Slumdog Billionaires: The Koch Brothers Play the Victim Card

Sep 07 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

We are all indebted to the clever person(s) who managed to make an audio recording of a substantial part of the Koch brothers strategy summit in Vail last June despite heavy security to prevent that very thing.  Last year’s leaked summit program gave us insight into their thought leaders and topics. This audio gives us a sense of tone as well as content. Some of their remarks are clearly unvarnished for a friendly audience, but some still maintain the public illusion even in private. Is it possible they are starting to believe their own press?

Mother Jones exclusives:

What they said in Vail

Who is their next big thing

Part of the audio captured a speech thanking the biggest contributors. Here is the list:

Who paid for it

So do the Koch brothers really pour on the hyperbole even among their friends? Yes, apparently they do.

  • They compared Barack Obama to Saddam Hussein with no apparent irony or eyelash batting.
  • They called the 2012 election “the mother of all wars” speaking to a crowd old enough to remember WWII.

I realize that this hype is all in the cause of fundraising, but…..really? This is what your audience laps up? I guess I thought the wealthy would be a little harder to fool, but maybe not.  Or maybe even in their secret meetings, they stick to their story.

But what I really find interesting is the carryover of the victim/underdog myth.  Charles Koch baldly stated that the conservatives in the room were at a “competitive disadvantage,” “overwhelmed,” and that “The media is 90-plus percent against us.” The truth, of course, is the reverse. Conservatives control 90% of talk radio, dominate television news and political talk shows, and outspent Democrats 7 to 1 in the last election.  Koch exhorted his audience to bring in new people as if they were a start-up neighborhood watch group instead of the most well organized, well funded, and pervasively penetrating political group this country has ever seen.

Any good speaker tailors his speech to his audience, so what does Charles Koch’s speech tell us about what he thinks his audience wants to hear?  Apparently, they want to be cocooned in a comfortable story about overcoming odds and ”fighting the big one” again. Yet I can’t imagine that these people, many of whom made or at least added to their own fortunes, have kept themselves so insulated that they don’t realize they have a substantial structural advantage. Which means they are paying to listen to fairy tales, and the Kochs happily provide them, spinning reassuring words at twilight to usher in peaceful sleep after a day spent at [class] war. To sleep, perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub.  For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.

I assumed that the intense security around these Koch meetings is there to keep out the riff raff and nonbelievers, but apparently it is also to keep out reminders of the truth: the destruction they have caused and the disgust they have earned in their campaign to “have it all” by taking it away from the rest of us.


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