So important to the self-identity of the contemporary liberal have the Koch brothers become that they have inspired antitheses. Soros, Katzenberg, Steyer, Bloomberg, McKay—these donors, culled from the ranks of left-wing billionaires and millionaires, have in recent years poured undisclosed amounts of money into partisan and ideological causes. Yet they receive nothing like the scrutiny endured by the Kochs, because unlike the Kochs they are not the central figures in a comprehensive narrative endowed with moral significance, a master-story told by parties and partisans and major news organizations to justify political action.
“We absolutely have to keep battling back, and we can’t let ads go unanswered,” said Ty Matsdorf, a Majority PAC operative, to Carl Hulse. I do not doubt that the battle is important for Matsdorf; his salary depends on it. But it is also important for many other people, for financial and professional reasons as well as for social and cultural ones. Not only is a lot of money at stake in the battle between Team Obamacare and Team Koch Brothers, so is the question of which part of the elite—the liberal part or the conservative part—shall rule. And in that battle, whether you are an aspiring blogger, a foundation officer, a newspaper editor, or a global oligarch, it is absolutely critical that the entire world knows exactly which side you are on.