Friday, November 09, 2012

Where the Koch Brothers Won

The billionaire Koch Brothers may not have succeeded at their attempt to buy the Oval Office, but don't overlook one important gain they did make - the state of Arkansas. Democrats there had controlled the state legislature since 1874. The Kochs went on a blitz of bus tours and advertising...
Republicans need to flip just a handful of those spots to turn the chambers red for the first time since the end of the Civil War. If they succeed, it will be another death knell for Southern Democrats and perhaps the beginning of a new Solid South — of the 11 states that made up the Confederacy, only Arkansas still has a Democratic chamber. 
Using a bus tour across the state, AFP is making its case for smaller government. It is fighting tax increases and curbs on development and is leading the charge against the creation of a state health insurance exchange, a key part of President Obama’s health-care law.
... and took just enough seats to turn the chamber into their playground.
Republicans assumed control of both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature on Thursday after delayed election returns showed the party winning a 51st seat in the House, as the GOP transitioned into its newly minted role as the majority party in the state Senate. ... 
The advantage Republicans have in shaping policy next year was clear as the Senate set committee assignments. The GOP holds a majority of seats on all but two of the Senate's top committees. The Public Health Committee, which will play a key role in Medicaid discussions, was split evenly between parties. Republicans hold a majority of seats on the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, which will likely hear a proposal by Beebe to further reduce the grocery tax and other tax cut ideas.
They did the same in Kansas this year, challenging eight moderate Republicans in the primaries. Those Republicans were a firewall against massive cuts to schools and health care. The Koch money took them all out with smear campaigns, giving Republican Governor Sam Brownback his dream legislature that will drastically slash state services.

Overall, the Koch's pumped an estimated $100 million in local races in 35 states - everything from Walker's recall election to the bridge in Michigan to who knows how many other pet projects, their influence is shaping the country to their liking from the ground up.

The big money goes a lot farther at the local level. You have to stop and ask yourself: How many of our legislators do they already own?