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Kochmania and the battle for legitimacy

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In response to Dems to double down on Koch Brothers attacks:

I’ll take a stab at guessing why Democrats are doubling down on Kochmania, even though they got creamed in the last election, and their Koch obsession makes the party of Steyer and Soros look stupid: they’re not looking to win the nominal argument over campaign funding.  They’re laying the groundwork to challenge the legitimacy of what Republicans do by portraying them as paid stooges of the Evil Ones.

Campaign finance is one of those areas where the Beltway is separated from the rest of America by a broad gulf.  In general, everyone agrees that politics are corrupt, and expresses some frustration with the rich buying influence.  In practice, diatribes about campaign finance make their eyes glaze over.  It’s just not on their radar screens as they navigate through daily life, and to the extent most people think about the matter at all, they know full well that both parties have plenty of rich donors.  

Sometimes I think liberals are so busy defending everything Barack Obama does that they’re missing the cumulative effect of all those stories about his endless big-bucks fundraisers: even the lowest-information voter knows the man spends a lot of time raising funds.  So do Republicans.  There’s a lot of money in politics.  In other breaking news, the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, and somewhere across the fruited plain, a dog just bit a man.

What the Democrats are trying to accomplish with Koch fever, besides whipping up their dejected base with a handy hate fetish, is prepare a string of arguments that any given Republican initiative or reform is actually just a thinly-veiled attempt to do the bidding of their plutocrat masters, a class the Koch Brothers have been chosen to represent.  The effort to make normal people hate the Kochs personally was a bust, but the effort to work up resentment for what the Kochs supposedly represent?  That might work a little better.  Get ready for every single thing the Republican congress does to be portrayed as an order delivered to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner on Koch letterhead.


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