Tuesday, September 06, 2011


In Brad Friedman's Mother Jones story on the Koch brothers' June seminar in Colorado, we learn that Charles Koch refers to Barack Obama as "Saddam Hussein" and says that next year's elections will be "the mother of all wars." Unsurprising, of course. (Though when Koch talks of politics as war, will he get even a thousandth as much criticism as James Hoffa Jr. is getting for talking in a similar way? Do I even have to ask?)

But beyond that, I'm struck by the note of extreme self-pity elsewhere in Koch's remarks at the seminar (emphasis added):

"We've had a lot of tough battles," he continued. "We've lost a lot over the years, and we've won some recently.…And I pledge to all of you who've stepped forward and are partnering with us that we are absolutely going to do our utmost to invest this money wisely and get the best possible payoff for you in the future of our country."

Under any circumstances, I would find this kind of talk difficult to take coming from a billionaire -- but I might at least understand where Koch was coming from if the horrors of big government were chipping away at the brothers' nest egg, even a little bit. But in fact, here's what I've discovered about the size of their stash, as reported by Forbes over the years:

* 1988: net worth $1.1 billion each.
* 1998: net worth $2.2 billion each.
* 2007: net worth $17 billion each.
* 2008: net worth $18 billion each.
* 2011 net worth $22 billion each.

That's more than a 30% increase in the reign of the horrible Kenyan socialist, in the midst of a near-depression; it's also a twentyfold increase in a period that saw the reign of two evil redistributionist Democrat capitalist-haters.

Does the whining from these people ever stop?

UPDATE: Politico's Ben Smith contends that Koch is being misquoted:

"We have Saddam Hussein, this is the Mother of All Wars," reads the Mother Jones transcript, from the BRAD Blog.

But it's possible to hear the transcript a bit differently: The word "as" isn't in the transcript, but as I hear the (ambiguous) line, Koch is quoting Saddam here, not comparing Obama to him. In that version, the quote reads:

"We have, as Saddam Hussein [said] this is the Mother of All Wars," Koch is quoting Saddam, rather than making a comparison between him and Obama.

So if that's the case, he's Saddam, and he's at war with the president of the United States. Is that supposed to make us feel better? A few years back, in a different administration, wasn't that kind of talk regarded as treason?