In the wake of Mitt Romney's griping that 47% of the country is mooching off rich folks like him, Charles and David Koch are now suggesting that they, too, are victims.
The billionaire Koch brothers and their aptly-named political strategist Rich Fink spoke publicly about the family's agenda in The Wichita Eagle this weekend. They insist that they're the ones under attack in America. Sure, the Kochs have $62 billion and seven homes. And yes, their combined wealth has just about doubled under Obama. And there are now reports of intimidation at Koch Industries for employees who dare speak out against the brothers' politics.
No matter: the world is lined up against these unfortunate souls. The corruption and machinations detailed in our film Koch Brothers Exposed are, apparently, child's play compared to the nerve-wracking obstacles these guys face.
Here's Charles Koch, lamenting that Obama consultant David Axelrod called out the brothers' massive investment in policies that promote themselves:
When you have Axelrod, one of [Obama's] top campaign officials, saying we are contract killers--I mean, I don't know how somebody in the administration can say that about a private citizen. It's frightening because you don't know what they're going to do. They have tremendous power. They can destroy just about anybody, whether you are totally innocent or not.
And here's David Koch: "[Obama's] criticism can stimulate a lot of anger and dislike toward us. So there's a huge security concern."
And Fink: "We're just besieged day and night with attacks and the more visible we are, and the more we've done, the more attacks we get." Not that he expected anything less; he had warned the brothers from the outset that if they became major political players, "You guys will possibly risk the businesses that you have built and your family legacy, and there's going to be a lot of fallback [sic] from this."
Yes, the Kochs have so risked their livelihoods that their wealth has ballooned by tens of billions of dollars in the last couple of years.
Indeed, Fink goes so far as to say the the brothers are "just like the...American revolutionaries" in that they believe they need to "stand up and fight to save the country." "Otherwise," he says, "we have lost it."
Not that America should be the Kochs' to lose. Although they have thrown around truly massive sums to influence this election, the power in a democracy is supposed to reside in organized people, not organized money. The fact that the Kochs are able to wield such outsized influence is itself a reflection of how far this nation has strayed from its founding ideal of equal opportunity. The case we make in Koch Brothers Exposed is that Americans need to organize, organize, and organize some more to bring that ideal back.
Even if it hurts the Koch brothers' feelings.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly attributed the Koch and Fink quotations to the Kansas City Star. The story actually appeared in The Wichita Eagle. This post has been updated accordingly.