On Saturday, billionaire philanthropist Charles Koch admitted that maybe, just maybe, he would see Hillary Clinton as being preferable to the Republican presidential nominee come November. Clinton, sensing an attack from the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” shot back, immediately rejecting the endorsement and demonstrating her own ignorance about Koch.
That Clinton took the philanthropist’s comments completely out of context is bad enough, but her attack against him is even more laughable. No, Mrs. Clinton, Koch wasn’t trying to endorse-attack you, like you think he did to Bernie Sanders. Indeed, Charles Koch is one of the truly principled political reformers of our era. He praised Bernie Sanders because the Vermont senator’s stance against corporate welfare lines up with his own, and he only mentioned Clinton as an attack on the most likely Republican nominee.
Nevertheless, Clinton could not stomach being praised — even as merely a less worse option — by the billionaire philanthropist. “Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote,” she (or her staff) declared on her official Twitter account.
Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote. https://t.co/TWN4zYhMBh
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 24, 2016
This could not be more laughable, considering that Koch has supported such radical anti-voting measures as restoring the voting rights of ex-felons. While it is theoretically possible this philanthropist at some point donated to a conservative group which later advocated for anti-voter-fraud measures, his strongest advocacy has been for voting rights, not against them. Furthermore, science is always a work in progress, and denying the legitimacy of any climate scientist who is not an alarmist only makes you look foolish.
More importantly, Koch never even came close to saying he was even considering endorsing the Democratic frontrunner. “We would have to believe her actions would have to be quite different from her rhetoric, let me put it that way,” he said. His comments were much less about supporting anything Hillary Clinton has ever done, and more about criticizing the two most likely Republican nominees.
Such a move from Mr. Koch should be no surprise to anyone familiar with his goals. Such a dedicated libertarian would have trouble supporting a real estate tycoon who boasts about profiting from corporate welfare, and a Texas senator who declares his aim to “make the sand glow” in the Middle East. It is possible that Koch would back Cruz, due to that candidate’s constant opposition to big government, but even that could only happen if the Texas senator explained away the more aggressive parts of his foreign policy rhetoric (something Koch explicitly criticized in the interview this past weekend).
As many familiar with the Koch platform should expect, the philanthropist had the harshest words for Mr. Trump. He said the Republican frontrunner’s call to have all Muslims “registered” was “reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I mean — that’s monstrous as I said at the time.”
The whole question of Clinton only emerged when Koch said that “in some ways” Bill Clinton’s presidency had been better than that of George W. Bush. Many conservatives would agree, because as the philanthropist explained, “As far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was 2½ times under Bush that it was under Clinton.”
The billionaire insisted that his network would not get involved in the primary campaign and has not done so. “We haven’t put a penny in any of these campaigns, pro or con. That’s not what we do. What we’re trying to do is build alliances to make the country better.”
Next Page: But didn’t Koch back Scott Walker and Marco Rubio? Why is Clinton so afraid of his “support?”
As for the news reports saying Koch backed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, or whomever you want to say the shadowy “Koch brothers” have tried to buy this time, they are all false. The philanthropists did invite presidential candidates to their fundraising seminar last year, and members of their vast donor network may have contributed to many of these campaigns, but as for Charles Koch himself, he’s staying out of this race.
Of course, that doesn’t stop him and one of his nonprofit groups, Freedom Partners, from praising certain candidates’ platforms in very interesting ways.
In February, Charles Koch penned an article praising Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for his stance against corporate welfare. The philanthropist agreed that the political and economic system “is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged.” Where Sanders and Koch disagree is on how to solve this problem. Sanders believes more government is the answer, while Koch thinks big government and big business prop each other up, and we need to shrink government to provide more opportunity.
That didn’t stop Hillary Clinton from attacking Sanders as somehow in bed with the “Koch brothers,” however. After Freedom Partners released a video praising Sanders’ stance against corporate welfare, Mrs. Clinton accused him of being beholden to the vast right-wing conspiracy — in a national televised debate!
“The leaders of the fossil fuel industries, the Koch brothers, have just paid for an ad that supports Sanders,” Clinton declared. Sanders shot back, arguing that no one in Congress has fought against the Kochs more than he has. His campaign even alleged that the ad was a “contribution” to the Clinton campaign, because it was intended to hurt the Vermont senator by creating the perception he is the Kochs’ favored candidate.
Now, Clinton finds herself praised (?) by the personification of evil incarnate, and she cannot stop herself from disavowing the source. This woman constantly believes herself under threat, and sees a wicked plot behind every would-be “endorsement.”
Sorry, Mrs. Clinton. In this case at least, that’s all nonsense.