I have been arguing for some time that the Republican Party establishment is now thoroughly controlled by the Koch brothers and their close circle of billionaire cronies. On the policy issues that matter the most to the Kochs — on climate change, taxation and the budget, education, labor and wages, regulatory policy in general — the positions of Republican leadership in Congress and all of the Republican presidential candidates are almost completely identical to the Koch libertarian ideology.
That is a scary thing because of how radically far right the Koch agenda is: no minimum wage, no regulation to protect our environment, the repeal of healthcare for millions of Americans, and the flood of endless corporate money into our electoral system, just to name a few of their objectives.
The Republicans have essentially become puppets of the Koch brothers, and lest you think that a partisan comparison, it was even made by the party’s current presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.
The organization I chair, American Family Voices, does a lot of work in exposing the Koch network and its agenda. So we thought it would be great idea to put the Koch puppet analogy into visual form for a little bit of guerrilla street theater. Last weekend, we sent a team of people and enormous puppet-heads to Columbus, Ohio for the Americans for Prosperity (the Koch created and funded “grassroots” front group) Defending the American Dream Summit, and we had a very good time.
When you are battling people with as much money and power as the Kochs, whose goal is nothing less than taking over the entire American government and repealing pretty much all of the gains made in the 20th century for everyday people (and no, I’m not exaggerating), you have to have a little fun, too.
The Scott Walker puppet marched in a demonstration organized by our allies in the labor movement. We offered conference attendees our “Koch Challenge:” they could drink regular bottled water or symbolic water from Lake Erie polluted by fertilizer runoff and algae blooms. (Fertilizer is a big business for Koch Industries, and the Kochs aggressively fight against environmental regulations that would help protect our water.) But the most fun we had was crashing the summit’s opening night party with the Jeb Bush and Scott Walker puppets. It was quite possibly the most epic trolling of the Koch brothers ever, and you can watch it in all its glory below.
Our puppets wanted the people at the party to show them the money, and that is a pretty fair approximation of the conversations between candidates and the Kochs right now. Presidential and Congressional hopefuls ask these billionaires to show them the money, and they generally say yes — as long as the candidates are willing to swear fealty to the Koch agenda.
We have so much work to do to fight back against the enormous power and money of the Kochs and their billionaire buddies. American Family Voices will continue to look for creative ways to troll them going forward. We hope we can get your help. Sign up for our e-mail list, share us on Facebook, and share this video to join us in the fight to reclaim our democracy.