Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Koch v Trump-- And A Take-Over Of The Corrupt, Money-Hungry Big Tent Democratic Party


How many hundreds of millions of dollars has the Koch network pumped into the Republican Party-- and continue pumping into the Republican Party ($400 million this cycle alone)? Their far-right "libertarian" ideas have become dominant inside GOP congressional circles, even if not among Republican voters. Now that Trump has taken over and is remaking the Party, the Kochs are understandably discomforted. And now... Godzilla v Rodan.

According to a report from Phillip Elliott for Time there was a discussion in Colorado Springs that was "spurred by several big shifts: The more liberal attitudes of the newest generation of voters, the continued rise of unaffiliated voters and breaks with the Trump Administration on issues like immigration and trade policy. To win some of the battles on their libertarian agenda, some think the group may now need to move beyond working primarily with the Republican Party. News reports leaked out that while the network would continue pouring tens of millions into Republican races to hold the House and Senate, they are not supporting Republican Senate candidates in Arizona, Nevada and North Dakota against far right Democraps, Kyrsten Sinema, the worst Democrat in the House, Jackie Rosen, nearly as bad, and Koch ally Heidi Heitkamp who pleased them by voting to repeal key elements of Wall Street reform legislation and generally votes with the GOP on the issues that mean the most to the Koch brothers.
Charles Koch told a group of reporters that he could work with Democrats in Congress should they prevail in the fall elections.

“I don’t care what initials are in front or after somebody’s names,” he said. That approach would have seemed heretical just two years ago as this group hosted Republican candidates for auditions.

Reports leaking out of the Koch shindig indicate that the network is interested in bolstering the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the Blue Dogs and New Dems who accept key Koch ideology-- against progressives like Bernie and the new crop of Democrats coming up, like Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Alexandria Ocasio, Randy Bryce, Rashida Tlaib, Jess King-- and in Hawaii, Kaniela Ing, who they are already working furiously against in favor of a gaggle of Republicans pretending to be Democrats. They have identified Ing as the biggest threat to their program in America. One Koch operative told me that if Ing gets into Congress "with that girl from the Bronx"... the trajectory of American politics could change for decades... We will never allow him to win there [and that] is already set in stone. He's toast... If we can destroy someone like Ing in the bluest state in the nation, redirecting the Democratic Party will not be that difficult... Sanders and Warren and their noisy little movement isn't going anywhere."
It’s just a lot less fun to watch Republicans whom you’ve championed swerve afield and squander an all-GOP Washington in an era of Trump. On trade, protectionist tariffs and tone, most of these donors are fiercely opposed to what Trump is offering.

“Until Trump is gone, it’s going to be hard to bring the country back to normal, and then it’s going to take a while because he’s really damaged a lot of our institutions and just insulted everything and there’s a huge amount of mistrust,” said Paul Jost, a real estate executive who splits his time between Miami Beach and Washington, D.C.

Michael Shaughnessy, a businessman from the Cleveland area, noted the collapse of civility predates Trump, but notes “all of the division starts at the top and runs downhill. I don’t know that he’s done anything to diminish that. People confuse him with a politician who can say nice things even though he doesn’t want to say nice things.”

While the big wins like tax cuts drive headlines-- and more giving to network coffers-- the political machine has quietly been chugging along on lesser-known initiatives.

...That’s not to say Trump doesn’t have his defenders in the ranks of these donors. Doug Deason, a Texas businessman whose family gave pro-Trump groups $1 million in 2016 and is a regular at these Koch meetings, said the Koch network needs to reconsider its criticism of the President.

“You didn’t support him and he won,” Deason said. “Everything that you question him on has turned out good and he’s won. And he’s going to win this. Is there a lesson learned?”

Even so, the party preferences are fading. The most openly political of the groups organized under the Koch banner, Americans for Prosperity, has run ads against Republicans who voted for Trump’s spending bill and for the lone Democrat who helped rewrite the banking regulation bill known as Dodd-Frank. It caused some seat shifting among longtime patrons of the network, but newcomers liked the moxie.

“If you’re a Republican who sits on the committee that wrote the worst spending bill in our country’s history and you voted for it, you’re darned right we’ll hold you accountable,” Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel told donors Sunday, greeted by applause in the room and some second-guessing the hallways. “Look, the fact that we’re willing to do this during an election year shows that we are dead serious. This network will no longer follow anyone else’s lead or be taken for granted.”

Tim Phillips, the President of Americans for Prosperity, a day later explained why his group decided not to campaign against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and instead chose to run a low-cost digital ad thanking her for her vote to roll back some bank regulations. Her rival, Rep. Kevin Cramer, is bad on issues core to the Koch ideology, especially his support for the Export Import Bank. “If this were 2016 or ’14, we would likely just have gone ahead and endorsed him,” Phillips said.

To be clear: this crowd is still overwhelmingly conservative. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is their town square. Maybe a handful of these donors punched their ballot for Hillary Clinton in protest but few liked it. A frequent subject of their disdain is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a likely 2020 contender for the Democratic nomination.

...Yet, even as these donors toasted their interest in working across the aisle, it’s impossible to ignore that they’re still funding political ads attacking Democrats. In Wisconsin, Koch-backed groups have run almost $3 million in TV ads hoping to oust Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
How sad for them today to see the brand new Emerson poll, in there field after the TV blitz had time to sink in-- that has Baldwin beating either of the two Koch candidates-- Kevin Nicholson 49-40% and the better-known Leah Vukmir 50-36%.

Trump, incapable of seeing anything beyond himself, lashed out Tuesday morning calling the Koch network billionaires "a total joke" and referring to the Kochs themselves as "two nice guys with bad ideas." Charles and David don't care about being perceived as being "nice," only about their ideas. Trump is angry because his tax policies and anti-regulatory agenda have made them richer which in his small, primitive brain means they should be kissing his ass.

In their early morning Playbook yesterday, Politico noted that "in recent days, the general consensus among Republican operatives and aides seems to have shifted, and most people we talk to say that the GOP will lose the House, if the election were held today. Of course, the election is three months from now, but the political picture has darkened for the GOP." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal editorial board asked, pointedly, if Trumpanzee even cares "if Republicans lose the House of Representatives this November? If that seems like an odd question, consider that Mr. Trump is running a campaign strategy that puts the House at maximum risk while focusing on the Senate. The latest evidence is Mr. Trump’s threat to shut down the government in September if he doesn’t get money for his border wall... It’s always risky to use the word 'strategy' about Mr. Trump because he’s so impulsive and capricious. Only last week GOP leaders thought they had his agreement to delay a wall-funding brawl until after the election. Then on Sunday Mr. Trump tweeted that 'I would be willing to "shut down" government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!' As if on cue... It’s a significant shift in our thinking: Business takes fresh look at Democrats: 'Business groups, at war with President Donald Trump over trade and immigration, say they’re taking steps to rebuild the political center-- including taking fresh looks at moderate Democrats.'"

Again, by "moderate" they mean conservative, Republican-lite, hollowed out corporate Democrats-- a Biden or a Gillibrand, for example. Do we want these people throwing their money and power behind right-of-center Democrats who oppose Medicare for All, a living wage, free state colleges, a green energy revolution and the exact ideas that are powering grassroots political enthusiasm? Good for establishment Democrats... bad for people.

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At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... in DWT's philosophy (which is why we're being treated to a lot of articles about this), we all MUST support the Koch's position because it's a tiny bit less evil than trump's?

So hopefully we'll get back to good, old-fashioned kleptocratic fascism instead of kleptocratic kakistocratic naziism.

Once we return to the old status quo, we can then allow and abet the march to TOTAL kleptocratic fascism.

See the problem here? It begins with the fact that once you open the door to greater evil, you almost never step back even to a tiny bit less evil. But the obvious one is the irony of feeling satisfaction and relief at the success of restoring evil.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:33 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Anonymous (6:28)-- Are you nuts?

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DWT, I'm being satirical. Why, couldn't you tell? I wonder if ANYONE could tell.

too close to normal for satire?

Maybe that means I'm NOT the one with the problem.

and yeah I know that means you won't allow this to post.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos for allowing it to post. But it's a legitimate question. This piece does seem to lay some groundwork towards eventual acceptance of the kochs even as just a firewall against trump.

Does anyone remember how the idea of tax cuts = good, to name one, became the status quo and acceptable to democrats? The corporate bailout we called ACA is another one. Didn't fix health CARE, but it's the status quo and perfectly acceptable today. Obamanation deporting orders of magnitude more immigrants than cheney/bush too. They all kinda started like this.


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