If you want to get into the ring, you better be able to take a punch. It’s true in politics as much as it is in boxing. Unfortunately, some can take punches better than others and then there are those who can’t take being hit at all, but like a bully insist upon dishing it out.
The Koch Brothers, the Wichita family oil barons, are a good example of the latter. They’ve been involved in the founding of the conservative movement when their father bought bulk copies of the book Conscience of a Conservative back in 1960. They helped start and finance the libertarian movement through think tanks, patronage of writers, even the Libertarian Party itself when David Koch got himself nominated as the LP vice-presidential candidate in 1980. They’ e spent and estimated $100 million on political activism. They’re publicity shy and like to remain in the background and do their political work from afar. Nothing wrong with that (if only more people did so the world would be much better off). The problem is, they don’t like people pointing all this out. Nor do they like it when persons criticize what they do, even though they have no problem criticizing others for their points of view, million of times and millions of dollars over and over again.
In fact recent criticism of the Koch for the money they gave GOP candidates last year has apparently bothered them to point where its actually degenerating into outright paranoia as this post on Politico shows:
“…Both their new openness and their aggressive – and sometimes secretive – tactics were on display before and during the Kochs’ closed-door, invitation-only four-day annual winter meeting of conservative donors and leaders that concluded Tuesday with a breakfast at the pricey resort that hosted it here in the Palm Springs suburbs.
On the one hand, the Kochs asked a handful of participants to talk to POLITICO about the conference, marking the first time the company has waived the strict confidentiality rules surrounding its donor meetings, which have been taking place twice a year since 2003, but had attracted almost no attention until this year’s.
And, in another shift, Koch’s PR representatives reached out to reporters, largely in response to a raucous rally outside the resort gates that vilified the Kochs as personifying a corrupt political system – and that resulted in the arrests of 25 protesters.
On the other hand, the Kochs retained a heavy private security detail, which tracked resort guests deemed “suspicious,” erected a blockade Saturday to block a documentary camera crew from filming arriving guests, and removed a POLITICO reporter from the resort café under threat of arrest.
Personally, the brothers and their executives were rattled by the scrutiny, according to a conservative source who has closely tracked the Kochs’ philanthropy and their meetings, but who contends the Kochs largely brought the heightened scrutiny on themselves.
“They somehow thought that they could runs tens of millions of dollars in ads, but fly under the radar screen and that nobody was going to find out,” said the source. “So they’re scrambling now because they weren’t nearly as prepared for the fallout as they should have been.”