Billionaire David Koch, a top financier of the Tea Party movement attached his name to the ballet, professing devotion to “The Nutcracker,” he made a matching grant of $2.5 million in order for it to go on this season.
At their special opening performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music David Koch appeared to talk about his enormous donation. The Financial Times’ John Gapper of The Financial Times was in the audience while witnessing a crowd of “harried Brooklyn moms and salivating balletomanes” erupting in boos at the sight of the billionaire Tea Party supporter.
The excitement started even before the show when David H. Koch, the co-owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately-own industrial conglomerate in the US, came out on stage to talk about his $2.5m sponsorship of the production.
Most people applauded but there were also boos from near where I sat in the balcony, followed by an angry debate in the row in front of me, with one of the booers declaring “he’s an evil man” and a couple next to her telling her to “shut up” and to leave the theatre.Mr Koch was venturing into the lion’s den in political terms, since Brooklyn is solidly liberal and Democrat, whereas he and his brother are right-wing libertarian and are alleged to have links to the Tea Party movement, which they deny.
According to an article in the New Yorker magazine last August, Mr Koch stood in 1979 as a Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate:
The Libertarian Party platform called for the abolition of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., as well as of federal regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Energy. The Party wanted to end Social Security, minimum-wage laws, gun control, and all personal and corporate income taxes; it proposed the legalization of prostitution, recreational drugs, and suicide. Government should be reduced to only one function: the protection of individual rights. William F. Buckley, Jr., a more traditional conservative, called the movement “Anarcho-Totalitarianism.”
Once Mr Koch had left the stage, the booing stopped and the ballet started.”
The Koch Brothers of Koch Industries are one of the air polluters in America and they have strongly opposed the EPA as well as Health Care Reform. The Tea Party originally started as a grassroots movement but their political party was bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers. They’ve denied any affiliation with the Tea Party in the past — but it’s hard to deny it now.
Read John Gapper’s post here
H/T Think Progress