Mr. O’Rourke was a featured speaker at the recent Palm Beach/Breakers Cato Benefactor’s summit that Debbie and I attended. The three of us are strong Cato supporters and backers of Cato co-founder and long-time president Ed Crane. Debbie and I, like P. J., clearly have a dog in the Koch bros./Cato lawsuit fight. With that disclaimer, I thought that O’Rourke’s current Family Feud posting at Weeklystandard.com was especially well done, even by Mr. O’Rourke’s normal high standards. After reading P. J.’s thoughtful essay, you’ll come away wondering why in the world the multi-billionaire Koch brothers would want to interfere with the Cato Institute’s policy-not-politics stance. The Cato Institute, in contrast to the Koch’s wishes, is simply not a political beast. We all understand, I hope, the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules! The Kochs have the gold and are acting like the schoolyard bully here, with little good to come of it. Why in the world bother? The Kochs obviously have the money to start all the Cato-type institutes they would ever want.
It is important for you to know that at not a single Cato meeting I have attended have the names David and Charles Koch come up. Unless you were to dig into a Cato annual report, it would probably come as a surprise to many Cato conference attendees that the Koch brothers have anything to do with Cato. I have always thought of David and Charles as fairly low-key billionaires not looking to rock boats or draw the attention of the media. Now a hornet’s nest has been kicked.
P. J. O’Rourke’s essay will help clear the air for you. Enjoy, and if you ever have the opportunity to hear P. J. speak, make sure you catch him.