Insider the Kochs' plan to beat Harry Reid

While there’s been some speculation that Reid might retire rather than run for reelection if Democrats lose control of the Senate this fall, the 74-year-old, in interviews with POLITICO, seemed almost giddy about the prospects of facing down the Kochs in 2016. So fixated is Reid that for a time this summer he kept on his desk in the Capitol a cartoon clipped from the pages of a July issue of the New Yorker magazine depicting a Scout leader reading from a book to his troop sitting around a campfire. “Run everybody, run for your life,” the leader says. “It’s them, it’s the Koch brothers.”

Reid has used the Senate floor as a forum for a months-long anti-Koch campaign, during which he’s called the brothers everything from “un-American” to “radical” and has worked to turn them into national poster children for a Republican Party that caters to the interests of the very richest while ignoring those of the middle class.

The attacks have motivated the very rich conservatives who help fund the Koch political operation. At the brothers’ annual summer donor seminar in June, organizers erected a life-sized cardboard cutout of Reid, his arms spread and his mouth agape as if in midspeech. Emanating from it was a cartoon-like quote bubble with the word “Un-American.”

Cardboard Harry was the object of derision, said attendees. “These donors are competitive, and competitive people like to see the competition,” said one. “They get fired up by competition.”