Republican Convention 2012

People Seem Surprised Yet Again that David Koch Believes Libertarian Things

Media notices his disagreement with the GOP on gay marriage, defense spending.

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Red meat to the right. Red cape to the left.

Politico took note Thursday that billionaire political bankroller David Koch – a New York delegate at the GOP convention – still believes libertarian things even while steering money toward GOP candidates who might not feel the same:

The 1980 vice presidential nominee for the socially liberal — but fiscally conservative — Libertarian Party, Koch told POLITICO "I believe in gay marriage" when asked about the GOP's stance on gay rights.

Romney opposes gay marriage, as do most Republicans, and when that was pointed out to Koch, he said "Well, I disagree with that."

Koch said he thinks the U.S. military should withdraw from the Middle East and said the government should consider defense spending cuts, as well as possible tax increases to get its fiscal house in order — a stance anathema to many in the Republican Party.

I shrugged when I saw the story yesterday, thinking this revelation is certainly not new – his view on gay marriage is in the guy's Wikipedia entry (though I didn't know his attitude about tax increases).  But today I've noticed the story bouncing around the gay blogosphere with typical comments from people who think he's lying or ask why he's not using his money to support the fight for marriage recognition.

Koch is notably on the board for the Reason Foundation (which publishes this site and Reason magazine) and lately rather infamously on the board for the Cato Institute. Both Reason and Cato have published a significant number of statements and arguments positive of government recognition for gay marriage (while getting government out of marriage entirely is preferable, it's not likely). Ted Olson, one of the attorneys who represented the American Foundation for Equal Rights' lawsuit to overturn California's Proposition 8 gay marriage ban, also happens to be the counsel for Koch Industries (and a board member at Cato).

Clearly – and unfortunately – the anti-gay elements of the GOP won the day when writing the Republican Party's platform for 2012. But while their talking heads were extremely disciplined at staying on message in front of the cameras, we know just from the way the Ron Paul delegates were treated, that the Grand Old Party is not in the lockstep the left thinks it is.