May 15

We don’t hear too much from socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). He is a low-key, reliable member of the left-wing majority in the Senate, a classic old-school liberal among liberals. The only noise he ever makes is the occasional golf clap in support of the growing entitlement culture. But on Friday, someone gave him a wacky Democratic talking point linking the Koch brothers to the Veterans Affairs scandal. That’s right: He suggests that the malicious neglect at the VA is somehow the Koch brothers’ fault. In an interview with the Nation’s John Nichols, Sanders actually said that the “Koch Brothers and others … want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.” He insinuated that Republicans are criticizing the VA only because they are against all large government programs, not because the VA failed our veterans. It makes you wonder how much Sanders understands about “the nature of society.”

Sanders’s comments are a good illustration of how the Democrats’ well-reported Koch problem is here to stay. Their obsession with the Koch brothers reminds me of the “handler” ads that occasionally show up in campaigns. Some campaign consultant decides to use the candidate’s money and airtime to go after his or her opponent’s campaign consultants. These ads are a waste of time and money — no one ever votes for or against a candidate because of who the candidate’s handlers are.

Anyway, the Democrats’ obsession with the Koch brothers continues to break new ground. A week ago, the allegation against the Kochs from Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was that they are “one of the main causes” of climate change. Now it’s the very fabric of society that is at stake.

Well, who do you think has the best grasp of what is economically possible in American society? Gadfly Bernie from Vermont or the wildly successful Koch brothers? The Kochs have created wealth, jobs and prosperity all over the country; for themselves, yes, but more importantly, for others. Is anyone not on a government payroll thankful to Sanders for his or her job? If your town was really in need of an urgent job creation initiative, who would you want to lead it: Bernie Sanders and the Democrats or the Koch brothers?

If the Democratic pols already have Sanders’s marginal voice joining the anti-Koch campaign chorus, it suggests that the Democrats are all in. I’d love to see their polling crosstabs. Exactly who do they think they are convincing, and what are they convincing them of?

The Democrats’ obsession with the Koch brothers is worse than the GOP insistence on elevating Benghazi. At least the Republicans are focused on something that deserves to be questioned. I’ve lost track of what the Democrats are hoping to prove with their tirades against the Koch brothers. Good luck to them.

 

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