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5 Signs that Romney is Koch Brothers' Lackey

It was hardly love at first sight. But once the Koch brothers threw in behind Mitt Romney, they brought the full force of their political machine, perhaps for a price.

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During the event, according to the Post, Romney and Koch had a tete-a-tete:

Koch was given a private audience with Romney before the event started, heading upstairs with their wives for a personal meeting for 30 minutes before “descending back down like two world leaders with their first ladies,” quipped one attendee.

Wonder what they discussed? Maybe a little blue-skying on potential running-mates?

4. The Ryan pick. If you were choosing a running mate in order to reassure elderly voters, who tend to skew Republican, that you are this country's most trustworthy leader, Paul Ryan, the guy who wants to fundamentally end Medicare and Social Security, probably wouldn’t be your pick. Unless somebody -- somebody whose support you desperately need -- made you. (Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich denounced the Ryan budget plan as “right-wing social engineering” -- before he walked it back.)

When Romney announced Ryan as his vice presidential pick, I wrote: “Looks like the Koch brothers are going to have to throw a whole lot of money at this thing to make it work for them. But we know they've got plenty of that.”

Now, I don’t know that David Koch made Mitt Romney pick Paul Ryan as his running mate, but I suspect that Ryan wasn’t a name that Romney came up with on his own. You see, it's not just money for his own campaign that Romney needs from the Kochs. He needs the engagement of Americans for Proserity to turn out the vote for him on the ground, an aspect of campaigning the Obama campaign is seen to have a great advantage for. You'll recall that AFP proved its ground-game prowess in the 2010 congressional elections, and in the Walker recall election in Wisconsin.

Ryan’s political career -- really, the only career he has ever known -- is virtually a product of the Koch machine. Until Americans for Prosperity began building its Wisconsin infrastructure, Ryan was a little-known congressman who got elected at a tender age. But after the entrance of AFP to his state, the Ayn Rand acolyte’s fortunes grew exponentially, leading to him ultimately win the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee at the tender age of 40.

As AlterNet documented, in 2008, the Wisconsin AFP chapter gave Ryan its Defending the American Dream award -- presented to him by a callow county executive named Scott Walker.

5. Scott Walker’s advice taken. No sooner had Romney named Paul Ryan as his number two than he started running from his running mate. Maybe it was Ryan’s roundly denounced lie-laden speech to the Republican National Convention, or the way Ryan was being hounded by the Nuns on the Bus. But in mid-September, a month after he named Ryan as his running mate, when Romney’s poll numbers were slipping, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- who survived his recall election with a lot of help from Americans for Prosperity -- took to the airwaves to lay down the law.

Romney, Walker said, in successive appearances on talk radio and Fox News Sunday, needed to to stop running from Ryan and campaign with him. Walker’s Fox News Sunday interview took place on September 23; on September 25, Romney and Ryan went on the road together for a bus tour of Ohio.

As arranged marriages go, Paul Ryan came with quite a dowry; the inlaws apparently expect to see it used to good effect.

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.

 
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