When the Koch brothers brought their brand of smear politics to the small town of Coralville, Iowa during last year’s election cycle they got a big surprise. It turns out that they don’t represent real Americans after all, even the candidate that they were backing was disgusted by their tactics. It was an election story just made for the Daily Show so Jason Jones was dispatched to get the details.
Their Americans for Prosperity PAC came to town with glossy mailers which contained misleading or outright false claims against the incumbent mayor, John Lundell, saying for instance that he pays a reduced property tax simply because he is the mayor. The people knew this to be false and were not swayed.
As mayor Lundell Jones commented, “the community was very angry.”
Chris Turner, one of the anti-spending candidates supported by the AFP was no happier with them than the rest of the city was.
“The incumbents love Coralville,” Turner said. “They’re not crooks, I happen to disagree with them on what they want to spend tax money on, but they’re nice people.”
Jones was confused and asked, “you didn’t call them names?”
“No, uh uh,” Turner replied, “cause I know them, they’re nice guys.”
What did Turner think of the “help” he got from AFP?
He told Jones, “When AFP came to town, it was kind of like getting endorsed by Charles Manson. Their tactics were just reprehensible. They put me in a very awkward position.”
“The position of being a winner?” Jones asked.
“I got tied for last,” Turner replied.
As it turns out with all of the sleazy attack ads the Kochs spent a huge amount of money on, it didn’t seem to resonate with these small town voters, not one of the candidates they supported was elected.
Jones followed up by interviewing a PAC proponent, Matthew Vadum, who called the voters of Coralville “close minded,” going on to say, “some man’s sleaze is another man’s class.”
Vadum goes on to suggest that there is a need for salesmanship involved in winning people over to a point of view. Jones of course had to go back to a Coralville town council meeting to test that theory out with a Music Man style song and dance sales pitch.
Watch that in the video below.