On Feb. 26, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor and declared that billionaire Republican businessmen Charles and David Koch were “un-American.” He’s barely been able to stop talking about the “Koch brothers” ever since.
On March 4, Reid declared that Senate Republicans were “addicted to Koch.” On March 13, Reid mentioned the “Koch brothers” in a floor speech 25 times. This week, he said Republicans should wear Koch insignia on their suits — like NASCAR drivers.
It’s all part of Reid and the Democrats’ calculated efforts to summon a suitable villain in 2014. Reid believes that the Kochs, the financiers at the center of a nationwide GOP network that is spending millions of dollars on campaign ads against Democrats, are the perfect foil.
The good folks at the Sunlight Foundation have created a tool, CapitolWords, to show just how much Reid and his fellow Democrats are pushing the “Koch brothers” message.
The “Koch brothers” — who run Koch Industries, the Kansas-based firm that Forbes ranks as the second-largest private company in the United States — went unmentioned on the House and Senate floors between February 1998 and December 2010.
But in March 2014, their names were called out 79 times — and no one cited them more than Reid. Already, the Koch brothers have been name-dropped 38 times in April.
“They may believe that whoever has the most money gets the most free speech,” Reid declared in mid-March. “That is wrong, it is unfair, and it is untrue. I will do whatever it takes to expose their campaign, their campaign to rig the American political system to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”
The volume of the Democrats’ Koch brothers messaging is cranked so high that its rise rivals congressional mentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, even amid the incursion into Crimea and the international standoff over Ukraine. In fact, so far in April, Sunlight’s data show that “Koch brothers” has been said more than “Vladimir Putin.”
What We're Following See More »
The officials say these states failed to comply with the U.S. information-sharing requirements that aim to make vetting processes stronger.
"Every team that played on Sunday participated in some form of demonstration" of President Trump's comments about players who kneel during the National Anthem. Some "players, coaches and executives ... stood together arm-in-arm along the sidelines" while "others sat, knelt or raised a fist" and some entire teams "stayed in the locker room or tunnel for the duration of the anthem." The Broncos' Von Miller, who knelt with 31 of his teammates, said, "We felt like President Trump's speech was an assault on our most cherished right—freedom of speech. So, collectively we felt like we had to do something before this game."
"Trump isn't the only member of his administration fighting a culture war this week; his Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make a "free speech on campus address" on Tuesday at Georgetown University law school in D.C. It's going to get testy." Sessions will tell the students: "Whereas the American university was once the center of academic freedom — a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas — it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos."
"Angela Merkel will once again lead Germany, but her governing coalition is going to have to deal with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which rode a wave of anti-immigrant anger to claim a sizable chunk of seats in the Parliament for the first time. ... AfD, a hard-right, anti-Islam group not even represented in parliament in 2013, has become the third largest party. That might mean big changes to the character of a parliament that, thanks to the long shadow cast by Germany’s Nazi past, was largely free of hardline nationalism. Elsewhere, the environmentalist Greens and classical liberal, centrist Free Democrats (FDP) both grew their share of the vote," at the expense of socialists and Merkel's Christian Democrats.
Republican opposition to the GOP health care bill swelled to near-fatal numbers Sunday as Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the last-ditch effort to scrap the Obama health care law and Sen. Ted Cruz said that "right now" he doesn't back it. White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure's sponsors, said Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week." Collins said she doesn't support the bill's cuts to Medicaid, while Cruz said it wouldn't do enough to lower premiums.