KATHLEEN PARKER: Demonizing the Kochs

KATHLEEN PARKER

KATHLEEN PARKER

Rush Limbaugh can relax. The popular “demon of the right” has been replaced at least through the midterms by the Koch brothers, Charles and David.

Who?

Exactly. Though cable and online news junkies know the names, the vast majority of Americans probably have no idea who the Kochs are. They’re about to find out.

For the uninitiated, the brothers are libertarian billionaires whose vast industries in petroleum, asphalt, natural gas liquids, coal and ethanol employ 60,000 people. More to the point, they are spending gobs of their own money to sway politics toward free-market principles and away from current government expansionist trends.

For this, they have been targeted by Democrats, who are not exactly penniless when it comes to advancing their own politicians and policies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke down all barriers to protocol recently when he called the Kochs “un-American.”

Charles Koch, in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, responded by calling Democrats “collectivists.”

“Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents,” wrote Koch.

Billionaires, ya gotta love ‘em.

But they’re so much easier to hate.

Thus, Democrats are trying to make the Koch brothers the new face of the Republican Party. Conveniently, the name Koch is pronounced the same as that other capitalist goliath, Coke.

Appointing a person – or a pair of brothers – as the human face of the “enemy” is not a novel idea. During a previous election cycle, the Obama administration identified Limbaugh as the true leader of the Republican Party. This was an easy sell as many Republicans genuflected to Limbaugh, even apologizing when they might have offended him.

And Limbaugh, whose grandiosity needs no buffing, was all too willing to accept service on the credential.

Mr. Limbaugh, take your bow, it’s Koch time.

Reid’s McCarthyesque name-calling took hell to the devil. It was not only cringe-inducing but also profoundly sad.

This is really the heart of the Democratic proposition.

One needn’t support the brothers’ preference for unfettered markets or their willingness to fund positions that might favor them. Plenty of conservatives disagree with their support for tea party insurgents and their climate-change skepticism.

Allowing the super-wealthy to disproportionately influence political outcomes may indeed be bad for the democratic process – and that’s of legitimate concern to all. But one’s eyes should be wide open when people are singled out as un-American. What’s next?

Of course, I’m kidding. That could never happen here, except it sort of already has. When Reid called the Kochs un-American, a powerful government official fired a shot across the bow of two private citizens who have acted within the law while contributing wealth to the economy through employment.

Yes, it was bad when right-wingers called Obama un-American, but Obama is the most powerful man in the world and the rabble is just that. Reid owes the Kochs – and the American people – an apology.

Kathleen Parker‘s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

  • TWBDB

    Perhaps the Koch brothers wouldn’t be in the arena to be demonized if they didn’t spend a goodly portion of all that money made in the ‘free-market’ energy sector, attempting to brain wash the masses into making it easier for them to pocket even more money while trashing the environment and driving an even deeper wedge between American politics.

    Interesting that MS Parker warns us about when people are singled out as being un-American?