There is an archaic proverb that says, “It is fair for one to suffer whatever one has caused others to suffer,” and it may be better known in its modern iteration that “turnabout is fair play.” Since 2009, various right-wing belief tanks funded by the Koch brothers have targeted Democratic policies and candidates with attack ads in defense of the oil industry and to portray environmental laws as an evil plot to destroy business and drive the economy into the ground. As is usually the case with anything related to the Koch brothers, their goal is eliminating environmental protections and thwarting clean and renewable energy to keep the nation dependent on fossil fuels to add to the Kochs’ outrageously obscene wealth. What makes the Kochs efforts more infuriating is their crusade to eliminate environmental protections and renewable energy is rampant in states the Kochs have nothing to do with except disrupting development of environmentally friendly proposals, and with their incredibly deep pockets there is no end to their assault on the environment. Now, an environmental group is striking back and a Republican Senator is crying foul and claim he is the victim of “environmental jihad.”
The crybaby who does not subscribe to the idiom “turnabout is fair play” is Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and he is genuinely upset that an environmental group, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), is including him in an ad campaign because Johnson questions the validity of global climate change. On Monday, LCV announced it was targeting Johnson and three GOP House members in a $2 million campaign LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer said was directed at the “anti-science, anti-climate wing of Congress” that, for all intents and purposes, may as well be the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate. Johnson, who is not up for re-election until 2016, sent out a furious email condemning the environmental group he claims is “not an organization with a balanced approach to a cleaner environment; they are an extreme left group on an environmental jihad.”
Watch the LCV ad:
According to Johnson, the ad campaign is an “unholy alliance between LCV and the Obama campaign” that he claims gives the environmental group “unlimited resources and campaign expertise.” He also said “The League of Conservation Voters is one of the many attack dog groups used by President Obama, the Democrats and the extreme left to weaken, defeat and silence conservatives.” It is curious he never criticizes the Koch brothers for using their attack dogs to weaken, defeat, and silence Democrats, but Republicans are notorious for using double standards to fit their agenda.
Johnson supports the Koch brothers’ unlimited resources and propaganda expertise at blocking environmental protections, but it is a different story when the tables are turned and it is noteworthy that LCV does their work without hope of monetary gain. Johnson regularly blasts environmental and emissions regulations LCV supports using the Koch line that environmental protections damage the economy which is blatantly false. During the 2010 campaign for a Senate seat, Johnson said believers in man-made causes of climate change were crazy and that “new efforts to improve the environment are destroying jobs and undermine the average American’s ability to support himself or herself.”
It is not surprising Johnson parrots the Koch environmental regulation line because in 2011 he earned a perfect score from Koch’s belief tank Americans for Prosperity for his pro-Koch voting record that earned him $27,000 in campaign contributions. Still, Johnson is outraged and asserted LCV will “do or say anything to defeat me” and that he needs donations “to respond to their attack ads with the truth and not allow their negative smears to stand unopposed.” In the LCV ad, it tells the truth that Ron Johnson has taken $109,550 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry while he opposed every measure aimed at curbing global warming.
Although few Americans even know who the Koch brothers or Americans for Prosperity are, those that do are well aware they spend inordinate amounts of time and money in every state to attack Democrats who support clean and renewable energy. Along with their legislative arm ALEC, the Koch’s AFP are attempting to roll back renewable energy standards in states that have them, and they even attacked a solar measure the Georgia tea party supported in what AFP called “a multi-pronged, grassroots driven initiative” to reject solar energy expansion. The tea party considered solar energy a free-market issue, but AFP propaganda portrayed it as “renewable energy mandates” and claimed “utility bills are 40% higher in states with renewable energy standards.” The assertion is a lie, but it is the type of “truth” Johnson will use to respond to environmental jihadists’ attack ads as a means of not “allowing their negative smears to stand unopposed.”
There is a world of difference between what the League of Conservation Voters is doing with their “informational campaign” about Johnson and what the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity does to weaken, silence, and defeat Democrats who understand global climate change is real. For one thing, LCV does not profit from their campaign to reduce the effects of global climate change, and their efforts do not harm the population. Conversely, the Koch brothers’ anti-climate change crusade is only about enriching themselves and creating environmental damage that affects every American whether it is subverting renewable energy standards or attacking environmental protections and emissions regulations. In fact, in 2012 the Koch brothers funded two propositions in California targeting clean air standards and spent millions demeaning Democrats who supported the ballot propositions. Interestingly, none of the Democrats cried like babies that the Kochs were “dirty oil jihadists” and instead depended on savvy voters to defeat the Koch-backed measures which they did.
Ron Johnson’s problem with a group like LCV is he cannot possibly defend his anti-environment stance if the public learns the truth. Johnson’s climate change denials, like the Koch’s, are so steeped in lies, misinformation, and propaganda that a truthful environmental group may well seem like environmental jihadists. They are also mortified that there are groups with resources to inform and educate the public and challenge the Koch’s anti-environmental lies and propaganda. Americans may not be the brightest people on Earth, but they certainly feel the effects of global climate change and, like the Georgia tea party, see value in clean and renewable energy and it horrifies men like Ron Johnson.
Johnson likely profits from the Koch brothers’ lies and attacks on Democrats supporting efforts to curb global climate change effects and never complained about their lying attack dogs, but turnabout is fair play; especially when it is founded on the truth that Republicans or the Kochs can hardly contest. If nothing else, Americans should take away that when the filthy rich Koch brothers lie to eliminate environmental protections it is corporate freedom of speech, but when an environmental group tells the truth it is “environmental jihad.”