CHARM OFFENSIVE: Ads like these in past elections have the billionaire Koch brothers in a PR campaign to make them look like the good guys.
The New York Times reports
on a public relations campaign by the formerly secretive Koch Brothers to brush up their image as they prepare to sink as much as a billion into electing their kind of politicians in 2016.
The record in Arkansas tells you all you need to know. Lipstick on pigs.
Like most human beings, the Kochs aren't one-dimensional as individuals. At least one is soft on the gays. They have demonstrated a passion for justice system reform and not only because reducing the cost of prison warehousing translates in time to lower taxes for rich people. They support the arts.
But back to Arkansas. The Kochs' permanent political organization here, Americans for Prosperity, has been devoted single-mindedly to producing a Republican majority in the Arkansas legislature and in the congressional delegation.
That means the familiar Republican playbook, no matter what the Kochs individually might believe:
* Lower taxes for rich people; higher consumption taxes for poor people.
* Reduction of services for the working poor, including, most important, fighting government health care — Obamacare, private option, whatever you want to call it.
* Opposition to abortion and family planning services.
* Opposition to equal rights for gay people.
* Opposition to gun safety laws.
* Building more oil pipelines, building fewer alternative energy projects.
* Fighting environmental regulation.
And so on. The Kochs might say these bullet points don't reflect their individual beliefs. Doesn't matter. If the money they spend produces a unilateral legislative agenda — and it does — they must own it. And "own" is the appropriate word.