This headline — Koch brothers will offer audition to Jeb Bush — says a lot about our current state of political affairs. Their lordships seem to think politicians are just hirelings to be auditioned. Maybe they’re right. And, anyway, a multitude of sources say they’re going to support their boy Scott Walker. See David Koch Signals a Favorite: Scott Walker andÂ David Koch: Scott Walker Would Defeat Hillary Clinton â€˜by a Major Marginâ€™. I guess all those years of being the Koch’s loyal poodle are paying off for ol’ Scottie.
See also Elias Isquith:
A subsequent report from Politico cast some doubt on whether David Kochâ€™s claim that Walker should be the GOPâ€™s nominee was as ironclad as the Times indicated. But that doesnâ€™t matter, really. What matters is that because Kennedy illogically and unnecessarilyclaimed in the Courtâ€™s Citizens United opinion that â€œindependent expenditures â€¦ do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,â€ a cryptic remark from one wingnut billionaire can have major implications for a country of more than 300 million.
Despite how farcical such a state of affairs is already, itâ€™s only going to get worse. One of the crucial assumptions Kennedy used to justify Citizens United, for example, was that a big-spending independent group could be barred from coordinating with a candidate. Kennedy reasoned that if a political nonprofit wants to pay for ads attacking Politician X, there wonâ€™t be corruption â€” or even its appearance â€” unless the nonprofit worked directly with Xâ€™s opponent. If the nonprofit were run by Xâ€™s allies, it would make no difference.
Opponents of the ruling thought the hypothetical was patently ridiculous. They figured that any wall built between a candidate and her allies would be highly permeable at best. But another recent development from the GOP primary, this time involving former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, suggests the pretense of non-coordination is falling apart even more rapidly than expected, and that we may be about to witness the birth of a whole new kind of presidential campaign.
Technically, Bush is not yet a candidate for president. But heâ€™s fundraising indefatigablyfor his Right to Rise super PAC, which he can â€œcoordinateâ€ with so long as his campaign remains undeclared. Thatâ€™ll be money well-saved, too, according to the Associated Press: Bush is planning to be the first serious candidate ever to â€œoutsourceâ€ to the super PAC much of the work usually done by the official campaign. Thanks to Justice Kennedy, the super PAC wonâ€™t be constrained by fundraising limits.
So there we are.. But there is one faint ray of hope from Montana, Â of all places. The Koch worked very hard to get Medicaid expansion blocked (why?) in Montana, but they failed. For all their money, they can be ham-handed oafs in politcs:
For the Medicaid battle the Kochs tried a new strategy, one that never works in the West. They flew in a bunch of high-priced young politicos from Washington to get the job done. These held â€œtown meetingsâ€ in rural communities at which they showed up in slim-fit suits and pointy shoes, looking like they were heading to a nightclub, lecturing farmers and ranches on politics and the dangers of â€œmore Obamacareâ€ and publicly threatening moderate Republicans. It didnâ€™t take long for them to get booed off the stage by their own partisans.
Progressives played it smart:
They teamed up with hospital executives, doctors and business leaders. These are Republican-leaning types who wanted Medicaid expansion in 2013 but were let down by their own high-priced conservative lobbyists who failed to deliver Republican votes. This time, the progressives took care of business and pressured one in five Republicans to vote for it. Kim Abbott of Montana Human Rights Network, who coordinated the effort, says they banked a record 10,000 calls to legislators. They found citizens with life-ending illnesses who could not afford treatment, who are not eligible for Medicaid nor an ACA-subsidized plan, and paired them with hospital leaders for media appearances and to testify at hearings at the Capitol. The Kochsâ€™ crew, meanwhile, testified at the same hearings that Americans â€œwill no longer have an incentive to work hardâ€ if Medicaid is expanded. …
…Â At the height of the debate two months ago, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a rancher, wrote a letter to his local newspaper pointing out that Koch Industries owns a ranch in Montana that has taken $12 million in public grazing subsidies while spending their fortune to prevent someone who makes $11,000 a year from getting public help for medical care. The Koch team leader reacted by penning an angry opinion piece, attacking Schweitzer but leaving his accusation unanswered, thus spreading the bad news. It was a serious blow.
Maybe if the Kochs weren’t getting all those free goodies from the government they would have to work harder. Maybe they’d have less time to play politics.
The best part was that the Montana Americans for Prosperity chapter released a statement sayingÂ Â that “the voices of millions of Montanans” didn’t want to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. Millions? The entire population of Montana isÂ 1,023,579, according to the Census Bureau. There’s no such thing as “millions of Montanans.” Someone from Montana would know that, I suspect.