FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Democrats’ Koch Strategy and the GOP Should Be Concerned
H/T to ole’ Tommy Crown for this.
Greg Sargent, upon first read, is really overcomplicating/explaining an overcomplicated strategy with regard to the frequent Democratic attacks on the Koch Brothers and their organizations, notably Americans For Prosperity.
In the Louisiana Senate race, the leading Republican, Bill Cassidy, will be tied to AFP for the ads running in the state (it is important to note that neither Cassidy nor Mary Landrieu have run ads) attacking Landrieu for her support of the president and the Affordable Care Act.
They aren’t really about the Kochs. They are a proxy for the one percent, a means through which to tap into a general sense that the economy remains rigged in favor of the very wealthy. Placed into this frame, GOP policies – opposition to raising the minimum wage; the Paul Ryan fiscal blueprint, which would redistribute wealth upwards; opposition to the Medicaid expansion, which AFP is fighting in multiple states – become more comprehensible as part of a broader storyline. In that narrative, Republican candidates are trying to maintain or even exacerbate an economic status quo that’s stacked against ordinary Americans, while Dems are offering solutions to boost economic mobility and reduce inequality, which are increasingly pressing public concerns.
(I’d like to note that polling shows the exact opposite with regard to the “increasingly pressing public concerns” bit as it applies to the reduction of inequality.)
The end of Sargent’s bit about the Koch strategy, however, does point out something Republicans should be concerned about.
GOP attacks on the health law in red states are not just about Obamacare. They are, more broadly, about casting Senate Dems as willing enablers of the hated president and blaming the sputtering recovery on #Obummer Big Gummint, to channel people’s economic anxieties into a vote to oust Dem incumbents. With the law and its author deeply unpopular in these states, Dems can’t really run on any Obama accomplishments. So they need to make these campaigns about the fact that Republican candidates don’t have an actual agenda to boost people’s economic prospects, and indeed are beholden to a broader agenda that has made the problem worse, even as Dems offer a concrete economic mobility agenda of their own.
While we here know that there are solid, conservative ideas being pushed in terms of fixing things within the country, the outward perception is, indeed, that the Republicans are running against Obama and Obamacare. They are running against Democrats. The GOP leadership has made it clear that they are running against them. They, however, are not running for anything.
The safe strategy, right now, is to push the anti-Obama/Obamacare strategy narrative. Polling shows increasing sourness from the public on the Democrats. But, polling also shows very little confidence in the Republicans, and this will almost certainly not be a pro-Republican election. Just an anti-Democratic one.
And, it’s fine to run that way now, but in the next two years, good, solid conservatives need to work on the messaging of their ideals with regard to fixing the economic mess exacerbated by the president and his party. 2016 is a year that has to be a pro-conservative Republican year. It cannot just be an anti-Hillary year because, if it is, we’ll be stuck with another lackluster candidate and a very tough fight.
EDIT: The Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay adds this to the conservation regarding the attacks on Cassidy over Koch ties…
However, Sen. Landrieu has received $27,000 in campaign contributions since 2000 from Koch Industries and its subsidiaries and employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Koch’s political action committee has given Landrieu’s another $35,000, including $15,000 during the current election cycle, making the company one of her PAC’s top 20 donors.
While the company or its employees have not donated to Landrieu in this cycle, they have donated to the Louisiana Democrat in every other election cycle since 2000—even when she was not actually facing reelection.
Senate Majority PAC did not respond to a request for comment on the apparent double standard.