We missed this yesterday, but it’s worth watching today. Joe Scarborough put Chuck Schumer on the hot seat yesterday on Morning Joe over Harry Reid’s accusations that the Koch brothers are “un-American” for, er, engaging in the political process and free speech. Schumer keeps trying to change the subject, but Scarborough won’t let him off the Kochsteria hook — until Schumer finally goes the full Reid:
On Thursday morning he demanded to know whether Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) believed the wealthy pair warranted the term, especially given what Scarborough described as their copious philanthropy.
“When David Koch does ads that say ‘Cut government’ and you cut [the National Institutes of Health], far more about cancer research is hurt than the good he does, which he should get credit for, for giving to charity,” Schumer said. “Private charity cannot deal with the major problems we face, as good and noble a thing as it is.”
“But, senator, can’t we have a disagreement about how charity is funded without calling somebody un-American?” Scarborough countered.
“The commercials he runs are not part of the American mainstream,” Schumer said. “No two people should have such a huge influence on our politics. That’s not First Amendment…I think the commercials he is running are against the American grain and un-American, yes. I think what Harry Reid was saying was the actions are un-American. And they are, and they should change.”
And behold, we now have Democrats attacking the patriotism of their opponents for opposing their agenda even in speech. Remember when dissent was patriotic? Good times, good times. Of course, the author of that argument abandoned it when it suited her purposes too, so at least Democrats have that consistency going for them.
Note that it’s not un-American for Senate Democrats to kiss up to Tom Steyer with an all-night session on global warming even when they have no legislation to propose. Climate change routinely ranks at the bottom of voter priorities, so doesn’t that cut “cut against the American grain,” too? How about all of the money spent by outside PACs funded by deep-pocket donors in support of the first-ever peacetime command economy imposed on Americans? That cuts “against the American grain,” too, especially if one sees the most recent polling.
It’s fine to oppose the Koch brothers’ political positions, but the idea that it’s somehow un-American to speak in the public square in support of one’s preferred policies is historically ignorant and morally repugnant. That’s especially true when it comes from elected officials attempting to silence their opposition, which really does cut “against the American grain.”
Meanwhile, the newest bloggers at the Washington Post wonder when their hosts will get around to apologizing to the Kochs:
Last week, a story by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin declared that Koch Industries was “the biggest lease owner in Canada’s oil sands.” This claim was made in the headline and opening paragraph. After receiving some push-back, the pair wrote afollow-up claiming that Koch is only “one of the region’s largest,” citing figures showing that other companies had larger confirmed holdings and unnamed industry sources who believe Koch’s holdings are greater than the 1.1 million acres reported. In other words, the reporters no longer stood by the claim made in the headline and lead. Moreover, when Phil Kerpen checked the official records, he found that a Canadian company’s holdings exceed all estimates of Koch holdings and may be more than double those owned by Koch. If the numbers Kerpen compiled are correct, Koch is not the largest lease owner, even if it owns more than the 1.1 million acres confirmed in story.
From the above, it would appear that the central factual claim trumpeted in the headline and lead of the original story is false. Is this not the sort of thing that calls for a correction?
Be careful, Jonathan Adler. Dissent may no longer be patriotic at your new digs, either.