Green Room

Poor George Soros vs the Poor Koch Brothers

posted at 8:13 pm on February 1, 2012 by

The time comes yet again to take what shall doubtless be a decidedly unpopular position. It was brought to mind when I read this piece in the Wall Street Journal by Theodore Olson titled, “Obama’s Enemies List.” The tag line for the piece pretty much says it all. David and Charles Koch have been the targets of a campaign of vituperation and assault, choreographed from the very top.

In it, Olson argues quite forcefully that the Koch brothers have been torn from the peace and quiet of their private lives by a cruel political machine seeking to make hay off their names.

How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president’s re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?

What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president’s surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president’s party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly—and accurately—stated that you have no involvement?

Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president’s re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the president’s or anyone else’s office.

It’s difficult to even know where to begin with this litany of complaints. The shorter – and certainly somewhat cheaper – angle would be to note the blind eye being turned when the shoe is on the other foot. Conservatives frequently and correctly cite press reactions to misdeeds by the Obama administration by asking, “can you imagine what would happen if Bush had…?” And it’s true.

But in this case, Olson fails to note that the Koch Brothers have an equally active and publicly abused doppelganger in the form of… (you all know where this is going, so say the name with me now…) George Soros. George is also a very wealthy man who has chosen to employ his wealth in the political arena in an attempt to effect change. And his name is regularly vilified in conservative circles. We’re not just talking about random bloggers or chat room denizens here. It took no more than fifteen seconds on a quick Google search going back less than 48 hours to find his name being bandied about by Newt Gingrich in an attack on Mitt Romney. The man’s name is brandished by conservatives up and down the line like an industrial size can of mace.

Now many of the folks gathered around this particular campfire may be saying, “and rightly so! Soros should be vilified!” And you’d be right. I absolutely agree. But the reason why I feel this is so brings us back to the original question.

Having been a player in this game for a while now, up to and including running campaigns at the congressional level, I look at it as something of a blood sport. I happen to enjoy it. But I’m also mindful of the fact that there are many people out there who have no interest in our game and are simply trying to get on with their lives. If you are, for example, the owner of a dry cleaning shop who happens to get caught up in a political story, it can turn out to be a disaster. Even if you happened to be involved in some business contract with somebody who once worked with a company in Iran, or if you offered a standard health plan which was inclusive of some services offered at Planned Parenthood, I would strenuously object to your suddenly being thrust into the political arena and having your life disrupted against your will. You weren’t part of our war and I have no interest in seeing you become collateral damage in one of our battles.

This can not be said of either the Koch brothers or of George Soros. Had these men stuck to, as Olson put it, managing “businesses that provide employment” and living their lives, they should be kept out of the fight. But none of them did. They suited up and put themselves on the field of play. By choosing to dive into political spending and activism, they were no longer observing the war from afar… they were combatants. And when you load up and begin shooting you can expect to pull some return fire.

Defend them as you wish, and with good cause, just as liberals will defend Soros to the end of time, I’m sure. But claiming that it is somehow unfair for politicians, politicos and activists to stuff them into the mix is a sad attempt at feigning outrage. George Soros, David Koch and Charles Koch are all big boys. They knew the bloody battle they were entering when they set foot on the field. I’m sure they can take the heat when it comes back at them.

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Give me another dozen Koch brothers…..

Rovin on February 1, 2012 at 8:47 PM

mr jazz

mr. soros is actively trying to undermine this country. big difference and cupcakes.

newrouter on February 1, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Yeah… I read Ted’s request to leave the Koch brothers alone and thought the same thing.

lexhamfox on February 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Apparently Shaw hasnt read Soros’ history. I dont remember hearing about the Koch brothers stealing from the Jews after they were taken in by the Nazis or being your classic self-loathing jew haters like Soros. I dont recall that the Koch brothers are convicted felons. I dont recall the Koch brothers trying to repeadedly destroy the financial systems of countries. Soros is out to destroy whatever country he can to benefit his wealth and his quest for power and the destruction of capitalist systems. That is, after he makes his fortunes off them. To compare the 2 is ludicrous and disgusting.

Whippet on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Say what you want about “setting foot on the field” and “pulling some return fire” but as far as I’m concerned the most important thing is that the Koch Brothers are conservative and George Soros is liberal.

When I bash Soros for liberal advocacy, it’s not the advocacy part, but rather the liberal part, that I object to.

Mr. Prodigy on February 2, 2012 at 1:08 AM

So then I guess we can add Warren Buh-fay to the list? And since he’s benefiting from Obama’s decision on Keystone then shouldn’t he also be called in to be interrogated by a Congressional committee?

stukinIL4now on February 2, 2012 at 1:29 AM

The Soros/Koch comparison is an interesting one. Soros and Buffett both made their fortunes in finance. They, like Romney, made money by moving money.

The Kochs, on the other hand, made their fortunes in manufacturing. They made money by moving product.

I wonder if there is something about the mindset of finance that produces leftist thinking, while actually having to please consumers produces a rightward mindset at least in practice, if not philosophy.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on February 2, 2012 at 2:12 AM

Soros is out to destroy whatever country he can to benefit his wealth and his quest for power and the destruction of capitalist systems. That is, after he makes his fortunes off them.

Whippet on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

And he’s not a very handsome man, either, is he?

WestOfAshland on February 2, 2012 at 3:02 AM

I wonder if there is something about the mindset of finance that produces leftist thinking, while actually having to please consumers produces a rightward mindset at least in practice, if not philosophy.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on February 2, 2012 at 2:12 AM

Well as someone who was working for he British government when he ‘broke’ the Bank of England I can tell you that he saw an irrational fiscal policy and exploited it. His position wasn’t ideological, it was economic and he pretty much telegraphed what he was doing along the way. He is a very astute trader who excels at what he does. Like the Koch brothers, he is a generous philanthropist and uses his fortune for good as well as supporting a certain brand of politics. The Koch brothers and Soros are not evil as some would have us believe.

You suggest that the Koch brothers still involved in the family business made their money through industry but the fact is the father who really made the money through innovation, was a founding member of the John Birch Society, and was the guy who founded the family fortune and the sons have managed to take the billions and an already successful firm and make more. Soros started out destitute.

I admire Soros and the Kochs for their generous giving to many good institutions and causes. They are actually very similar in the way that they have supported good causes in the US and around the world.

lexhamfox on February 2, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Defend them as you wish, and with good cause, just as liberals will defend Soros to the end of time, I’m sure.

That shouldn’t be necessary, since he’s just another mortal and, like the rest of us, not likely to live that long.

Olo_Burrows on February 2, 2012 at 4:14 AM

Putting your money where your mouth is and backing causes in which you believe is laudable, but George Soros = EVIL. His money and everything it touches is tainted.

Elric on February 2, 2012 at 6:51 AM

I agree with the general premise of the article. One thing I would add though, in regards to some comments left on the thread, is that the Right needs to drop the ridiculous “Soros helped the Nazis” meme, because it’s been discredited.

The deal with Soros was apparently that the Nazis closed down his uncle’s factory and told him to take whatever belongings he could get and then they would be frog-marched off. So his uncle told him to grab a wheel barrow and gather what they could, and then they left.

This has evolved into “Soros carted off the belongings of Jews for the Nazis”, which the facts simply don’t support. Apparently Soros got confused during an interview when he was asked about this, but generally everyone agrees that he never really helped the Nazis. The only belongings he carted off were his own uncle’s.

There’s so much to dislike about this guy, how he undermined Britain’s economy, and is trying to do with ours as well, that making things up doesn’t really help, and it isn’t really necessary.

People need to stop taking Glenn Beck at his word for some things, because a lot of it simply isn’t factual.

Cordell on February 2, 2012 at 11:43 PM