Hating Hateful Billionaires, from the White House's Pal

Byron York sees the hands of the White House behind a recent assault at the Think Progress site, called "The Billionaires Behind the Hate," on billionaire financier of political (and cultural)  causes (and member of the board of trustees of the Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason magazine) David Koch (and his brother Charles).

They are blamed for causing all the supposedly "hateful" opposition to certain administration policies, such as health care reform and "clean energy," and being the puppetmasters behind the Tea Party movement (now more popular than the GOP!).

"Think Progress" is the site of ex-Clinton man, and recent Obama transition team man, John Podesta's think tank, the Center for American Progress. York sees Podesta as still part of the general Obama orbit and doubtless doing what the administration wishes. Also, York writes:

Aside from its remarkable language -- is it "hate" to believe the stimulus, cap-and-trade and the current health care proposals are bad policy? -- the Podesta group's attack on the Kochs is striking because the Center for American Progress is itself the product of politically-active billionaires.  It would never have come into existence without the backing of California-based Herbert and Marion Sandler, who founded Golden West Financial Corporation and made billions engaging in some of the most irresponsible subprime lending of the first years of this decade.  (After the financial collapse, their reputation sank so low that they were brutally parodied in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch last year.)

In 2003, Herbert Sandler approached Podesta, then a law professor at Georgetown, with a proposal to found what would become the new think tank. It turned out Podesta had already been thinking about a similar idea, and the two men talked at length, and talked further when Podesta flew to San Francisco for more detailed discussions.  The Sandlers, who are also close to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ended up talking Podesta into taking the job.

There is another billionaire, George Soros, who is also close to the Center. In 2003, in the middle of spending nearly $30 million of his own money in a quest to unseat President George W. Bush, Soros pledged to give the Center $1 million a year for three years.  It was less than the Sandlers gave, but it was key support for an institution then getting off the ground.

The history of the Koch brothers' support of libertarian causes is told in my wonderful Christmas gift of a book, Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

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  • Tony's Sphincter||

    Rich people can kiss me!

  • Attorney||

    my wonderful Christmas gift of a book, Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

    Just imagine your loved one's face when she tears the wrapping paper off Radicals for Capitalism on Christmas morning!

  • Brian Doherty||

    Attorney---I assure you, it's a family memory you'll treasure forever.

  • SIV||

    It's not a piece of crap remainder title like Welch's McCain book either.I bought it for myself two Christmases ago.This year I got myself a custom air pistol.Woooooooooo!!!!

  • Ted S.||

  • Ted S.||

  • ||

    "Give her the gift even Santa can't deliver." Priceless.

  • Piltdown Man||

    I always wondered why the Kochs haven't been targeted by the left considering all the good work they are doing.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Same reason the Whole Foods guy got shithammered by the left.

  • SIV||

    As I said:Why not till now? They are perfect "villians" to "progressives" yet have remained "under the radar" until now.Whole Foods guy got smacked as soon as he opened his mouth.

  • SIV||

    Fred Koch, father of Charles and David and the company's namesake, helped to found the John Birch Society in the late 1950s. The John Birch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. By presenting progressive reform as a capitulation to the Soviet Union, Fred Koch and the other industrialists bankrolling the Birch Society were able to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting their narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations.

    I hope the third and any subsequent generations of the Koch family keep up the good works.It is nice to see the most successful among us voluntarily "giving back" to this great country.

  • Mary Stack||

    William Koch is the only one I would be interested in reading about but I am guessing he may not be mentioned in the "wonderful Christmas gift of a book".

  • SIV||

    I assume you've read this and all the links.He's much less politically interesting but if I had a billion I'd spend it on boats too.

  • Mary Stack||

  • ||

    Now I know what "Kochtopus" means.

  • ||

    I always assumed it was an abbreviation of "Kochtopussy".

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I thought it had something to do with Ed Koch, but now I'm up to speed.

  • hmm||

    For real rumor mongering wasn't one of the founders of the Birch Society something Welch? Coincidence? I think not!!

    (that was sarcasm for those with broken detectors)

  • Warty||

    KOCHTOPUS!!!!!!!! *shakes fist*

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    is it "hate" to believe the stimulus, cap-and-trade and the current health care proposals are bad policy?

    Why yes, yes it is.

  • ed||

    I thought it had been proved conclusively--the science is settled!--that if you disagree with The People's President, you're a hateful, tea-bagging, NASCAR-rooting, possum-eating, Keystone Ice-slurping trailer-trash. Did I leave anything out?

  • SIV||

    Gun-toting racist,misogynist,homophobe,superstitious God-bot duped by your corporate slavemasters into advocating against your own interests because you are just that stupid...and evil.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's right! Because none of the above exist in the Democrat Party! Never!

  • ||

    Soros lives in Bedford NY

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Fuck George Soros.

  • ||

    When did hate become some horrible thoughtcrime?

  • ||

    I opened this thread specifically to fund Kochtupus references.

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