Thursday, August 16, 2012


Chapter 19: Hire slowly, if at all
[Go to beginning]

“Look, Karl, we can’t hold off on hiring forever.”

“Charles, November isn’t forever. Can’t you hire, but delay putting new employees on the books?” Karl Rove knew that Charles Koch was a savvy businessman. There was no question in his mind that Koch could make Koch Industries employment records look like the great depression was still going on. Something else was on Koch’s mind.

“You’re asking me to cook the books, Karl?” Koch was having fun. He liked to hear Rove, the little weasel, whine and whimper.

“No, no. Please don’t put it like that, Charles. That sounds like fraud. I’m--”

Koch interrupted. “But Karl, isn’t that exactly what it is? You want the jobs picture to look worse than it is in order to hurt Obama’s chance of reelection.”

Rove ignored Koch’s barb and finished his sentence. “...simply asking you to delay a little longer, a month or two, until the die is cast, if you will.” Rove sighed. “You and David are running a one hundred billion dollar company. How hard can it be to slow down the bookkeeping on recording new hires?”

“It’s a big risk, Karl,” Koch said.

Here it comes, thought Rove.

“We could be audited. I don’t know. I’d want some sort of assurances.”

“What kind of assurances,” Rove said.

“Well, suppose Obama wins the election, God forbid, then what?”

“Jesus, Charles, we don’t even want to consider that,” Rove said.

“I have to consider it, Karl. As distasteful as the prospect is. So what I’m asking is, what is the Party going to do for Koch industries should such a disaster befall the country?”
Finally, the old bastard gets to the point, Rove thought. “You know the Party has always supported business, Charles. That’s not going to change, even with a Democratic president. I mean, look what we did to Obama up to now. He can’t get anything done.”

“Karl...,” Koch let the name hang there, “I want specifics. I want a pledge that a Republican Congress isn’t going to let these damned environmentalists pass more onerous regulations, I want additional offshore leases opened up, including off California, I want that goddamned pipeline built. Are you hearing me?” Koch was getting angry just thinking about all the government intrusions he imagined would occur in a second Obama term. He took out a monogrammed handkerchief and wiped his brow.

“I hear you, Charles. Of course. There’s no way we’re going to--”

Koch had taken a breath and now interrupted Rove again. “And for god’s sake let’s put this global warming bullshit to rest once and for all, Karl!”

“Well...,” Rove said. His sense was that Republicans were getting leery of being seen on the wrong side of the global warming debate when much of the Republican constituency, from Texas to Mississippi was suffering the worst drought since the dust bowl.
Kansas Corn, 2012
“Well, nothing,” Koch said, pouring water from a pitcher on his desk into a glass filled with melting ice. “Do you know how much money David and I have poured into the Heartland Institute? Do you?”

“I imagine it’s a lot,” said Rove. He knew that reports showed that the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups that some had called, “The Merchants of Doubt.”

“You’re goddamned right, it’s a lot. Look Karl, I want you and that dimwit Priebus to get out here and sit down with David and I. I want this face-to-face, you understand?”

Rove opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Koch was rattling on.

“We’re going to start with a statement of principles, and then lay out what we want item by item. And once we’re agreed, I want McConnell and Boehner to sign on the dotted line. This needs to happen ASAP. I’ll have Kevin call you.”

“Kevin?” Rove said.

“Kevin Gentry, he’s one of the more articulate free-market types and we need his thinking on this.”

“Fine, fine, Charles, but getting back to the reason for my call--”

“Yeah, yeah, Karl. We can keep holding back on full-scale hiring and we’ll make sure that putting new hires on the books takes place with glacial speed. That satisfy you?”

“You bet. Thanks , Charles, I really--.” Rove stared at his cell phone. A lighted panel said, “Call Ended.”
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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