Democrats’ Dead-End Koch Strategy

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Democrats are demonizing Koch for their 2014 mid-term election strategy but the approach described in this article is a dead-end for building real political power across labor, environment, public health, and other key constituencies to counter Koch. Victims of Koch Cash are all around us in America and a smarter strategy would be to listen more closely to the grassroots groups already on the front lines fighting Kochs’ undue influence in their communities.

The New York Times: To Strike at Kochs, Democrats Revive Tactic That Hurt Romney

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Credit: The New York Times

Credit: The New York Times

WASHINGTON — After months of wincing in the face of negative ads funded by the industrialists David and Charles Koch, Democrats believe they have finally found a way to fight back: attacking the brothers’ sprawling business conglomerate as callous and indifferent to the lives of ordinary people while pursuing profit and power.

By drawing public attention to layoffs by subsidiaries of Koch Industries across the country — a chemical plant in North Carolina, an oil refinery in Alaska, a lumber operation in Arkansas — Democrats are seeking to make villains of the reclusive billionaires, whose political organizations have spent more than $30 million on ads so far to help Republicans win control of the Senate.

The approach should seem familiar. President Obama and his allies ran against Mitt Romney in 2012 by painting a dark picture of Bain Capital, the firm Mr. Romney founded, as a company that cut jobs and prized the bottom line over the well-being of its employees.

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, has called out the Kochs — whose combined net worth is estimated to be $100 billion — in his latest ads. In one, which features a picture of the brothers grinning, one of them wearing a tuxedo, Alaskans look directly into the camera and unload. “They come into our town, buy our refinery,” says one. “Just running it into the ground,” says another. “A lot of Alaskans are losing jobs, and I’m definitely concerned about the drinking water,” says a young woman holding a baby.

Republicans and other allies of the Kochs say Democrats are wasting their breath and their money. “Their only plausible counter strategy is to try to cast as villains two individual Americans who 95 percent of Americans have never heard of? I think it’s such a stretch,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-aligned organization responsible for most of the ads attacking Democrats. Read more

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