"Koke adds life where there isn't any," warned the Clash about cocaine back in 1980, a year that shook the ground under American politics. The Koch -- pronounced "Koke" -- brothers, David and Charles (though not sibling Bill, for the time being) serve a comparably stimulative role for liberals in 2014, another election year with seismic potential.
In recent weeks, self-proclaimed working-class hero Ed Schultz has shown he can barely pass a waking hour without vilifying the cursed Kochs. Yesterday Schultz regurgitated a persistent leftist falsehood about them and did so in a way that showed he wasn't even sure about the claim. (Audio after the jump)
Here's what Schultz said on his radio show and which you can expect to hear repeated ad nauseam through the first week of November (audio) --
Now, if you're here or there as a liberal about the pipeline, you're not really sure and you're against the Kochs or you don't like money in politics, they're going to make a boatload and then some off the pipeline. They are the main beneficiary of this (pause), as I'm told. Uh, and so that, and as I said earlier, in and of itself is enough to make a lot of people take notice, because what do they do with their profits? What do they do with their money? It's the best government they can possibly buy.
Schultz didn't cite his source, but an immediate suspect comes to mind -- a March 20 Washington Post story headlined, "The biggest foreign lease holder in Canada's oil sands isn't Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It's the Koch brothers."
The story was the target of a withering rebuttal from Powerline's John Hinderaker in a post titled "Washington Post falls for left-wing fraud, embarrasses itself." The Post's reporters, Hinderaker wrote, relied on dubious claims from the "far-left" International Forum for Globalization.
"The Post more or less endorses IFG's theory that the Keystone pipeline would somehow benefit Koch (Industries)," Hinderaker wrote, "even though the Post notes that there is zero evidence to that effect."
Hinderaker cited an except from the article that undercut the rationale for the story itself --
Koch's oil production in northern Alberta is "negligible," according to industry sources and quarterly publications of the provincial government. Moreover, Koch has not reserved any space in the Keystone pipeline, a process that usually takes place before a pipeline is built. The pipeline also does not run anywhere near Koch's refining facilities. And TransCanada, owner of the Keystone routes, says Koch is not expected to be one of the pipeline's customers.
Hinderaker's takedown of the Post story got even more amusing when he pointed out that the International Forum on Globalization, the main source for the story, issued another report back in September. "The astonishing thing" about that report, Hinderaker wrote, "is that it admitted that the Keystone Pipeline will damage Koch's economic interests. (emphasis in the original, and again). Keystone would create competition for Alberta oil, raising the price of oil that Koch buys in the Midwest for its Pine Bend refinery. The original IFG report admitted that this would cost Koch $120 billion! Now, that is a stupid number based on a 50-year projection. But still, the basic point is correct: the Keystone pipeline would hurt Koch Enterprises economically, which is why Koch has never come out in favor of the pipeline or lobbied on its behalf."
Suffice it to say that Schultz doesn't read Powerline and apparently doesn't get past the headlines in the Post. But can there be much doubt it would make little difference if he did? Liberals have decided through collective osmosis that they must demonize the Koch brothers this year, to make them an Emanuel Goldstein of the midterms, and they aren't about to let anything so trivial as stubborn facts deter them. (Kudos to Volokh Conspiracy's David Bernstein, the first I'm aware of who made the parallel).