EMPORIA, Kan. - This week brings news that several Republican governors attended a "retreat" in Vale, Colorado sponsored by the influential Koch brothers.
Charles and David Koch are the heirs to Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., and a driving force in far-right Republican politics. Using Astro-turf organizations like Americans for Prosperity (full disclosure: I attended one of their "candidate trainings" in Topeka while running for Emporia City Council which included glossy brochures that referenced how The Left liked to steal elections), the Koch brothers lavish campaign donations to those who are willing to embrace their brand of 1920's capitalism.
The Kochs made their billions the old fashioned way. They inherited it! Hence, they were raised by their parents to subscribe to a political and economic philosophy that is based on the supposed "enlightened oligarchy" model of democracy that existed during the run-up to the Great Depression. Back then, a handful of families such as the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts controlled the levers of economic power.
While these dynasties were undoubtedly benevolent during their heyday, such as establishing hundreds of public libraries, ultimately, the economic model of deregulation that they and their political cronies espoused came crashing down around them and resulted in the greatest period of economic hardship in American history.
While the Koch brothers have every right to promote their particular brand of unbridled corporatism, you'd think that they could at least acknowledge the tough economic times that their neighbors are currently facing.
Instead of holding their "retreat" in their hometown of Wichita, the Kochs chose to host the Republican governors in the Colorado resort town of Vale.
Forgot about the irony of the appearance of elitism (Vale is home to a major ski resort frequented by Hollywood liberals), in holding their meeting, the purpose of which was presumably to coordinate talking points and legislative strategy, the Koch brothers' decision to outsource the dozens of jobs that would have been created or saved by holding their shindig in Kansas is telling of where their priorities really lie.