy's pronouncement?
...independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.
How can all of you just blithely go on having opinions that, according to our highest court, don't exist? For shame!
posted by bjrubble at 1:28 PM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Its not ultimately about electing a president, but electing governors and friendly state houses and senates. Sure, they'd love to have their own pet president, but they're doing really well with Walker, Brownback, et al.

The problem I have with the whole "the Koch brothers buy elections" thing is that 1) as mentioned upthread, they are actually unsuccessful 2) it makes it seem as though people who vote for Walker are stupid and can be easily influenced to vote a certain way.

I still say it's hilarious (and also sad) that the Koch brothers are blowing wads of cash in a Quixotic campaign to influence elections.

The people who are losing to the Walkers of the world had better start figuring out why, and stop blaming the Koch brothers. Maybe one reason is gerrymandering. It could be voter ID's. It could be low voter turnout (probably the biggest culprit here). It could be that the Republicans have a message that resonates with the voters.

Look at President Obama. Love him or hate him, in two elections he kicked ass identifying voters and motivating them to vote. Nobody else has been able to do it as well as he can. Unfortunately it took a lot of brains and innovation to execute the Obama strategy. There were brilliant, brilliant on his campaign teams - Apple or Google-level brilliance. Very hard to replicate.

Here where I live a couple of candidates used Obama's approach to motivate voters to come out and vote in local municipal elections (a much smaller task because of the size of the voter roll here).

Their candidates, newcomers in a style of politics that favours incumbents, won.

It's all about getting out the vote. Spend your time on that and let the Koch brothers waste their millions.
posted by Nevin at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2015


it makes it seem as though people who vote for Walker are stupid and can be easily influenced to vote a certain way.

I wouldn't argue its easy or that the people voting for Walker are stupid* but anyone involved in Wisconsin politics is aware of the preponderance of right wing talking points coming out of the mouths of your average, low information voter thanks to the prevasiveness of two conservative talk radio shows in Milwaukee. People who don't even listen to these pundits can be found spouting taking points near verbatim in near realtime because of just how quickly these talking points get infused into the general population in WI.

It's scary. I don't know how much the Koch brothers work directly with the two talk shows, but they work with Walker (unabashedly and openly) and Walker works with the Koch brothers.


*well, part of me wants to make that argument because why on earth would anyone want to vote Walker into office?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:26 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


[insert clever name here]: Then the question becomes why? Why do the Koch brothers care about transit? It can't just be government spending. Wisconsin is dumping much bucks into ridiculous freeway upgrades.
Maybe the problems is that we're thinking like a millionaire, not a billionaire. Money dumped into freeways benefits trucking business. If you are rich enough to buy up all the trucking companies in Wisconsin, that's pure win!

Money dumped into public transit benefits mostly inner-city poor and lower middle-class (and the presumably smaller, often independent companies that hire them), I'd assume, and it's hard (so far) to privatize public transit, politically, so the Koch brothers can't even skim that funding for pocket change, any more than they can profit from the local, indie sandwich shop.

This may not be their motivation, but it easily could be.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2015


Nevin: The problem I have with the whole "the Koch brothers buy elections" thing is that 1) as mentioned upthread, they are actually unsuccessful 2) it makes it seem as though people who vote for Walker are stupid and can be easily influenced to vote a certain way.

I still say it's hilarious (and also sad) that the Koch brothers are blowing wads of cash in a Quixotic campaign to influence elections.
1) Also as mentioned upthread, you are wrong: they succeeded in Senate, House, Gubenatorial, and state legislatures.

2) No, it makes it seem as though stupid, easily influenced people lack critical thinking and are easily influenced. If I could corner the market on such a group, I'd have a huge voting bloc that's deeply loyal - which means my upfront investment in scaring them will pay off for years to come.

Enough with the "har, har, money has no effect!" nonsense. You, Justice Kennedy, and the other shills for the Koch brothers are patently, obviously wrong: advertising works. It's not a 100% guarantee; no matter how much Pepsi spends, some people will always drink Coke.

But if the Koch brothers spend enough long enough, eventually they will accumulate voters voting their way. If Pepsi's advertising isn't why it rivals Coke, why isn't cheap generic cola outselling both?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:12 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


tangentially .. now that the blush has faded for the GOP over Palin I've been hoping she will feel offended and launch a 3rd party candidacy.

However, realistically I do know she actually has no intention of running for the presidency.

One can dream though. Come back Sarah come back I already miss your word-salad beat poetry. Just imagine what W.S Burroughs could do with that material. Oh the pinnacles of sublime art d'art we will miss when she finally fades into obscurity.

Can you just imagine a Palin/Bachmann tour? OMFG the dissonance would likely halt all matter on the molecular level, we would be forever preserved in that one perfect moment of incredulity.
posted by edgeways at 11:36 AM on January 29, 2015


BACHMANN PALIN OVERDRIVE.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


Well, they'd definitely be takin' care of (big) business.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:34 PM on January 29, 2015


« Older ♪ ♫ ♬ ♩   |   Diary Of A B Grade Hooker Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments