Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things that people in my social circle like that I don't get, #138

.... this op-ed. As many Constant Readers know, I have participated in several Koch-funded programs and really benefited personally and professionally from them. Naturally, I've therefore been disappointed by many of the sleazier and less fair allegations levied at them. See generally the "libertarianism" tag. At the same time, this particular column doesn't do a particularly good job detailing specifically problematic things that President Obama personally has done against the Kochs. Indeed, the only specific transgression by a politician mentioned comes at the end of the 2nd paragraph, where it's mentioned that Democrats in Congress want to drag Koch before Congress to respond to questions about the Keystone XL pipeline project. I agree that such would be stupid and vindictive, but it's hardly clear from this piece that this particular bad idea originated with Obama. I imagine that he and members of Congress don't always see eye to eye; just ask Nancy Pelosi sometime if you're inclined to disagree. The rest of this rhetoric about Nixon's Enemies List and so forth therefore hardly seems all that helpful or illuminating.

Indeed, it's not surprising that Obama should speak out vehemently against the Kochs from time to time. Obama and the Kochs disagree on important principles. A lot is at stake. That's bound to lead to some heated rhetoric and incivility. But unless it's clear that Obama is actually misusing executive office to go after the Kochs, all of this writing about bills of attainder and so forth seems more inflammatory than useful. 

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