Kochsteria: Effective or not?

posted at 10:41 am on April 2, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

That’s the question I ask in my column today for The Week — and almost immediately got an answer in part on Twitter. We’ve seen this play before, I explain, and under similar circumstances:

The Republican Party routinely demonized [George] Soros during the 2006-08 election cycles in much the same way Democrats are doing with the Kochs in 2014. In both cases, the party in power had nothing more to offer the American electorate other than the demonization of peripheral characters. Neither had the courage to run on their own records and cheerfully withstand accountability on the basis of them.

Republicans didn’t get far with Soros-noia, and so far Democrats aren’t scoring with Kochs-teria, either. The Reid strategy hasn’t actually succeeded in engaging the electorate where those efforts have been concentrated, perhaps in part because fact checkers keep demolishing Democratic attacks on the Kochs. Voters aren’t impressed, which may be the silver lining in this cloud of irresponsibility.

No one should consider Charles and David Koch above criticism, and I doubt anyone does. Entering the public debate means becoming fair game for criticism and scrutiny. But Kochsteria goes far beyond this:

Whether a person contributes to organizations that push a political vision, conducts the speech directly, or even has less direct connections to the policy issues at hand, their activism becomes fair game for criticism and opposition. No one will lose sleep over critics launching attacks on billionaires for their political efforts, nor should they. Advertisements funded in part by contributions from the Kochs are certainly part of that territory. To the extent that their factual claims can be challenged, opponents are well within their rights to correct the record and to challenger their motivations. Free speech does not mean freedom from rebuttals — as the Kochs themselves would surely be the first to acknowledge, given how much of their effort goes into such criticism in the first place.

Democrats, however, have gone far beyond this. Reid has used the Senate floor to cast the two industrialists in terms that echoes the worst of McCarthyism. Starting a few weeks ago, Reiddeclared the Koch brand of dissent “un-American,” a charge he repeated on more than one occasion since. Running ads against ObamaCare — a government program whose incompetent design and rollout practically scream for accountability — amounts to an attempt to “buy America,” according to Reid.

Does demagoguery work? So far, on the larger scale, the answer appears to be as negative as it was with Sorosnoia in 2006 and 2008. On the smaller scale, well …

Normally I leave the Twitter curation to our friends and colleagues at Twitchy, but I’ll offer a few instances of what this column produced. Of course, since the Kochs are fabulously rich and I have a long record of progressivism, the first accusation is that I got bought off:

Next, we find at least one progressive who likes McCarthyism when the target is right:

Somehow, the Kochs’ small-government, small-L libertarian agenda qualifies them as the successors to Benito Mussolini:

Clearly we are failing in our educational efforts on 20th-century history and political science. And we have an “Extreme Liberal” who likes to comment before reading the material:

Let’s not forget the “but … GAIA!!1!!1!” argument for McCarthyism:

It’s their mission? Did I miss that mission statement? I think we have found the target audience for Noah on Twitter.  And if all this sounds familiar …

T. Becket Adams from The Blaze actually took the time to read more than the headline:

Once again, I have no trouble with people criticizing the Koch brothers’ arguments and their activism. To call them “un-American” from the floor of the Senate for engaging in the political process is far beyond that, and into realms that, well, Reid often travels to little effect and unfortunately to far too little criticism. And there is a fringe who clearly likes the Emmanuel Goldstein model for political speech that Reid employs.

Nate Beeler had a great editorial cartoon about this yesterday for the Columbus Dispatch:

beeler-koch

Be sure to check out Nate’s blog for more of his excellent work.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Gosh: Now I’m not sure which is a greater danger to our planet, the Koch brothers or “climate change.”

jmtham156 on April 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Never forget that the Democrat party is owned lock, stock, and barrel by billionaire nazi war criminal and convicted felon George Soros.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Attack on the private sector…

Utopia hates the private sector…

Electrongod on April 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

The difference between Soros and the Kochs is – Soros is evil.

tdarrington on April 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Ok I can’t figure it out.
Where is the title photo from?

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Well, it’s apparent that “McD” is an acronym for “McDipshit”.

He just wrote a version of your article for you Ed.

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Ok I can’t figure it out.
Where is the title photo from?

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

It’s the Two Minute hate scene from 1984 with Richard Burton and John Hurt.

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Whatever happened to the Koch interest in purchasing the LA Times? That had the left frothing at the mouth a few weeks ago- complete with threats of half the LAT staff quiting.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 10:50 AM

The Koch brothers many good things… please name one good thing George Soros has ever done…

Khun Joe on April 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The difference between Soros and the Kochs is – Soros is evil.

tdarrington on April 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Extremely evil. It’s Soros’s hand that animates Obama.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Things go better with Koch.

Steve Z on April 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The actress is Suzannah Hamilton who played Julia.

“I’m corrupt to the core.”

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 10:52 AM

‘McCutcheon’ will soon be the new boogeyman word.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 10:53 AM

“the Kochs are plutocrats” — Schumer

“Soros is a patriot” — Schumer

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

is this hate going to last > 2 minutes today???

nice work, Ed.!

ted c on April 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Ok I can’t figure it out.
Where is the title photo from?

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

That’s Julia.

Lanceman on April 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

What’s really stupid about this tactic is that 75% of Americans hear this nonsense and say “Who the hell are the Koch brothers?”

flipflop on April 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

What’s really stupid about this tactic is that 75% of Americans hear this nonsense and say “Who the hell are the Koch Coke brothers?”

flipflop on April 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

FIFY

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Soros even looks evil.

jmtham156 on April 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Most of the wealthy are Statists because they have found they can use government power to increase their own wealth, while making it harder for their competition to get into business. The Statist pols love this, because it gives them access to power and wealth. The Koch bros don’t exactly fit this mold, and it infuriates the Statists.

tdarrington on April 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Contribution dough is only “good” when it’s to the socialist/communist tyrannical coffers.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Unlike George Soros, the Koch brothers never collaborated with actual fascists, the Nazis.

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

What’s really stupid about this tactic is that 75% of Americans hear this nonsense and say “Who the hell are the Koch brothers?”

flipflop on April 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Most people would look at the name in print and wonder why the Democrats are mad at the late former mayor of New York.

And they didn’t even know he had a brother…

jon1979 on April 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

‘Toon Special: The Trouble With Harry… (Vol I)

Resist We Much on April 2, 2014 at 10:56 AM

That is a hella Reid cartoon collection. There’s actually going to be Vol II?

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

The Kochs will be in jail before Nov.

tdarrington on April 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM

…I forget how much bullshit ‘our writers’ have to put with…until it is shown to me!

KOOLAID2 on April 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Soros
Gates
Buffet
All of Hollywood, nearly all producers and actors
All of Silicone Valley
Billionare Tom Steyer
Communications gurus, domestic, Mexican and etc. – see Carlos Slim

All leftist plutocrats, all ok.

Koch brothers and Adelman, not ok.

Logic is not non-sheep.

When asked, political science students at the DC American University don’t know how many US senators there are.

But Fluke, Fluke, Fluke, and obama, obama, obama

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Logic is not only for the non-sheep.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM

If the answer to Ed’s titular question is “Yes,” this nation is in deep, deep trouble.

werewife on April 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Most people would look at the name in print and wonder why the Democrats are mad at the late former mayor of New York.

And they didn’t even know he had a brother…

jon1979 on April 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Thats right: He’s the guy that would walk around the city and ask “how am I doing”

jmtham156 on April 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I’d like to buy the world a Koch.

Bertram Cabot Jr. on April 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

The point of Kochsteria isn’t to bring in new voters it’s primarily used to wring donations from lefties.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

The Orwell/Emmanuel Goldstein comparison is especially on point. The Left needs designated hate receptacles to unleash their bile into.

myiq2xu on April 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

As Ed’s twitter response shows invoking the Koch’s is all about exciting the base and getting them to donate time and money.

It has little to do with the general electorate.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:17 AM

The “conversation” that people think they’re initiating via twitter seems to usually be mind-boggling insanity and bald-faced rudeness. Ed, I’d like to see Bob Moore and his moronic ilk give you his comments face-to-face — of course, he wouldn’t, because he’s a gaia-loving pantywaist hiding behind the keyboard in his mom’s basement.

KS Rex on April 2, 2014 at 11:18 AM

The Kochs will be in jail before Nov.

tdarrington on April 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The Dick-Tator Hussein has been known for political prosecutions and imprisonment.
It is only a matter of time before his Pen declares opposition to His Glorious Agenda to be a crime and the mass arrests begin. Along with the Revolution…

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The point of Kochsteria isn’t to bring in new voters it’s primarily used to wring donations from lefties.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Biiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnngo!

RushBaby on April 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Things go better with Koch!

And in a related note, SCOTUS struck down aggregate campaign contribution limits. A good day for freedom of speech :-)

MJBrutus on April 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The most amazing thing about this debate is how little the obama-worshiping MSM says about Reid’s unhinged-ness. Even though you expect the media to tow the line for obama, Reid’s pattern of apparent senility combined with shocking mean-spiritedness seems just too outrageous to ignore. If Boehner was saying even half of it, this would be Page One on the NYT for weeks on end. Unbelievable.

KS Rex on April 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ed Morrissey @EdMorrissey

I think Orwell missed the Emmanuel Goldstein phenomenon by 30 years. #justsaying
6:37 AM – 2 Apr 2014

The Orwellian nature and actions of so many on the progressive left is quite telling…as is their level of projection in their hate / vitriol towards those who disagree with them.

But they also know their base – and without an Emmanuel Goldstein du jour to scare the LIV, the watermelons, the fodder of the unions, and apathetic Democrats, they can’t raise funds or get the vote out.

We’ve seen Sarah Palin fill that role. Then the Tea Party. Now it’s the Koch Brothers. Tomorrow, they will revisit one of the previous targets or designate a new target for their 7×24 hate and vitriol. This will continue not only for the midterms, but will be SOP for all future elections.

Unfortunately, with today’s Democrat Party, this isn’t the only similarity with the Orwellian world.

Athos on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

If the answer to Ed’s titular question is “Yes,” this nation is in deep, deep trouble.

werewife on April 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Of course the answer is yes. The Left is quite adept at the game of politics. The Republicans are mere pikers in this game.

While the Republicans will still likely do OK in the next election cycle, the Dems’ concerted ability to redefine the disaster that is ObamaCare will absolutely stop dead any Republican from seriously attempting to repeal it. Instead, they will save it from implosion, thus assuring the Dems a new supply of future voters, addicted to the federal teat. Ditto immigration, about which the Republican establishment isn’t even pretending to be working in the nation’s long term fiscal, political, or cultural interest.

Nomennovum on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Well it probably isn’t very effective on us. Their side is not deep thinkers by in large. So…….. However on their behalf they do pay quite well. ; )

Bmore on April 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Things go better with Koch!

And in a related note, SCOTUS struck down aggregate campaign contribution limits. A good day for freedom of speech :-)

MJBrutus on April 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Marking my calendar. Agreed!

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

That is a hella Reid cartoon collection. There’s actually going to be Vol II?

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Thx. You betcha there’s gonna be a Vol II! Maybe even a Vol III!

Resist We Much on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Resist We Much on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Hooah.

hawkdriver on April 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Unlike George Soros, the Koch brothers never collaborated with actual fascists, the Nazis.

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Big deal. Most Lefties, being fascistic in nature anyway, know in their heart of hearts that they too would be collaborators. To them, “fascist” simply means “someone not of my ideology.” Ergo, the Kochs are fascist and Soros is not, no matter what his past is or how closely his policy preferences mirror those of the Nazi party.

Nomennovum on April 2, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Unlike George Soros, the Koch brothers never collaborated with actual fascists, the Nazis.

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Yep. It’s an insult to the Koch brothers to compare them to the Democratics’ favorite Nazi stooge George Soros.

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Hey, Ed! Was Duncan MacD saying your are old?

Cindy Munford on April 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM

You know why Reid is all over these guys? Because Harry just loves the Koch. It’s what makes him like little boys.

bbinfl on April 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Ed, you need to add this video to the post and tweets

KenInIL on April 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Ed, you need to add this video to the post and tweets

KenInIL on April 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Ed, you need to add this video to the post and tweets

KenInIL on April 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Broken link

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Ronald Reagan

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM

As a matter of respecting others’ religious beliefs, we should always refer to them as the “Evil Koch Brothers Inc., a division of Emmanuel Goldstein International (Ltd.)”

PersonFromPorlock on April 2, 2014 at 1:39 PM

“Kochsteria: Effective or not?”

Not.

Kevin M on April 2, 2014 at 2:14 PM

It’s as effective as the slanderous attacks on Soros. The intellectual poverty of attacks like this says more about the idiots making them than the designated target.

Partisan bunk just like the majority of HotAir articles.

lexhamfox on April 2, 2014 at 2:26 PM

The Koch hysteria is part and parcel of other hysterias that the left has been carefully nurturing for a long time. Don’t underestimate the “progressives”. Violence is the next stage. They are desensitizing the public to lies, and they will need to move on to violence.

Campus brownshirts on the march

“Jill Schneiderman is an unlikely warrior for Jewish rights. A professor of Earth sciences at Vassar College and a lesbian activist, Schneiderman’s political passions put her smack in the middle of the far-Left academic mainstream.

At least they did until she decided to organize a student trip to Israel to study water issues.”

http://carolineglick.com/campus-brownshirts-on-the-march/

claudius on April 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

It’s precisely like Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984. The Leftist Club must have its demons. Right now, it’s the Koch brothers. If they were seriously looking for villainy by the wealthy, George Soros would be a better example.

oldennis on April 2, 2014 at 6:40 PM

It’s precisely like Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984. The Leftist Club must have its demons. Right now, it’s the Koch brothers. If they were seriously looking for villainy by the wealthy, George Soros would be a better example.

oldennis on April 2, 2014 at 6:40 PM

How did George Soros evade Nuremberg? He was obviously guilty of war crimes, he’s admitted to as much.

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Not.

flataffect on April 3, 2014 at 12:26 AM

ole dingy harry reid only has a problem with conservative donors

but to ole harry liberal ones are ok.

sniffles1999 on April 3, 2014 at 9:12 AM