What the Steyer vs. Koch battle looks like, according to a liberal

Liberal angel Tom Steyer is the guy funding the anti Keystone XL pipeline campaign. Now he has announced he’ll spend up to $100 million in 2014 on attack ads to push global warming.

Perhaps it’s time to handicap the money-in-politics fight of the century: liberal darling Tom Steyer and his community banker wife Kat against the forces of darkness, the evil “hard-line” libertarian Koch Brothers, funders of the Tea Party and bêtes noires of the left.

Following Rush Limbaugh handicaps NFL games every Friday with his “environmentalist wacko picks.”

Let’s handicap the fight using sensible “progressive” criteria.

Net worth. Tom Steyer is worth a lean $1.4 billion and the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, are estimated at an excess of $59 billion from Koch Industries alone. At some point you have made enough money.

Money making. Steyer grew his Farallon Capital hedge fund at about 15 percent per year from 1986 to 2012. Koch Industries has averaged 18 percent per year since the Koch Brothers took over from dad Fred C. Koch. Talk about corporate greed! Isn’t 15 percent a year enough?

Keeping your hands clean. Steyer was a hedge-fund manager “investing primarily for endowments and foundations” which is clean and progressive. Wife Kat is a progressive banker and bankers help the government float its socially necessary debt. Koch Industries got its start inventing a new cracking method to turn crude oil into automobile-enabling gasoline. It still makes dirty products that hurt the environment, and descends to downmarket products like Stainmaster, Lycra, Quilted Northern tissue and Dixie Cup.

Blood will tell. Steyer’s dad was a New York white-shoe lawyer. Koch father Fred C. Koch was a chemical engineer that worked all over the world.

Going to the right schools. Steyer went to Yale and Stanford Business School; Kat went to Harvard and Stanford Business. Both Charles and David Koch went to nerd school, MIT, and majored in engineering — enough said. The Steyer kids are all Harvard/Yale, as well.

Kool Kids. Steyer intelligently agrees with 97 percent of scientists that global warming is real and dangerous. The Kochs are dumb engineer denialists that don’t know anything.

Supporting the right causes. Steyer and his wife have spent $40 million on a center for sustainable energy at Stanford. David Koch gave $68 million to prep school Deerfield for a math and science center.

Hipness. Steyer’s spouse Kat “sports six tattoos” and “might not be what people expect to see” if she turned up at a black-tie at the all-male Pacific-Union Club on Nob Hill. David Koch’s wife Julia is a social climber “much admired in her Upper East Side circle for marrying one of the richest men in America.”

Dancing with the Devil. Steyer friend Michael Kieschnick says that “Tom feels a sense of urgency about global warming” and Kat “wants to lift people up and achieve social goals.” Tom Steyer thoughtfully says that David Koch risks going down in history “as just an evil – just a famously evil – person.”

Yes, there’s really no contest. The Steyers are good and progressive and evolved. The Kochs are stuck back in the Dark Ages, if they’re lucky.


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