Billionaire oil-trader-turned-green-evangelist Tom Steyer has made a very expensive discovery: at the cost of $4.5 million from his own pockets, he has learned that the Koch Brothers just aren’t evil enough, even for progressives, any more.
Traditionally, the Koch Brothers have occupied a space in the liberal-left imagination somewhere between Genghis Khan, Skeletor and (Captain Planet’s arch-enemy) Zarm – the embodiment of selfish, greedy, conscience-free, environmentally-destructive right-wing hatefulness.
That’s why, when Steyer launched his $100 million NextGen Climate Action group to campaign against Republican candidates in this year’s US mid-term elections, he used the Koch Brothers in much the same way as parents of small children use the Bogeyman: as a dreadful warning of the dire fate which will befall you if you do the wrong thing.
But Steyer’s greenie/left-leaning target audience is apparently no longer scared of the Koch Brothers Bogeyman. New analysis from the Media Research Center (MRC) shows that while Steyer devoted no fewer than 7,637 TV ads to attacking the Koch Brothers, at a cost of $4.5 million, their dread name failed to carry almost any weight with voters.
Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action fund campaigned against seven conservative candidates in total, most of these saying that a vote for the Republican was a vote for the Koch Brothers. However, only three of these candidates lost their campaigns and the Media Research Center’s analysis suggests that these – Terri Lynn Land in Michigan; Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and Tom Corbett in Pennyslvania – had very little to do with Steyer’s efforts.
As even the establishment liberal outlet Politico noted after the mid-terms in November: Steyer’s “political investments mostly went belly-up.”
And what an extravagantly pointless investment they were. When Steyer launched his NextGen Climate Action fund, he had imagined his fellow liberal billionaires would be so keen to save the planet that they would stump up $50 million – which he would then happily match from his own pocket.
In the event, however, only $2 million of that $50 million materialised. So in the end, Steyer himself had to do most of the heavy lifting, spending $74 million of his own money on the 2014 election cycle, making him comfortably the biggest political contributor of the entire year. (Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg came second with $40 million).
Steyer is now, of course, gearing up to support the Democrat candidate in the 2016 presidential election race – in which he believes that “climate change” will prove a key issue.
And if it is let’s not forget – for those who believe in “man made global warming”, that is – that Steyer himself has done as much as anyone to create the problem. Since his conversion to Gaia-worship, Steyer claims to have divested himself from all his fossil fuel interests.
But the fact remains that a chunk of his fortune comes from his hedge fund Farallon Capital’s investments in the coal industry. With help from Steyer’s financing, coal production from Indonesia to China increased annually by 70 million tons, which surely puts him in the same league of international eco-criminals as jet-setters Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, the Prince of Wales and the Koch Brothers.
So if he really wants the Democrat candidate to win in the next presidential election, maybe a better campaign slogan would be this: “Hillary Clinton/Whoever would like to make it clear that her campaign has nothing whatsoever to do with Tom Steyer.”