Government & Politics

The Democrats' Dishonest Koch Habit

Attacking the Koch brothers is a craven election strategy aimed at distracting from ObamaCare.

Mar. 18, 2014
David and Charles Koch

Democrats have escalated their attacks on Charles and David Koch, who donate a significant amount of their accumulated capital to conservative groups. The charge is led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who now routinely takes to the Senate floor to angrily denounce these two private citizens. “I’m not afraid of the Koch brothers,” he thundered. “None of us should be afraid of the Koch brothers. These two multi-billionaires may spend hundreds of millions of dollars rigging the political process for their own benefit. And they may believe that whoever has the most money gets the most free speech. But I will do whatever it takes to expose their campaign to rig the American political system to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”

A Democrat ad also recently demonized the brothers, accusing them of having an agenda to “protect tax cuts for companies that ship our jobs overseas.” That was too much even for The Washington Post’s “fact checker,” Glenn Kessler, who gave the charge a full Four Pinocchios. Specifically, Kessler says, “The ad not only mischaracterizes an ordinary tax deduction as a special ‘tax cut’ but then it falsely asserts that ‘protecting’ this tax break is part of the Koch agenda. It turns out this claim is based on a tenuous link to an organization that never even took a position on the legislation in question.” The truth didn’t stop Reid from repeating the same “tax breaks” lie.

This attack campaign is a clear sign that Democrats are very worried about November, and they’re lashing out at anyone who’s bankrolling the opposition. Americans for Prosperity, a political group founded with the Kochs’ support, has spent $30 million already hanging ObamaCare around Democrats’ necks. The attacks also reek of hypocrisy coming from a party well funded by leftist billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer. And yet the effort is odd all the same because most people don’t even know who the Kochs are, much less how they earned their money or how they use it. That means shutting them out of the political process is not very high on the list of the average American’s concerns.

Reid wants to make this a class war, slamming the Kochs for having the “most money” and, therefore, the “most speech.” He aims to silence this speech because it endangers his control of the Senate, and the best way to do that is to follow Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The Kochs are the target, and polarizing them is intended to mobilize a demoralized leftist base.

But we’ll let Democrats in on a little secret. The Founders wrote the First Amendment’s bit about “free speech” in order to prevent the government from trying to dictate what or whose or how much speech is acceptable. If Harry Reid & Co. have the better argument on substance, let’s hear it. Until then, the Kochs should be free to speak away – like everyone else.

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