Koch network, or my world is upside down.

The Koch Brothers (rebranded as “the Koch Network”) are coming out deriding Trump administration policies and pushing for bipartisan actions.

I doubt they’ll throw too many ads for Democrats but the money is going to be funding those who will stand up to knee-jerk Trumpism within the GOP and not so much those who pander to the Trump is always right crowd.

It really puts many GOP contenders in a bind. The Trump is always right crowd includes most of those who identify as GOP now. But the money, it talks.

The Koch Brothers doing something that might be good for the country? My mind is having a hard time accepting this.

They are doing what is good for the Koch Brothers, in their estimation. A wild-card in the White House with no effective checks can upset the markets and international business, which is bad for them. At least with a Democrat (or a bog-standard Bush/Rommey-Republican), they can plan long-term strategy, something hard to do with a loose-cannon of a President and a compliant Congress.

Worth keeping a (perhaps) jaundiced eye on…

They don’t like policies that are bad for business. So they’re not in favor of government-imposed trade barriers. That doesn’t strike me as surprising.

I started a thread two months ago about ads the Koch’s were running on behalf of Heidi Heitkamp.

Koch Brothers’ AFP running ads thanking Heidi Heitkamp

I was then and still am confused by this as well.

Exactly. Trump’s trade policies are populist, not conservative or libertarian. Quite a few GOP Congresscritters are afraid to express concern lest they get primaried by a Trump supporting populist. But business guys are not so constrained.

The Koch brothers (specifically, Charles and David) are essentially hard-leaning libertarian slash Randian in outlook, and as such they tend against the installation of trade barriers, tariffs, military interventions that do not serve the security or commercial interests of the United States, et cetera. While it is common (and easy) to deride the Koch’s as being right wing boosters, it is oversimplifying to simply lump them in with the Tea Party and alt-right groups ideologically; the Koch’s have actually supported certain social justice and civil rights initiative, including opposing the PATRIOT Act, support for gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization, and criminal justice reform. They are actually one of the largest single contributors by dollar figure to the ACLU, and have long supported formalizing DACA in legislation and creating a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants. That they have also funded groups to suppress climate change research, have funded lobbyists to opening up oil and mineral reserves in ecologically sensitive protected areas, supported overturning Roe v. Wade and enacting anti-abortion policies, opposed the Affordable Care Act in favor of “free market” approaches to health care, and in general have funded political candidates on political far right such as Mike Pence is not really inconsistent with their principles in being fiscal conservatives and social libertarians with a pro-life bent.

BTW, tariffs, trade restrictions, and limitation of immigration are traditional Democratic stances, with the reversal having occurred over the last thirty years concamitant with the sliding of American politics from center-left in the early ‘Seventies to hard right by the late ‘Nineties. If anything, the Kochs’ actually seek a return to the prior era of a business self-managed economy (to the benefit of their commercial interests, naturally) and moderately progressive social progress (albeit not with respect to abortion) instead of the populism of the modern era which has infected both major parties to the diminishment of actual policy. I think American politics would be better off without the Kochs’ and other big money donors able to influence elections and control policy with their network of bought-and-paid-for candidates, but painting them with the brush of just being far-right conservatives is not accurate or useful.


What I like about the whole thing is that it’s actually just Charles now; David recently retired due to poor health IIRC. So there were two guys who were brothers, and the company name reflected that. Now it’s just one guy and suddenly he’s a network. :rolleyes::stuck_out_tongue:

The Republican Party is split between two conflicting ideologies.
(1) The Donald Trump faction: “The country should be run like Cosa Nostra, with DJT as Capo di tutti capi. If a journalist dares report the news, we send thugs to beat her up.”
(2) The Paul Ryan faction: “The country should be run like an Ayn Rand dystopia. Tear down all safety nets! If a working man was too stupid to buy into the Facebook IPO it’s God’s Will and Darwin’s Plan that he die of an easily treated medical condition before he can reproduce.”

The Kochs lacked the ambition to pursue (1) (with themselves as Capo di tutti capi) so eagerly embrace (2).

If the remedy for Trumpism is to strengthen Koch-Ryanism just give me my cyanide tablet now, please.

“Koch Brothers” and “good for the country” in the same sentence? That’s wrong right there.

Our best hope is the utter self-annihilation of the GOP, whereupon a two-party system (left-center and right-center) will emerge, as we had in the olden days.

Say what you will about the Kochs; they are at least rationally self-interested. That’s more than you can say about Trump and his supporters right now. One can expect to find all sorts of unusual allies when the alternative is mindless self-destruction.

Koch network says it isn’t backing GOP candidate in key Senate race

Instead of trying to revive my Heidi Heitkamp thread I’ll post this here.

Think of that “broken clock” thing.

I’m not. Let’s say the Dems take the Senate, they now have yet a reliable fossil fuel vote to go along with Joe Manchin. Plus, I’m sure they’d rather have a second term senator than a freshman

Soros and Kochs are inflated to villainhood levels to a comedic extent.

While the Mercer’s work quietly in the background…

At least we can remind ourselves that any good they happen to do is for the wrong reasons (i.e.- totally self-serving reasons), so we know we haven’t entered some strange bizarro world where the Kochs are non-evil. You can also console yourself that Koch Industries is still one of the world’s leading polluters, although with the present administration they’re probably not being fined for it any more.

I had not heard about that. Here’s an article I found about it. It’s by Jane Mayer, who wrote the recent book about Koch money in American politics. Although David is reputedly in bad health, Mayer claims his retirement was largely due to Charles pushing him out. Also, my impression that David was the the more prominent of the two appears to be wrong. David was much more socially visible, but apparently Charles is the real political force.

Are you claiming that there’s an equivalence, or that it’s all exaggerated?

This book (and there are others) is about a systematic long-term strategy by the Kochs and their plutocratic allies to use their billions to dominate American politics and instill it with libertarian ideology. Can anything even remotely similar be said abut Soros?

Morbid curiosity, but how? Does one of the brothers control more of the money?

Aye; David was the one who gave money to the Philharmonic, to museums, etc. Charles is the one who seemingly eschews everything in life that doesn’t involve money and/or power/influence.

So, in Trading Places terms, Charles would be Don Ameche, and David would be Ralph Bellamy?

The Kochs are obviously a major power player, and it has been clear from the start that they’ve never been completely at ease with Trump. As despicable as their business practices and their attempts to control politics might be, they’re basically reality-oriented people themselves, even if they generate a lot of propaganda for mass consumption.

What’s more important than the Koch brothers money is their deep reach into the economy. They employ a lot of people. “Gee, we’d had to see you people lose your jobs because of this moron you elected for a president. I mean, Mike Pence wouldn’t be this dumb.” They also have the power to reach deep into state-level politics and tip races away from Trump. They’re nobody to take lightly for sure.

But Trump has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to create his own political weather by running as a populist. Whereas the Kochs could create new enemies, Trump could probably create new friends as well. Just consider how what used to be mainstream Republican & conservative orthodoxy a decade ago - free trade - is now being replaced by a newfound tolerance and embrace of protectionism and nationalism. Don’t assume that Trump would lose this fight.