Saturday, September 25, 2010

Keeping Company

Tim Rutten's latest column takes a look at the budding relationship between billionaire Libertoonian brothers David and Charles Koch and Carly Fiorina, the Republican challenger to Senator Barbara Boxer and finds some rather interesting shared views. The Koch brothers are currently pouring a lot of money into Proposition 23, which would effectively roll back a law to force industries to reduce carbon emissions. Apparently they've found a kindred spirit in Fiorina.

Though one brother lives in Wichita, Kan., and the other in Manhattan, they seem to be taking a particular interest in California politics this year. They helped mount the campaign for Proposition 23, the ballot measure that essentially would gut AB 32, the state law mandating lower carbon emissions as a step toward addressing global warming. A Koch Industries PAC has also donated $5,000 to Fiorina, and the company was among the sponsors of a Washington fundraiser for her Thursday night.

After a good deal of back and forth, Fiorina — who also supports offshore oil drilling, another Koch favorite — recently endorsed Proposition 23, just as the Koch brothers' company pumped $1 million into its campaign. This month, Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain noted that, while the brothers' oil companies stand to profit mightily from Proposition 23's passage, they also have an interest in seeing that other states don't emulate California's attempt to reduce carbon emissions. Two years ago, this state adopted model air-quality regulations curbing cancer-causing emissions of formaldehyde in the forest products industry. Federal interest in adopting similar curbs is causing Georgia-Pacific no end of grief. ...

Organizations that monitor employment practices also cite Koch Industries as one of the most ruthless exporters of American manufacturing jobs to foreign countries. Before she was ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers and outsourced thousands of positions abroad, so perhaps the Kochs sense a kindred spirit.
[Emphasis added]

I don't think we should misunderestimate the Koch Boys. They have a lot of money which they are apparently quite willing to spend in political contests that have a bearing on how much more money is still out there for them to grab. Still, Fiorina's decision to support Prop 23 (right now the hottest button on the November ballot) is not the best decision she could have made. Even Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor purportedly doesn't think the proposition is a good idea, although her opponent, Jerry Brown, is calling on her to take a strong stand, one way or the other.

Perhaps Carly got wind of the latest Field Poll which shows that Sen. Boxer now has a 6 point lead in the race, up from the 3 point lead she had in July. Powerful allies like the Koch Boys might be an attractive fix for her campaign.

Of course, they might also give her an aura of the crazy libertarianism the two brothers hold, and that just might do her in.

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