The latest brainchild of Washington insider Democrats, to waste millions of dollars running attack ads against conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, might be the worst idea since the owner of the Titanic cut the budget for lifeboats.
Most voters do not know or care about the difference between the Koch brothers and Coca-Cola. In the hierarchy of actions to mobilize the Democratic base, which wants to see Democrats in Washington fighting for their beliefs, campaign ads against GOP donors don’t rank very high.
So far, there have been two defining moments in the midterm elections. The first occurred in late 2013 following the extremism and incompetence shown by Republicans when they shut down the government and threatened actions that would have crashed the global economy. Polling by Real Clear Politics reminds us that, after the shutdown, congressional Democrats surged to a dominant advantage over the GOP of 7-9 points.
The second defining moment was the bungled rollout of ObamaCare. This destroyed the Democrats’ advantage and left the RCP poll average giving the party a mere 1-2 point advantage as of Wednesday, which is dangerous but not inevitably fatal for Democrats.
Most likely, there will be another major turning point to come, though anyone who claims to know in which direction is betting with fool’s gold — incumbents in both parties are suffering popularity levels not much higher than that of Saddam Hussein.
As for the Koch brothers, I despise the rules that give them so much influence and have urged Democrats to wage a national crusade supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the massive corruption and venality caused by the Citizens United decision.
Until then, the Koch Brothers are playing by the rules with tenacity, aggression and skill. Democrats should stop whining about them and fight back in kind.
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Democratic leaders in Congress should invite the 100 wealthiest Democrats in America to a summit meeting and all-out council of war to answer the Koch challenge.
If wealthy Democrats will not fight as hard for their vision of America as Charles and David Koch fight for theirs, the ad Democrats should run should ask: Why the hell not?
For starters, Democrats should vow with unyielding will to win the great battle now unfolding in North Carolina to reelect Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who is fighting valiantly and effectively to defeat those who would turn back the clock of progress by decades. Democrats should match the Koch brothers and their local imitators dollar for dollar, worker for worker, minute by minute, precinct by precinct, house by house and voter by voter to roll back the tide of reactionary repression that should have no place of power in North Carolina or America in this day and age.
Democrats should build a monument to liberal financier Tom Steyer for making a $100 million move to support champions of the earth. Who will match him?
Instead of ads attacking GOP donors, how about ads starring real Americans with pre-existing conditions thanking Democrats for getting them insurance? What about ads starring moms and dads, sons and daughters, thanking Democrats for getting kids insurance on their parents’ policies? And how about ads attacking red state Republican politicians and anti-consumer insurance commissioners planning to slam customers with massive premium increases that Democrats will fight with fury to oppose?
This is war, President Obama. No more dribs and drabs. Extend the ObamaCare enrollment time for three months. Period. Cut back deportations, now, and saturate Hispanic media, now, with massive ad runs for immigration reform starring Lady Liberty and the dream of America as a melting pot that Republicans would not dare to match because of their fear of the know-nothing right.
Don’t blame the Koch brothers. Beat them.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.