Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks he knows how to win in 2014.
Step 1: Attack a Wichita donor most of America has never heard of; Step 2: Link said-donor to global warming hysteria ; Step 3: Lie about it so blatantly that even Washington Post bloggers call bull.
On Wednesday, Mr. Reid took to the floor of the Senate to bash libertarian donors Charles and David Koch, saying, “These billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change, that’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this — not a cause, one of the main causes.”
To back up his charge, Mr. Reid cited a UMass Amherst study: “In one year, Koch Industries released 31 million pounds of toxic air,” Reid said. “That’s more than Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, and General Electric combined.”
Who knows? Might work. We mean, Al Gore’s howls aren’t so popular with the kids these days, but voters have responded well to lies in the past.
One problem with his speech, is Mr. Reid inflated the number in the report he cited by 7 million pounds, and even if his inflated number had been accurate, Koch Industries would still have emitted 8 million pounds less CO2 than Exxon Mobil. And as The Washington Post’s self-appointed “fact checker” blog points out, “Combined, those [three] companies actually had more than double the emissions of Koch Industries.” (VIDEO: Reid Scolds Says MSNBC Too Fair To Republicans: “You won’t call things the way they actually exist”)
In the real world, Koch Industries is only responsible for “one-third of 1 percent [of CO2 output] in the United States,” and they are responsible for 6/1000th of a percent if considered globally, the Post points out.
And not only are they not in the top 25 polluters according to UMass’s Political Economy Research Institute, guess who the report says is #4? The U.S. government, which emits more than 300 percent of the CO2 that Koch Industries does.
Keep in mind that Koch Industries — which employs 100,000 people, including 60,000 in the U.S., and operates in nearly 60 countries — is mainly in the business of chemicals and refining, but is also the company that manufactures everything from steak to those Dixie Cups on the bathroom sink.
But Democrats’ campaign messages are limited.
Six years into President Barack Obama’s economy, close to 10 million Americans are out of work (and a third of those 10 million have been out of work for more than six months), 7.5 million are working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs, and just 17 percent of this year’s college graduates have real jobs waiting for them. Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks, “No question the economic issues are an advantage for Democrats.” (BEDFORD: The Democrats’ Last Chance)
And as the president’s foreign policy melts down in Ukraine, Africa, China, and the Middle East, Democrats might want to avoid talking foreign policy at town halls too.
So maybe Mr. Reid’s strategy is the best of his terrible campaign options. Maybe using lies to make a private citizen and major U.S. employer’s completely reasonable CO2 emissions the focus of the 2014 Democratic campaign is his best option.
If only he can prove CO2 is racist, he’ll retake the House.
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Full Disclosure: Christopher Bedford was an associate at the Charles G. Koch Institute in 2010.