Daily Meme: It Ain't Easy Being a Koch

Pity the poor Koch brothers. All Charles and David want to do is make America safe for good, old-fashioned, Wild West capitalism. But somehow, they seem to be teeing everybody off—left and right. Plus, it's so doggone pricey to buy control of the federal government these days! 

  • The K-Bros dished out $400 million to defeat President Obama in 2012, all for naught. According to an Americans for Prosperity memo that fell into the hands of Politico, they learned a startling lesson from the effort: “If the presidential election told us anything, it’s that Americans place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak." Who knew!?! 
  • So now, as they prepare to spend $125 million to buy Congress this year, the memo says the Kochs are softening their message so people don't get the wrong idea: "We consistently see that Americans in general are concerned that free-market policy—and its advocates—benefit the rich and powerful more than the most vulnerable of society…We must correct this misconception.” 
  • To help ignorant Americans understand how trickle-down capitalism really works, the Kochs are funding initiatives to preach the libertarian message to young people through a group called Generation Opportunity, and to those other misguided liberals—Hispanics—through LIBRE. This initiative seeks to teach "Hispanic communities about economic freedom principles and values such as free enterprise, limited government and personal responsibility." It's all about education, you know. 
  • Such wild-eyed liberals as Greg Sargent at the Washington Post keep getting the wrong idea. Today's column was all too typical, as Sargent claimed that the Kochs' new plans "underscore once again that the Koch-funded attacks on Obamacare are about a broader project: Discrediting the idea of government as an agent of positive economic change for struggling Americans. As The New York Times has detailed, by pure coincidence, the Koch brothers’ vision of what’s good for 'society’s poorest and most vulnerable' also would benefit their bottom line to an untold degree." 
  • Heck, even "Wild Jack" Hanna, the much-loved face of the Columbus Zoo, is hollering about the Kochs' campaign money—specifically, the large sum they used to defeat a local referendum this week that would have benefited the zoo. 
  • And now, as if criticizing the Kochs' political efforts weren't unfair enough, everybody's bitching about their energy business. Enviros are taking the Kochs to court, "alleging the brothers' companies are responsible for polluting Chicago's Southeast Side with the black, thick dust known as petroleum coke—or petcoke, a byproduct of the oil refining process." 
  • Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, keeps using ridiculous evidence such as reports and studies to decry the environmental impact of the K-Bros' empire, going so far this week as to accuse Koch Industries of being "one of the main causes of climate change." 
  • Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is on a crusade to destroy the billionaires' campaign to rid the country of the creeping menace of solar energy. And it's such a clever strategy: The anti-tax Kochs, along with their pal Grover Norquist, are pushing laws like a new one in Oklahoma that tacks a surcharge on people who install solar panels or wind turbines in their homes.  
  • So now Tea Partiers—the people Americans for Prosperity practically created!—are up in arms too. "To these conservative-minded citizens," writes the LA Times's David Horsey, "the extra fee being pushed by the Kochs and the utilities is the worst thing in the world: a tax...The Koch brothers must be befuddled." Honestly, who wouldn't be?