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Remembering David Koch: His Life's Theme Was Freedom

Remembering David Koch: His Life's Theme Was Freedom
David Koch (Lars Niki/Getty Images for United States Olympic Committee)

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Saturday, 24 August 2019 04:07 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With the sad news Friday that David Koch died at age 79, the postwar conservative movement inarguably lost one of its towering figures.

Without David and brother Charles Koch, in fact, the contemporary conservative movement might not exist. Tied as the 11th richest person in the world in Forbes Magazine’s 2019 listing, the Koch brothers were generous — to say the least — in their financial support of causes that championed their pro-free market and small government views.

With Charles, David Koch co-founded the grass-roots conservative organization known as “Americans for Prosperity.” In the 15 years since it was founded, AFP has spent more than $1 billion on supporting candidates who share the “less is best” libertarian philosophy.  

David Koch, who proudly embraced the self-description “libertarian,” was actually the fledgling Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice president in 1980.  With running mate Ed Clark, Koch vowed to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, the CIA, corporate taxes, agricultural subsidies and the minimum wage. 

The Clark-Koch ticket received just more than 921,000 votes (about 1% of the total), which would be its best showing until 2016 in terms of percentage.

He left the Libertarians in 1984 to rejoin the Republican Party of his youth (although he remained an active board member of both the small-"L" libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation.)

That same year, he founded and served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the pro-small-government Citizens for a Sound Economy.  Its slogan: “Give Us Less!”

Over the years, Koch and Americans for Prosperity backed scores of winning U.S. House and Senate candidates. In 2010, AFP was a key player in the election of numerous “tea party” conservatives to Congress (although both David and Charles denied they were behind the tea party movement.) 

Among them was fellow Wichita, Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, who won a heated primary for Congress with Koch support.  Like the Koch brothers, Pompeo (now secretary of state) was a devotee of Ayn Rand and her epic novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

In 2012, with David Koch saying, “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin,” AFP was a major force in helping Republican Gov. Scott Walker survive a union-fueled recall attempt after he led the successful fight to end collective bargaining for many public employees.

David Koch, patron of the arts and a major backer of cancer research, was first and foremost a man of consequence in U.S. politics. It is highly unlikely he’ll be forgotten. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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With the sad news Friday that David Koch died at age 79, the postwar conservative movement inarguably lost one of its towering figures.Without David and brother Charles Koch, in fact, the contemporary conservative movement might not exist. Tied as the 11th richest person...
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2019-07-24
Saturday, 24 August 2019 04:07 PM
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