April 9

From the anti-Koch ads running in Senate campaigns to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) rant claiming the latest Ryan budget is a gift tailor-made for the Kochs, the Koch brothers appear to be everywhere the Democrats look.  Or, the Democrats want to make it seem like the Kochs are everywhere. I’m not really sure. I think it’s kind of weird.

A majority of Americans have never even heard of the Koch brothers. The general public could not pick the brothers out of a lineup with Pussy Riot, yet the Democrats continue to expend a lot of time, energy and money trying to make them a central part of the 2014 campaign. Talk about inside baseball…

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talk during an event on Capitol Hill on April 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats were joined by US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and others to support a minimum wage raise from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (AFP PHOTO/Brendan Smialowski)

Anyway, Democratic campaign managers are not crazy; there is no chance they really believe an anti-Koch message drives votes.  But perhaps there is a method to their madness. There are two lines of thinking that might be driving their strange Koch brother-focused messaging.  First is that the Democrats have nothing affirmative to talk about. The failures of Obamacare and the weak economy have left them defenseless in the face of deadly GOP attacks. After five years in power, the Democrats are a spent force. They are not credible when they talk about solutions.

And second, it is possible Democrats are defaming the Kochs in hopes it will intimidate other possible Republican donors. They know conservative groups and at least one major Romney donor were targeted effectively by the IRS before the 2012 elections, so why not use similar tactics to target the Kochs, in order to make them an example of what happens to good Americans when they dare oppose the Democrats’ rule?

We are almost at the six month mark before the midterm elections. To the Democrats, engaging in a hypocritical and cowardly smear campaign, trashing innocent citizens in hopes of spooking potential Republican donors, is better than trying to defend their support of Obamacare and explain away their job-killing policies.

 

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Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.