Running Scared: Poor Policy and Harry Reid’s Boogeymen

Running Scared: Poor Policy and Harry Reids Boogeymen

To be honest, the entire second term of President Barack Obama has been a shot to the gut of the Democratic Party. Since the President’s reelection in 2012, the American people have gone from scandal to scandal. From Edward Snowden blowing the lid off of the NSA surveillance program, to the IRS targeting conservative groups, to the Department of Justice overreaching into the Associated Press’ phone records, it’s just one thing after another.

And then there’s that whole Affordable Care Act thing.

President Obama’s signature piece of legislation has become a political detriment to all politicians even remotely associated with it. Maine Senator Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, even said to Chris Wallace of Fox News that, “There is no such thing as Obamacare.”

Claiming that the most debated piece of legislation of the Obama administration doesn’t exist must rival President Obama’s Politifact Lie of the Year, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” The ACA certainly exists for the millions of Americans who found out first hand just what the effects of the legislation the President and the Democratic leadership pushed so hard for are.

But I digress.

The point is, the Democrats have burnt up a lot of political capital in the past two years. Scandals breaking are one thing, doing little to nothing to fix them is another. Many Democratic members of Congress face a possible date with the electoral hangman in November.

There is very little positive for the Democrats to run on in the upcoming midterms, and so they’ve turned early to a smear campaign, in particular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid has slammed big money spending on the Republican side of politics in recent weeks, in particular targeting the libertarian leaning Koch Brothers.

In late February Reid called the Kochs “un-American” and accused them of attempting to buy the country, on the same days as he stated that all horror stories about losing healthcare coverage to Obamacare were untrue. April 1 came with another volley as Reid slammed Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal to be released the next day, condemning it as a billionaire’s budget.

“It’s a blueprint for a modern… how would we say this? Koch-topia. Yes that’s it,” Reid said, “Call it whatever you want. We might as well call it the Koch budget because that’s what they’re doing, protecting the Koch Brothers.”

Senator Reid has obviously never heard of the website If he were to have visited the site, he could fine a list of the top all time donors, covering the time period of 1989 to the present. Not only are the Kochs not number one, but in fact the first donor listed as Republican leaning is the United Parcel Service, all the way down at number seventeen. Koch Industries clocks in all the way down at number fifty-nine, and contrary to what Senator Reid seems to believe, not all of that money goes to the Republican party. To be sure the vast majority of the Kochs’ contributions do go to the Republicans (91% compared to 8% to the Democrats,) but it is a more even split than number one contributor Act Blue with 99% of the almost $101 million spent over the past 25 years being sent to the Democrats.

If the Koch’s are un-American and attempting to buy elections down in slot number fifty-nine with such a split, then Act Blue, United Auto Workers at number eight, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at number six, the American Federation of Teachers at number twelve, and many other unions and donors must be utterly un-earthly and attempting to destroy the world as we know it. Surely if vast sums of money on the right is evil then the same must be true of vast sums of money on the left.

Senator Reid’s tactics ring hypocritical and desperate, to the point that he’s broken Senate ethics and Internet rules by using his official website to attack the Kochs. The Senate has an explicit prohibition on posting partisan material on Senators publicly funded webpages.

Reid is attempting to distract the American people from the monsters placed under the bed by the Obama administration, by telling a tale of the Koch Brothers boogeyman instead. Attempting to buy elections seems hardly to be the case given that the $18 million contributed by Koch Industries in the past 25 years pales in comparison to the $100 million hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is planning to spend just this midterm season to push climate change to the forefront of the political arena. This is after he spent $8 million backing Democrat Terry McAulliffe’s 2013 campaign for Governor of Virginia.

The Democrats are running scared this year, as well they should be. Come the midterms we’ll see whether good policy or feeble attempts at smear campaigns are the more successful in getting politicians elected or reelected. I remain confident that the former continues to hold true.