New York Times on the ‘Kochtopus’ meeting in Palm Springs

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Things you never see reported in the Arizona political media. I can't imagine why (sarcasm).

The New York Times reported earlier this week, Koch Brothers Plan More Political Involvement for Their Conservative Network:

As the country’s leading conservative donors finished off plates of
roast lamb and spaetzle in a Palm Springs, Calif., hotel ballroom on
Monday, Charles G. Koch delivered a pep talk.

The November elections had been a major setback for the cause of
liberty, Mr. Koch told the more than 200 guests, many of whom had pumped
millions of dollars into the political operation founded by Mr. Koch
and his brother David. But there would be no backing down, Mr. Koch
said, according to some of those attending. They would learn from their
mistakes, test new strategies in the coming months and prepare for the
2014 elections, with control of Congress once again at stake.

* * *

Nowhere is the self-examination more unrelenting than within the
constellation of advocacy groups, foundations and research organizations
nurtured by the Kochs.

While awaiting an internal audit headed by a top Koch Industries
executive, the brothers have rejected any notion of stepping back from
electoral politics. Strikingly, after years of nurturing a political
network and donor base largely independent from traditional Republican
circles, the Kochs are planning to substantially increase their
involvement in party affairs.

They have not yet decided whether to intervene in Republican primaries,
people involved in the discussions say. But the brothers want their
network to play a bigger role in cultivating and promoting Republican
candidates who hew to their vision of conservatism, emphasizing smaller
government and deregulation more than immigration
and social issues. They are also seeking closer control over groups
within their network, purging or downgrading those that did not deliver
last year and expanding financing for those that performed well.

“After the 2012 election, we took a long, hard look at the effectiveness
of the organizations we support — what they did well, what worked and
areas where we can be more effective,” said Robert A. Tappan, a Koch
spokesman. “This past weekend’s gathering was an opportunity to share
the lessons learned from 2012.”

Those discussions unfolded over two days at the Renaissance Esmeralda, a
sprawling golf resort that has previously hosted the Kochs’
twice-yearly conferences. The atmosphere was equal parts revival and
situation room, participants said: Phones and electronic devices were
banned from some panels, as Koch strategists detailed next year’s
electoral battlegrounds and donors committed contributions to particular
states or projects.

At least a half-dozen rising Republican stars were also in attendance.
They included Dr. Ben Carson, a Baltimore neurosurgeon who has quickly
developed a following among grass-roots conservatives, and several
members of the Tea Party
wing: Govs. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina and John R. Kasich of
Ohio, along with Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Donors and others involved with the Koch-backed groups believe that the
libertarian conservatism espoused by the brothers could help
reinvigorate Republican fortunes, particularly among the young. They are
also seeking to match the data and vote-targeting machinery built by
Mr. Obama, widely credited as one of the most important factors in his
re-election.

“We’re looking into some of that cutting-edge technology,” said Evan
Feinberg, a former aide to Mr. Paul who is now president of Generation Opportunity,
a Koch-financed group focusing on young voters. “Obama for America did
some really interesting things to connect to young people. We want to
use some of those same ideas and try to learn from them.”

Efforts are also under way to replicate the Democrats’ voter
registration organizations, which Koch advisers believe have leapfrogged
those of conservative and Republican groups. And much like other
conservative groups, those in the Koch network are preparing new
initiatives aimed at Hispanic voters, who they believe will be attracted
to a small-government message unburdened by the hard-edged social
conservatism that hamstrung Republican candidates in several critical
races last year.

Many of those efforts will emanate from the Libre Initiative,
a Hispanic-oriented conservative group for which the Koch network plans
to expand financing this year. Some groups, like the 60 Plus
Association, a conservative group aimed at courting older voters, are
likely to receive less support going forward. In other cases, the Kochs
are seeking to knit organizations more closely with their company’s
in-house public affairs team.

This year, for example, two trusted Koch employees were placed on the board of Americans for Prosperity,
the brothers’ flagship grass-roots organization. A new tax-exempt
group, the Association for American Innovation, is being set up to
manage turf disputes among the many different state-level groups that
receive money from the Koch network.

* * *

“Everybody wants your money,” said Stanley S. Hubbard, a Minnesota-based
media mogul. Mr. Hubbard said he and other donors had decided to wait a
few months before committing to the Kochs’ groups or any others.

“I think they’re very smart on pointing out the things that are
foolish,” Mr. Hubbard said, referring to the attack ads run last year by
groups like Americans for Prosperity. “They run ads attacking what’s
wrong. I’d like to see them point out what would be good policies, and
why.”

So essentially the "Kochtopus" and Karl Rove intend to supplant the Republican National Committee as a political party. Who needs the middle-man when you can buy your politicians direct?

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