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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3BFKF
David Koch
If you're the Koch brothers and your hobby is hating the president, what else are you going to do with your surplus millions?
Since September, Americans for Prosperity, a group financed in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, has spent an estimated $20 million on television advertising that calls out House and Senate Democrats by name for their support of the Affordable Care Act.

The unusually aggressive early run of television ads, which has been supplemented by other conservative initiatives, has gone largely unanswered, and strategists in both parties agree it is taking a toll on its targets.

The ads are running all over the place: Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia. They're targeting Democratic senators up this cycle, as well as more freshmen House members. This round is about $1.8 million worth, a sum Democratic campaign committees—and individual candidates—can't even begin to match. And what are they fighting for? Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity says, “[t]here is an easy solution: Repeal the law and it goes away.”

Yes, repeal. In other words, taking away the insurance millions of Americans have now secured. That's a prospect that only Ted Cruz is still talking about out loud. But if AFP has anything to say about it—and given the millions they're willing to spend, you bet they will—Republicans will be forced to run on that taking stuff away from people platform. That focus is going to have diminishing returns, as people are paying less and less attention to the issue with each passing day. AFP's strategy thus seems to be do inflict as much damage as possible now, early, while there's still some chance that people care.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (48+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:17:29 AM PST

  •  This Is How They Advance in Midterms (25+ / 0-)

    Gin up their turnout, help the Democrats fail to gin up ours. It has nothing to do with hating Obama, this is about taking the Senate and many more advances in the states and local races.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:24:14 AM PST

    •  I agree with you about the hating (6+ / 0-)

      on POTUS thing. But the fact is this is January, early to be dropping lots of cash. Of course, for them it's just chump change.

      Going off of what I read in "poopdogcomedy"s diary about Michelle Nunn, the lies and general animus to the ACA can be countered.  It will take some real skill and strength on the part of Dems running for reelection (questionable) but it's possible.

      •  So you probably don't remember the 60's. There (6+ / 0-)

        was this phenomena hardly anyone remembers called bubble gum.

        The music industry loved it. It was controlled and a money maker. Then came MoTown, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and a wave of real music.

        I remember seeing the Byrds for the first time at a lake 'dance'. It was the first time everyone sat down and listened to the music. A real record scratch. Nothing was the same ever after.

        Money only goes so far and then the truth arrives.

        Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

        by 88kathy on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 10:49:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Correction (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rainmanjr, 88kathy

          Your analogy refers to the types of manufactured music that were churned out between Elvis and the Beatles--roughly 1960-1963.  Some representative artists include the teen idols, The Four Seasons, and a whole lot of other "clean" bands created by corporate entities to sell watered-down pop to white audiences.  To quote Jerry Lee Lewis, "Thank God for the Beatles.  They got rid of all the Frankies, the Bobbies,and the Fabians; they swept them aside like wheat before the chaff"

          However, this is definitely NOT bubblegum which is a genre created in the late 60s--roughly 1968-1973.  Bubblegum music was created specifically by Super K productions.  Think 1910 Fruitgum Company et al.  Some of this music is crap too, but other examples from this genre have stood the test of time, including "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe,  and "Black Betty" by Ram Jam.   This style also led to the first boy band--the Monkees.  The boy/girl band trend continues to this day--as do corporate attempts to feed pablum to the masses.  

          Ham-handed corporate attempts to sell us crap will be with us forever, and the Kochs--one of the biggest corporate entities in history--are a good recent example.

          Secrecy breeds hypocrisy.

          by YankInUK on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:09:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Great comment. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, YankInUK

            One of the problems for corp's that try to feed pablum is that, eventually, one of the pablum's want some credit.  That's why the Monkey's Producer created a cartoon.  They don't talk back.  It seems to me that the majority of ppl know who the Koch's and Trumps are and aren't buying.  I hope that perception is correct.

            "If it takes all night / that'll be alright / if I can get you to smile before I leave." Jackson Browne

            by rainmanjr on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:14:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

              The Monkees started out as a boy band, and their records were made by studio musicians, plus Davy Jones on vocals.  But once they learned to write songs and play their instruments, they wanted to innovate (example: the album "Head).  At that point, the boy band creators moved on to things that were easier to control:  The Archies, Josie & the Pussycats, The Defranco Family, and the Partridge Family.  

              One difference between the music producers and the Koch lobby is that the former attempt to control/package artistic content, while the latter strive to control/package message.  In both cases, I am constantly surprised by the number of people who DO buy the pablum.  

              Luckily for our side, you can't totally control either for very long.  Independent thought is Kryptonite to the corporate messengers.

              Secrecy breeds hypocrisy.

              by YankInUK on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 12:55:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. That's exactly what I would have said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            had I known what I was talking about...

            Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

            by 88kathy on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 10:10:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What he referred to as "bubblegum" (0+ / 0-)

            was 50s dance rock, the genre referred to in Don McLean's "American Pie" as the "music [that] died" (although Don's own song seems to honor the music that replaced it more than the music that died; his grief seems to be more about the loss of the three performers killed on Feb. 2 1959 than the rest of their genre), or the music that Rick Nelson lamented the audience at the "Garden Party" not liking.

            The main thing that happened with the Beatles was that rock music became more political and psychological.  After the Beatles became more popular, corporate minions packaged mild, apolitical versions of what they were doing as the bubblegum music, so named for its appeal to the kids not yet interested in adult themes.  Despite being in college in those years, I did like some of the bubblegum groups as PART of my musical diet, but not all.  And they were successful: one of the Monkees was so idolized by young girls that Gene Roddenberry cast an actor who resembled him (Walter Koenig) as a new member of the Enterprise crew, Pavel Checkov!

    •  Yes, and remember how well it worked... (0+ / 0-)

      ...mostly imho because Dems up for election either thought it was futile and decided to hold onto their rainy-day-fund to use it later or they didn't think the repubs could pull it off.

      Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

      by kalihikane on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 01:08:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, not a day goes by here in N.C. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, icebergslim, rainmanjr

      that I don't see an an anti-Obamacare ad saying Kay Hagen promised you could keep your plan, blah, blah, Kay Hagen and tell her blah, blah, blah. paid for by Americans for (Koch) Prosperity.  It infuriates me but there's nothing I can do but donate and work the phones when the time comes.  And I'm worried that when the time comes it will be too late.

      Proud to be a Democrat

      by Lying eyes on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:38:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worry no more. (0+ / 0-)

        Obamacare is going to be great.  Those poorly affected amount to less than 4% of the public and, while that's a lot of people, it is less than the 80% that are being positively affected or not affected at all.  

        "If it takes all night / that'll be alright / if I can get you to smile before I leave." Jackson Browne

        by rainmanjr on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:43:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's another game afoot here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      suzq, Mimikatz

      That's to get the early dominant meme of campaign strength to be size of warchest.

      Even in the era of Citizens United, we don't have to match the GOP dollar-for-dollar. Typically, we need to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of 67% of a GOP opponent to be sufficiently competitive. Many GOP mega funders insist on an overblown media campaign, because they are used to advertising being the way to "win" market share in their personal wealth building and because its easier to monitor.

      My prediction: those of our candidates who get sucked into a media-heavy arms race are likely to come up short. The campaigns that stay disciplined and put real (don't read as most) expenditures into direct voter organization will fare better.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:19:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right. A lot of this is TIMING. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vatexia, rainmanjr

        It's too early to be pounding these issues.  However, in the lead-up to the general, we need a serious GOTV.  Some media buys closer to the election couldn't hurt.  

        But this bombardment...

        1. may draw unwanted media attention to the ads which may poke holes in them

        2. will begin to turn off voters, particularly if the GOP keeps up its war on women/immigrants/minorities...etc..

        3. may lose their punch as voters simply get sick of them.

        They're not very pleasant to watch.

        •  The reason why it is smart (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for them to to do this now is because they have the airwaves to themselves. Remember how the Obama campaign spent all of that dough in the spring and summer defining Romney before he could respond? Everyone agreed it was very effective. The GOP argued that no one was paying attention etc...

          By the Hagan and other vulnerable Dems respond, voters will be tired of ads in general. This early money could set the tone for the race if the employer and individual mandates receive more negative attention once they kick in. Remember, more plan cancellations come out in October, just weeks before the vote.

          Go back and look what BHO did to Romney in May-August of 2012. It was brutal.

          New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

          by AlexDrew on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:22:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The attacked candidates should start their (24+ / 0-)

    response with the beginning of the Koch commercials, then stand before the camera and say "I proudly voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  One million previously uninsured Floridians and nearly 80 thousand residents of my district now have health care that Mr. Koch wants to take away from you.  I will protect your insurance coverage in Congress, please help me do it with your votes.  I'm Joe Garcia and I approve this message."

    A congress person who stands up for his/her constituents will win an election over someone who wants take a hard-won right to medical care for themselves and their families away.  Its an easy choice.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:51:05 AM PST

  •  This is expected (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unfortunately, so will a lot of repeated mid-term cowering.

    •  Cowering is practice for concession speeches (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe, just maybe enough of our endangered candidates will understand that cowering is pretty much flip-flopping.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:31:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There have been two ads flighted in NC. (7+ / 0-)

    The first was on heavy rotation for months and chock full o' lies spoken in a nauseating concern troll voice. I laughed every time the 'tell Kay Hagan to stop playing politics with healthcare' line came up.

    Other countries have truth in advertising laws, why doesn't the US?

  •  Their own ads will defeat them within the year (17+ / 0-)

    I have a family member who is staunchly right wing in the tea party camp - makes for some ugly dinner conversation.  He just proudly showed me his new ACA health care card and never having insurance before in his life, was noticeably pleased with it. I didn't make a big deal about it though I wanted to rub it in a little.
    Although his dinner time rhetoric talks about freedom from overbearing government, his reality is enormous relief that he, his wife and children all now have health care.

    All the Koch ads will do is bring the truth of experience into the light as people start using their health care benefits.

  •  A face not even a mother could love (6+ / 0-)

    I guess a lifetime of addiction to money hasn't made David Kock very happy. Just like heroin, even though you crave it and you think you can't live without it - it is bad for you. It twists your morals, ruins your relationships, and leaves you empty. Such miserable people don't have the intellectual or emotional capacity to do anything except try to make other people as miserable as they are.  Poor sad David - the drained carcass of a meaningless life.

  •  Dirt Bag (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buffie, stlsophos, Stude Dude, emyrphe

    Hey, Koch! President Obama is trying to help the people of this country, unlike you and your despicable brother!
    You have no business in our government and have no business telling anyone what to do!
    Take your millions, shove them where the sun don't shine, and call it a day!!!!
    You are both, non entities, in this country, and you should be treated as such!!!

  •  Small correction? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think that's supposed to be a b.  Surplus billions.


  •  GOP is addicted to KOCH Aid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, emyrphe

    They don't care about facts, truth, people, deficits, NOTHING.  All they care about is KOCHs  and more KOCH!

    Whatever the KOCHs want the GOP wants to give them.  It is sick.  It is an addiction.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:39:58 PM PST

  •  HERE WE GO AGAIN............. (0+ / 0-)

    With the total baloney re: the "vast power of the reich wing with all of their money... targeting democratic senators"...

    and the sophomoric, read state sounding "they hate Obama_.

    I suppose you are again implying these worthless ads are going to "sway 1,000's of liberal voters and get them to vote against the democrats"??

    WRONG again.

    I can only conclude this nonsense is in fact pre-emptive excuse making for the feeble democratic senators who end up losing this year-- not because of the eveel Koch Brothers, but because they are NOT getting anything done in Washington, and because numerous disgusted democratic voters are going to stay far away from the polls this midterm.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:41:03 PM PST

    •  Great, enjoy your Republican Senate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I can assure you, they'll get stuff done.

      You won't like what they get done, mind you, but they'll get stuff done.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:16:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So.... You've Bought Into This? (0+ / 0-)

        if democratic incumbents lose this year, it's solely the doing of these admittedly worthless ads funded by the eveel Koch Bros?

        that is what you are saying?

        what a weak load.

        "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:22:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Koch Bros didn't get rich (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          by throwing money away. The very wealthy can be notoriously cheap.

          Presumably they expect some return on their investment or they wouldn't be doing it.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:25:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're in Severe Denial (0+ / 0-)

            and you're wrong.

            the wealthy throw away their money frequently. like spending $75 Million on a Andy Warhol painting.

            the fact is the dickhead Koch's and FAUX News and numerous other ass clowns spent at least three years and untold millions of dollars attempting to get their One Percent fellow ass clown Romney in office. they did everything in their power to slam Obama, make him look bad, called him every name in the clownservative strategy book.


            please answer the question.

            "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

            by Superpole on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:39:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's a sad commentary that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, cocinero, OrganizedCrime

    the people who are making people sick (Koch's petcoke piles) are at the same time also trying to make sure people do not have health insurance.

    Does greater wealth equate to less empathy?

    •  Short answer - Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This has been another episode of "Short answers to obvious questions".

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:16:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Democrats need to GET OFF THEIR ASSES (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    untorqued, Yosef 52, rainmanjr

    and get to moving in the ad market.

    Obama learned a hard lesson when he lost in the 2010 midterms.  He must be out there raising monies.  And he is.

    If you don't respond and let these ads go, it starts to be the TRUTH when it is not.  Remember, how the GOP stigmatized Obamacare, when OBAMA sat in the White House thinking it was nonsense.

    This was part of losing the midterm elections in 2010.

    Democrats, get it together.

    •  Since most Democratic donors (0+ / 0-)

      are working class people, unemployed, retired, or otherwise fiscally challenged, they are not going to be able to match the Koch brothers' donations.  And that is exactly the way Republicans want it: it's called "disarming your opponents."  We have to be smart since we don't have as much money.

      The President and other members of the administration need to be reminding America, through FREQUENT prime time speeches (even Fireside Chats like FDR), which the media will have to cover, that Republicans vote against the welfare of the average person, and are continuing to do so, then insulting the people they hurt as "lazy."

      And rank and file progressive voters should become activists as well as donors.  Get an extra email address just for keeping up with politics, create a Facebook page (with restricted profile) keyed to THAT email address, and forward every thing you can find.  And volunteer for a local Democratic candidate; if there is none in your House district, find one running for the Senate or Governor in your state.  This will give you a chance to do phone banking, bringing up the Democratic platform as well as that of your specific candidate (Texas and Georgia, support Wendy and Michelle and Jason!), and work with a voter registration drive.

      And when you have some extra money, donate to a local Democrat what you don't need for necessities!  Tax time is coming, and one thing you probably have that the Kochs don't is a refund check coming.

  •  Fools and their money….. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Democorporate faction of the party uses the Far Right as its excuse for moving further right.

    by masswaster on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:52:29 PM PST

  •  What will be the terms of the campaign debate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Americans for Prosperity is setting the terms of the debate on which campaigns will be run this Spring and Summer.  It is a smart tactic, whatever we think of the message, and it works far more often than it fails.  We saw Obama do it to Romney very effectively.  

    As Tweety is doing what he does on TV right now (God help us), he is correctly pointing out that the money on the left isn't going to compete with funders like the Koch brothers.  He points out that the President is what he calls the "rainmaker" and that his use of his organization and his fundraising capacity is what can make the difference.  Let's see whether Obama rises to help his Party.  Let's see if his is willing to work, really work, on the one thing that will rescue what is left of his Presidency.  Finally, the time to do the things he doesn't seem to like doing to elect some of those vulnerable Democrats is now, and he showed in 2012 that he know it.  We won't have to guess about all that, it will be right on the front pages.  

  •  Kocks represent the worst that America produces, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zestyann, OrganizedCrime

    both in terms of multi national corporate arrogance, corruption, and criminality. It's capitalism at its worse. They are doing to Americans what they have bullied their way into doing to citizens of other countries for years. It's no wonder why America is hated around the world. It's corporations influencing the U.S. government and it's military to screw people over in the name of profits, access to resources, shipping lanes, and commercial markets. Freedom and democracy are marketing tools to these guys.  

    I think clowns wear makeup just to get my attention. Actually, I’m more of the big shoe type.

    by glb3 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:14:32 PM PST

  •  Glad their ROI is so shitty (0+ / 0-)

    Have they ever won a campaign they spent millions on?

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:14:39 PM PST

  •  Evil (0+ / 0-)

    looking motherfucker.

  •  Bruce Braley (IA) (0+ / 0-)

    has been responding. He has also tied popular Republican Governor Terry Branstad to the law they are attacking. Branstad touted a compromise he approved that allows Medicaid expansion, under the ACA, in his State of the State speech yesterday.

  •  Koch Brothers dangerous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are the two most dangerous people in America.They are destroying democracy Koch dollar by dollar.They have caused more damage to the country than Al Queda could hope for.They are truly the ugly Americans.

    We could certainly slow down the aging process if it had to work its way through Congress. Will Rogers

    by zestyann on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:35:35 PM PST

  •  So how many jobs are they creating? (0+ / 0-)

    There's got to be some positive consequence of spending all that money, right?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:47:08 PM PST

  •  Avarice personified (0+ / 0-)

    How evil is evil? Despite history, we still have yet to know. Koch Industries is eager to answer that question for us.

  •  Calling Dr Dean (0+ / 0-)

    The only time the dems delivered strong election year messaging was when Howard Dean ran the show from 2005 thru 2008. I see no signs of visionary leadership or a  aggressive national campaign strategy from the democrats in 2014 like the good doctor orchestrated as head of the DNC with his 50 State strategy.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 11:21:27 PM PST

  •  David Koch face looks like a punching bag. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Wait awhile. This may backfire big-time. (0+ / 0-)

    Remember 1998, when the Republican candidates thought they couldn't possibly go wrong by impeaching Clinton and harping incessantly on the Lewinski scandal? By November, a significant number of people -- and not just those who got insurance through Obamacare -- are going to realize what's in this for them.

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