I’ve just read Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article on “The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama”, which I’m happy to see is publicly available online. It’s a good summary of what corporate watchers have been saying for years (see, e.g., here and here), but with a lot of interview material updating what the libertarian duo have been up to more recently, including their connections with the Tea Party movement. (I really should be putting “libertarian” in scare quotes, since good people like Noam Chomsky use the term to refer to a love of liberty, though their definition of liberty is much more substantial than the kind of free-for-all-for-the-wealthy that the Kochs stand for.)
Charles and David Koch (pronounced “Coke”) are on Forbes’ list of 20 wealthiest people in the world, and they, along with Scaife, Olin, Searle, Bradley, Coors, and other millionaire family foundations, have provided the funding that’s built up the network of conservative, libertarian, and right-wing organizations, think-tanks, pseudo-populist front groups, and spin machines that has kept this country in a right-wing holding pattern for the last three decades.
It’s true that their “more than a hundred million dollars” spent on these causes is a drop in the bucket compared to their multibillion dollar fortune, but the money gets amplified as it works its way through the system — which is why Americans for Prosperity, which has fought health-care reform and cap-and-trade climate legislation, among other things, can plan to spend another $45 million dollars between now and November on electoral races around the country.