Thursday, September 08, 2011

Stalking the Kochtopus

Our friends on the left have something of an obsession with David and Charles Koch, which kicked off in earnest with this New Yorker piece. They're rich, involved in the oil industry and fund various organizations that oppose President Obama's agenda, which I suppose places them at the epicenter of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Seeking to penetrate the inner working of the Kochtopus, the good people at Mother Jones decided to engage in some daring investigative journalism and surreptitiously record audio from a right-wing gathering in the mountains of Colorado sponsored by the brothers Koch. Free of public scrutiny, who knew what deep, dark secrets would be unveiled behind closed doors? Let's take a look at what they found...

The first speaker at the event was Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of Freedom Watch on Fox News Channel. Among his remarks:
[Napolitano] views the PATRIOT Act as the "the single most abominable, hateful, unconstitutional piece of legislation [ever] enacted"; and that he believes former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales undermined the Constitution when he threatened to prosecute the New York Times for exposing spying by the National Security Agency.
Horrors! Criticism of the Patriot Act and the Bush administration? It's almost as if they're a bunch of principled libertarians or something. Mother Jones then goes on to note that Napolitano -- the fool -- misattributed a quote to Thomas Jefferson. Loser.

Between speakers, meanwhile, one of the Koch brothers exhorted the attendees to become politically engaged and donate money towards halting the Obama administration's agenda. Truly nefarious stuff. 

The next speaker up was Gov. Chris Christie. Free from the eyes of public television or journalists, Christie was unleashed. He -- brace yourselves -- referred to Democratic state legislators as son-of-a-bitches "stupid." One hopes there weren't any children present. 

Christie then got to what Mother Jones termed the "red meat" of the speech:
He went on to mock President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address, which he had watched with Andrew, his 17-year-old son. He and Andrew agreed, Christie said, that the president "had failed the fundamental test of leadership, which I believe is to tell the people who hired you the truth." He'd offered similar thoughts on Meet The Press that morning but amped up his rhetoric for the Koch crowd. On the show, he said the country had been "careening into an economic crisis." At the gathering, he declared that America was "careening towards insolvency." 
It was time to tackle the "big things," he said, like "Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security systems, because they are bankrupting America." In New Jersey, the big things were to "return our budget to fiscal sanity by cutting spending and under no circumstances raising taxes"; "reform a pension and health benefit system" that was underfunded by $120 billion dollars and had New Jersey, too, "careening towards insolvency"; and "reform a broken K-12 education system…where the feelings of adults were given more respect than the needs of children."
Mother Jones conceded that this was essentially the same message he delivered in a speech at the "Koch-funded" American Enterprise Institute earlier this year, but with a twist -- he then regaled the attendees with a story about dealing with Democrats in the state legislature:
So I asked them for a joint session speech…I basically said this: "You left me with a $2.2 billion problem. You want me to raise taxes. I'm not going to. I just impounded the money by executive order. I fixed your problem. Thanks, have a nice day." And I walked out.
Rather than top-secret information, this story seemed familiar and I'm pretty sure it's one Christie has told a version of any number of times in speeches highlighted on his YouTube channel. Regardless, Mother Jones devotes the next several paragraphs to detailing all the people that would suffer due to the cuts. It concludes by highlighting Christie's closing remarks:
At the Koch gathering, Christie preached an inspirational tone. "Everybody who's here for this weekend is here because they know that the opportunity that was presented to us as Americans is one of the most special gifts that will ever, ever be given," he said. "We want that same thing for our children and for our grandchildren," he added. "And we're here because we know that it is no longer a sure thing if it ever was.…In fact, under this administration, it is at greater risk than it has been in my lifetime." 
During the Q&A, one of the questioners wondered what Christie had learned in New Jersey that might be applied to the nation. His answer was direct: "This is not hard. We spend too much. We borrow too much. We tax too much. It is time to turn those three things around." 
"Now, pain will be inflicted when we change that," he went on. "People are going to do with less. People who are used to having entitlement at a certain level will not have them at that level anymore. That's the story." Christie cited Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's "courageous" and "thoughtful plan" to "fix those systems" by replacing Medicare with a voucher program.
Frankly I think Christie should sent a bouquet of flowers to Mother Jones -- this reads like a puff piece from The Weekly Standard. It seems the only thing Mother Jones has discovered is that Christie, Koch and Napolitano sound the same in unguarded moments as when in the public eye. 

Meanwhile, here's what Nancy Pelosi likes to babble about when she thinks no one from the press is around.

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