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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Villainizing the Koch brothers -- Desperate Democrats reprise the tactics of 2012 they used on Romney -- By David Keene, The Washington Times

Illustration of David and Charles Koch        The Washington TimesBack in the late '70s, Alan Baron, a liberal, labor union-loving McGovernite; Ken Bode, then of the New Republic; and I hosted a biweekly poker game that regularly included three Republicans, three Democrats and one journalist. Every player had to have worked in or, in the case of the journalist, covered a presidential campaign, and no conversation that took place at the table could be repeated outside.

The day a game in which then-Sen. George McGovern had been invited to play, I got a call from Terry Dolan seeking a favor. Dolan ran the granddaddy of all conservative political action committees, the National Conservative Political Action Committee, or NCPAC. McGovern, Dolan and NCPAC are no longer with us, but they were all notorious in different ways back then. Dolan said, "I'm putting together a fundraising letter, and it would really help if you could get McGovern to attack me and NCPAC."

It was a sensible request. In the political fundraising business, villains are worth their weight in gold, and to conservatives back in the day, McGovern was as villainous as anyone could get. I told Dolan that perhaps the two of them could attack each other "so you can both raise money." Senate business kept McGovern away that night, but the point is that effective fundraisers need a "villain" to scare the bejesus out of those from whom they are seeking money.

Democratic fundraisers this year feel blessed to have two villains: Charles and David Koch. As polls show, voters may not know the Koch Brothers, but Democratic activists do, and invoking their names in fundraising appeals works at least as well for liberals as raising the specter of a world controlled by George Soros and "union bosses" works for conservatives.

This is all business as usual as far as it goes, but too often contributors, activists and candidates begin to believe their own mail. That seems to be what's happening this year among liberals and Democrats.

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