The Profound Failure of the Koch Brothers Rally at the Montana Capitol


Luc de Clapier once wrote that “prosperity makes few friends.” Never was that adage on greater display than this evening at the Montana capitol, when the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity tour managed to gather a crowd of maybe twenty people, a “crowd” easily doubled by people opposing their corporate, anti-Montana agenda.

I’m glad that I decided to attend the the Koch Brothers rally and not just because it was so incredibly poorly-attended and planned.

It was more than the disparity in number that gave me hope; it was the realization that the other side has become so emboldened that they aren’t even bothering to hide their naked agenda to enrich those with great wealth at the expense of the people who have built this country.

It’s fair to say that Republicans have been better at messaging than Democrats over the past decade or so. It’s only way to explain voters supporting a party that has systematically embarked on a crusade to undermine the foundations of real American prosperity: unions which protect workers, schools which educate our children, and an environment which is both abundant and clean–all for the sake of profits for an ever-decreasing sliver of the population’s benefit.

The two visions couldn’t offer a more stark contrast. The Koch funded speakers, including  Scott Mendenhall (*) and Tim Fox, offered a defense of limitless exploitation of our resources, reduced taxes for the wealthy, and stripped regulations that protect our air, soil, and water.

In their passionate defense of more oil drilling, they neglected to mention the damage done to the Gulf Coast and our own Yellowstone River.

In their attacks on the Obama Administration over gas prices, they neglected to mention profiteering in the oil industry that has given Exxon and other oil companies record profits while they pay less in taxes than teachers.

Fox, Mendenhall and their corporate masters at Koch Brothers don’t understand American prosperity at all. For them, it means no protections for workers, a devastated environment, poorly-funded schools, and seniors scrambling to made ends meet while a few enrich themselves beyond imagining. Of course they oppose regulations and protections for labor, because those things benefit the laborers they despise and fear.

The other side believes that true American prosperity is created when all Americans have the opportunity to work hard and make better lives for themselves and their families.

Maybe it’s not so hard to understand why that second crowd was twice as large after all.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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