Because of all the wingnut parades last weekend, we overlooked the Kochstakes in Palm Springs, California. It's time to make that right.
After the conference (featuring appearances by ABC's Jon Karl and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski), the Kochs and some of their rich donors held an informal straw poll to see who their Anointed One will be.
And the winner is....MARCO RUBIO!
In an informal straw poll of some conference donors, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came out ahead of four other would-be GOP presidential candidates who had been invited, according to an attendee familiar with the results. The poll was conducted by Frank Luntz, a veteran GOP pollster, during a break-out session of the conference, which wrapped up Tuesday after a long weekend of presentations and discussions at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Rand Paul was left out in the cold.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — who received the least enthusiastic response from donors during a Sunday night forum of prospective candidates that also featured Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — finished last in Luntz’s poll, the source told POLITICO.
The poll is by no means a definitive assessment of the feelings of the hundreds of wealthy business leaders who comprise the vaunted network created by billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. But it does provide an early glimpse into the leanings of a pool of megadonors who are being hotly courted by the field of would-be candidates, and whose checkbooks could go a long way toward determining who emerges with the GOP nomination — regardless of whether the Koch network decides to formally back a candidate.
This is a problem for the network and the Kochs, because it appears that the primary wedge here is war. There's no daylight between Rand Paul and any of the others on any issue except for his isolationist views. Otherwise there's no real difference.
This quote from Fred Malek really speaks to the cynical view of those select billionaires attending the summit.
“It would seem to me that it would be too difficult for them to form a consensus on a candidate,” said Fred Malek, a top Republican bundler and donor who has attended past Koch seminars. He called the $889 million goal for 2016 “breathtaking, eye-opening kind of money. But it illustrates the dedication of hardworking Americans to changing the direction of the country.”
Yeah, that's the ticket! Just a bunch of hard-working Americans working to change the country. Wave the flag boys, and start pushing your boy Rubio up the ladder.