Poor George Soros vs the Poor Koch Brothers
posted at 8:13 pm on February 1, 2012 by Jazz Shaw
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.