Hmmm...what's an issue that you think mainstream liberals get totally wrong? I'm not looking for something where you feel that you are normally liberal but on this one you're more conservative; I'm looking for issues for which you think the consensus, or at least normal, liberal position is just backwards -- and that either the mainstream conservative position, or perhaps a position that no one in the mainstream holds, is really more consistent with mainstream liberal values.
For example, I believe that most liberal education reformers believe that they're position is in fact the real liberal position.
So: what do most liberals have wrong?
I'd go with general aversion to nuclear power as a replacement for oil. (also, your they're should be their /gratuitous grammar Nazi/)ReplyDelete
Great program, worked well for a bit, but there ins't much a reason to help a black middle class now, and the idea of helping a hispanic middle class is a bit silly.
Opposition to GM food is both small-c conservative and has a highly regressive outcome.ReplyDelete
Well, entitlements. To balance the budget, they need to be on the table; including granny's social security and medicare.ReplyDelete
But I think most liberals know that; and the lack of straight-out discussing it reflects the bigger issue: Liberal failure to advocate for effective government instead of sized government.
Liberals fall to the charge of 'big government' constantly, and rarely refute it with the argument of effective government.
Full-throated opposition to voter identification at the polls, although I sympathize with the liberal points about the disenfranchising effects of navigating governmental bureaucracy. That seems to be a problem with a straightforward solution, however, and government-issued id is a common-sense authenticator in such wide use elsewhere that I can't support the liberal position on the issue.ReplyDelete
Abortion. Not for any sort of religious reasons, but the view that fetuses, as best as our logic indicates, meet the threshold for human life, and as such, women should be required to carry pregnancies from consensual sex to term. The liberal position on abortion should emphasize decreasing the number of accidental pregnancies, supporting poor women who accidentally get pregnant, combating the social stigma against pregnant unwed women, but also protecting innocent human life in keeping with the liberal tradition of caring for those who cannot care for themselves.ReplyDelete
The moment the baby was outside of the mother, if the mother didn't want it, liberals would rebel against any attempt to let the baby die because it couldn't "fend for itself." The same logic should be applied to babies 6 hours (or months) before they're born as to babies 6 hours (or months) after they're born.
IMO - Aff Action has an entire infrasructure, and it aint getting smaller.ReplyDelete
The world of higher education seems to have an increasing focus on creating opps for the econ disadvantaged - not AAs or any other particular ethnic group.
I think that sort of approach is what must replace Aff Action.
I dont think mainstream liberals "get" that, and dont think they "get" how very much the vast swath of white America is alienated by contiution of the stupidities of Aff Action.
JFTR -i don't read posts by anonymousReplyDelete
For Steve . . .ReplyDelete
Abortion. Not for any sort of religious reasons, but the view that fetuses, as best as our logic indicates, meet the threshold for human life, and as such, women should be required to carry pregnancies from consensual sex to term. The liberal position on abortion should emphasize decreasing the number of accidental pregnancies, supporting poor women who accidentally get pregnant, combating the social stigma against pregnant unwed women, but also protecting innocent human life in keeping with the liberal tradition of caring for those who cannot care for themselves.
The moment the baby was outside of the mother, if the mother didn't want it, liberals would rebel against any attempt to let the baby die because it couldn't "fend for itself." The same logic should be applied to babies 6 hours (or months) before they're born as to babies 6 hours (or months) after they're born.
A lot of liberals I know don't really take illegal immigration seriously as a policy problem and look at all measures to address it as racist. Granted, most of the measures that are proposed are, in fact, racist. But I've suggested that rather than targeting the workers for enforcement, the gov't instead should target employers and make it a much more serious crime to employ undocumented immigrants, but even that was seen as a bridge too far, because it would make it too hard for undocumented immigrants to find work.ReplyDelete
I guess I'd go with unions.ReplyDelete
Not unions in general, but a general tendency within unions seems, to me, ani-liberal. That tendency is the "protect our own" tendency. So, "last hired, first fired" is a union thing that advantages those with more experience (and presumably, better pay and benefits) over those with less: that seems anti-liberal. But, in general, a lot of the things about unions make the UNION strong, but really don't benefit the union members (or workers in general). I think liberals have ignored it because unions make up a huge part of the base and are generally liberal.
What do liberals get totally wrong? That rallies, protests, street demonstrations and cries for a more progressive candidate to run against Obama will make any difference.ReplyDelete
The only thing that makes any difference is the powers that be fearing that they will lose a vital voting bloc. Liberals are not a vital voting bloc. The Democrats know they're not going anywhere. It's the minority, single women, youth and inexperienced voters that the Democrats need to win elections. The liberals who don't show up to vote are a tiny percentage of that.
What liberals don't get is that while the right has gained tremendous power by laying the groundwork for an economic war over the past 30+ years via libertarian think tanks that pay top dollar to have pundits get their opinions filtered through the news media and acquiring and consolidating the news media, the left has at the same time allowed the bridge between liberal values and the working classes disintegrate.
So, what liberals get totally wrong is that their values and their priorities alone and as expressed through petitions, rallies, protests, etc. are enough to make a difference electorally. Instead, what would make a difference is doing what the right has done, but doing it in an opposite fashion. Get ordinary working people to focus less on the differences between one another and focus more on the economic war being foisted upon them by the right.
Civil union. I think that civil union should be the choice of most Americans no matter where on the personal preference curve you are. The civil union should have all the present legal benefits and responsibilities as marriage does today. That should end the debate, whether your a man and a woman or a transgender couple you have the same rights as married folks have today. Marriage, as far as I know is a religious institution as defined by your religion. At the time of your marriage both parties should sign a binding agreement as to what that means. That would include what it takes to end the marriage. Lets say your religion document says that you can't just wake up one day and decide your not having fun and have that be the grounds for divorce. Your faiths marriage agreement says that you need to have 1 year of consoling before you get the divorce and after that time and effort you can. During this period you could have separation if your condition is deemed by a court to be unsafe. This would give the other party that doesn't want the divorce a seat at the table and finally have their rights acknowledged. Keep in mind civil unions could be designed similarly but I'm not suggesting that any change be made. My thoughts are that both parties should at the very least be given rights in the matter as defined by their faith or their predetermined marriage agreement. To make it bluntly clear, I think a woman or man should not be forced into the all to often position of waking up one morning and being forced out in the street because say the husband moved his girl friend into the house and took your things to your mothers and called the police when you can home from work and objected to being forced out. The pursuing restraining order would have you out in the streets and you without any rights in the matter. This is today's reality and I think that a nation that cared about human rights would see this as unfair and come up with a thoughtful way of giving the "outed" party some rights in this all to common situation since 1/2 of all marriages end up with this or some other equally corrupt reality. "Civil Unions for everyone and human dignity and rights for those that choose the more demanding marriage path!" Whether it's call a marriage or a civil union should recognize that marriage is not and never has been a civil institution and courts should not get to decide the outcome, personal agreements should be the arbitrator.ReplyDelete
Boy, that brung 'em out of the woodwork.ReplyDelete
The entire technocratic left has bought into the TINA (There Is No Alternative) camp, which is to say, has been co-opted by the oil companies. We've taken 6% of our cropland out of production in the last 30 years because of low commodity prices; but they blame biofuels for food prices.
On education, everyone will be always wrong until funding and incentives (ie, how local "control" works) are aligned and I don't know how to do that.
1. Abortion, for reasons quite eloquently explained by Bill/Anonymous (although for me it is rooted in religious belief, but then so are most of the other views that I hold that can be called "liberal").ReplyDelete
2. Affirmative action, because it (or at least the debate over it) seems more and more to be a convenient excuse to dodge the issue that really matters. If we're concerned that minorities are underrepresented in higher education (and we should be), the solution is to spend the money and the effort to fix our inner city schools. To "solve" the problem by simply creating a different set of standards for minority groups is a cop-out, one that quite blatantly violates MLK's "content of their character" sentiment. Plus, it seems quite patronizing towards minorities, even if only implicitly.
3. On a related note: I go back and forth on this issue, but it does seem to me that liberals should follow the lead of Newark Mayor Cory Booker and support some form of school vouchers at least as a temporary measure. I am 110% in favor of public education and, as I said above, want to see us invest the money and effort needed to make it work for everyone. Unfortunately, to do so will also take time. As one who was fortunate enough to graduate from a very high-performing public high school in a wealthy district, I think of parents desperate to get their children out of crumbling, gang-infested inner-city schools and give them the opportunities that I took for granted, and I simply can't imagine saying to them, "Sorry, we can't help you now, but things will be really great in 5 years!" Now, where I get off the train is when I hear vouchers being advocated as a permanent or all-encompassing "alternative" to public education, or when I hear the argument that "competition" is all that's needed to solve all of the public education system's problems (both arguments are quite common in my home state of Arizona, where unfortunately their proponents have a legislative supermajority). Liberals should support vouchers only as a limited, means-tested program to get deserving low-income students out of schools that will deny them the opportunities that they deserve. I'm not an expert on the issue, so I couldn't tell you exactly what such a program would look like or how it would be kept on a limited scale, but anyone who seriously cares about helping low-income families needs to be open-minded about it. Of course, the long-term goal needs to be to have public schools that can hold their own against any private school.
Because those minorities just have it too good!
The liberal consensus on race -- that it's a meaningful, important, relevant way of distinguishing different social groups -- is not only wrong, but toxic. Race is a modern invention used for nothing but evil until very recently. Granted, once groups have been identified a certain way, even for the wrong purposes, it's hard to just ignore those identifications as you go about trying to put things right. But really, at some point the very idea of race has got to go. This goes beyond affirmative action, which others have already mentioned -- it just seriously weakens liberal politics to premise so much of it on a stupid, unscientific, anti-human idea whose original purpose was to justify things like human slavery.ReplyDelete
Also, it's idiotic that nearly every college and university in the country pursues the same liberal goal of "diversity" in the same way -- with the predictable result that there's actually less diversity overall, because all institutions end up looking more or less the same. And the fact that the diversity being sought is racially defined just makes it all worse for the reasons just stated.
Liberal elitism. For example the tea party members can't possibly have a legitimate complaint if their signs are misspelled. Workers in extractive industries obviously don't deserve a voice. I am comfortably around middle class blacks, anyone how opposes affirmative actions for working class must be racist. Why can't liberals be more open minded?ReplyDelete
Where in any of the comments about affirmative action did you read anyone as saying that we think "minorities have it too good"? But way to quite effectively illustrate Anonymous 5:18's point.
I'm against hate crime legislation. After the grisly murders of James Byrd and Matthew Shepard, liberals were calling for stronger hate crime laws, but to me both cases were excellent examples of why we don't need such laws. Two of Byrd's three killers got the death penalty, and Shepard's killers got life without parole--not exactly a testament to the weakness of our justice system. Like many liberals I oppose the death penalty, but no matter what punishments are involved, as far as I'm concerned anybody who does to another human being what was done to Byrd and Shepard should never see the light of day again--the idea that we would give the killers a lighter sentence simply because we determine their act wasn't motivated by racism, homophobia, or a similar prejudice, is obscene to me, and it borders on an abuse of the First Amendment, because we're essentially going after the killers' beliefs.ReplyDelete
Anything connected to junk "science."ReplyDelete
Is there any mainstream liberal position connected with junk science? I'm not aware of it.ReplyDelete
I have always been disappointed in the failure of liberals to make the argument, or understand the fact, that progressive taxation is a transfer of wealth between generations, not individuals. In a broadly middle class society (as we once were) the biggest determinant of income is age. Gaining an education and training, establishing a household, raising a family,building a business, gaining valuable economic experience and assets, etc. etc., takes time and personal investment. Progressive taxation allows people in their personal investment and wealth creation years to defer their tax burden to their highest earning, most disposable income years -- when those investments are starting to pay off and their years of personal responsibility for others (children) are behind them. At the same time, it provides public funds for investment in the physical, financial, educational, cultural and social resources needed to help the next generation build wealth.ReplyDelete
In our youth, Baby Boomers like myself were heirs to the greatest public wealth in history. Public infrastructure investments such as the interstate highway system, investments in important energy projects, in government supported scientific research (that helped create whole new industries), and, of course, massive investments in education that made college affordable and accessible to almost anyone. (My working class Dad paid for my brothers education outright, he was a little less enthused about paying to put a girl through school. But, it didn't mattter. I worked my way through the practically free California system of higher education earning $4.50 to $5.50 (the equivalent of more than $30 an hour in today's dollars) doing 1/2 time clerical work. I was well into my late 30s before I ever encountered anyone who had to finance their education through student loans. I was shocked.) During the early years, when I was establishing my career, I never paid a cent in income taxes, and I had a much, much lighter burden in terms of payroll taxes than the young people who work for me in my business do today.
Young people today shouldn't let my generation of wealthy geezers off the hook. It is time (before it gets too late and we all toddle off to retirement), to make us pay up and pay back.
We need a truly progressive system that lightens the load on young earners and, before it is too late, taps some of our enormous wealth. Wealth that we owe in large part to the public investments our parents and grandparents made in our futures through their committment to a genuinely progressive tax system.
I know that
Define "mainstream liberals"?ReplyDelete
I think what most everyone gets wrong is the idea that we can change a goddamn thing.
I'll add tax reform. There's a general failure to recognize that people do, in fact, respond to incentives, including tax incentives. E.g., we tax lots of productive activity more than we tax destructive activity; the simplicity of a VAT outweighs its regressivity, as long as the revenues are well used -- though taxing consumption is probably more popular now than it used to be, in the form of a carbon tax.ReplyDelete
Do things where people probably agree with me, but don't weight it as highly as I do, count? If so, put me down for the need for massive criminal justice reform.
Separately, I'm surprised there haven't been any foreign policy comments. (For instance, that our Israel policy is dictated entirely by racist proto-fascist Likudniks with dual loyalties intent on persecuting anyone brave enough to announce that Palestinians are human beings? No? -- So no college students in the crowd?)
Gun control. I consider myself a member in good standing of the left. I also consider myself an absolutist when it comes to the Bill of Rights. As a consequence, I'm opposed to gun control.ReplyDelete
If liberals really want to attack the government for violating amendments like the First, Fourth and Eighth, it seems inconsistent to turn around and then support legislative curtailment of the Second.
For the record, I don't own and have never even fired a gun and have no interest in doing so. So I'm not staking out this position due to a personal affection for firearms.
Both the left and the right often talk like social security is welfare. It's not. It's insurance, bought and paid for, and should remain that way. Tweak it to make it long-term solvent, but look elsewhere to redistribute wealth to the poor, my fellow liberals.ReplyDelete
Instead of abortion, I would suggest the wrong policy is to support Roe v. Wade. Liberals should be for legislative, republican (small R) victories. If anything, with the difficulty FDR had with the New Deal court grappling with the Lochner case, liberals ALS should be very weary of fleeting court adjudicated decisions.ReplyDelete
I'm semi-curious as to how many of the comments here are actually from people who actually identify as liberal. For example, our anonymous friend who hates liberal elitists for looking down their nose at tea partiers; I have trouble believing this is a liberal.ReplyDelete
To disagree from an early comment-er, I think mainstream liberals are dangerously wrong to entertain any entitlement reform that would cut those programs. Likewise, I think that any spending cuts that will negatively affect the middle class should be opposed vehemently.ReplyDelete
I think that there is a terror and discouragement festering among the middle class, and I think that it is the most important political force right now. I think that conservatives are unable to address that terror... though they were able to channel it during the health care protests of '09 (which I think were separate and unrelated to the Tea Party movement).
That anger and that terror which we saw during those protests were the reaction to rumors that Health Care Reform would take away Medicare or medical care. The protests in Wisconsin are related, I think. It wasn't about unions for most people... it was because the GOP was taking away rights and wages from average people. Watching teachers and other public servants, who are neighbors and peers to middle class folks, lose their economic standing and security terrifies average Americans.
In a more general sense, I think that mainstream liberals are wrong to not make the terror circulating among middle class people the focus of all their policies. Because if they don't address it, or if the GOP is able to take power in 2012, that terror is going to explode.
Kylopod: It's my experience that many people who identify themselves as liberal are also proponents of "natural" or "alternative" health, and mistrustful in general about "science." A lot of these folks are friends of mine, good people, with their hearts in the right place. But they don't see a connection between their notion that a Reiki master can wave their hand in the air to help a flower grow, and the "anti-reality" contingent of the Bush-era right wing and beyond. That is, they understand very well when the right-wing prattles on with some nonsense unrelated to the real world, but they don't recognize it in themselves when they spout new-age silliness.ReplyDelete
Matt Jarvis: "I'm semi-curious as to how many of the comments here are actually from people who actually identify as liberal."ReplyDelete
I'm the "liberals are wrong on abortion" guy. I identify as liberal, hold the same view as mainstream liberals on most major policy issues (abortion is by far my biggest deviation), & exclusively vote for the Democratic Party.
I'm not a liberal, but I think my position on smoking bans is more liberal than the liberal mainstream: let people do what they want with their own bodies. There's a tension there between the New Deal, protect-the-powerless strain of liberalism and the cosmopolitan, let-grown-ups-be-grown-ups strain. I don't think that bartenders and bargoers are powerless so it made me sad to see that kind of liberalism crush cosmopolitanism.ReplyDelete
One topic that just occurred to me that is a perfect example of what we've been discussing this thread is homeschooling.ReplyDelete
I was homeschooled for a few years, earning a high school diploma in the mid-'90s from a Michigan school I never set foot in. Since then, I've noticed that it provokes a great deal of hostility from people, including many liberals. And what I've found the most astonishing is that the vast majority of these critics (liberal or otherwise) have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. I am dead serious and in no way exaggerating. Over the years, I've read many, many articles bashing homeschooling, and these include some of the most factually challenged, badly informed pieces I have ever seen from liberals. They are written by people who know nothing about the history of homeschooling, the methods employed by homeschoolers, what homeschooled kids do during the day, or any of the research that has been conducted on the movement over the last few decades.
The opposition is aided by several popular myths about homeschooling, and one of the most pervasive is the idea that it is a movement of fundamentalist Christians who want to keep their children away from such things as evolution and condoms. Such homeschoolers do exist, but they have constituted a distinct minority of the movement for at least the past 20 years. Unfortunately, many of them have a habit of pretending that the secular wing of the movement doesn't even exist, when in fact it outnumbers them. This has helped greatly to reinforce the myth. In fact, homeschoolers come in all religious and political stripes. I'm a liberal and a Jew, and I belonged to a Jewish homeschooling organization for years.
The perception of homeschoolers as conservative fundamentalists has contributed to liberal hostility toward the movement. So has the influence of teacher unions such as the National Education Association (NEA) that officially oppose homeschooling. But ultimately, there really is no excuse for this kind of willful ignorance, from liberals or anyone else.
@Mon-sewer Paul RegretReplyDelete
I've been taking this question mostly the way Jonathan put it in this post: "I'm looking for issues for which you think the consensus, or at least normal, liberal position is just backwards." I take this to mean that we are not merely talking about things that are common among liberals, but things which enjoy at least some support from mainstream liberal sources, whether politicians or the liberal media. I do agree that alternative medicine is popular on some factions of the left, but I haven't seen much support from it in any of the major organs of liberal opinion, whether the op-ed section of the New York Times or MSNBC or the netroots. I'm aware the HuffPost ran some anti-vax pieces, but my impression is that this has been distinctly uncommon, and it certainly earned a great deal of scorn from most other prominent liberal commentators.
I'd go with Ethanol and Corn Subsidies in general.ReplyDelete
Liberals are the biggest champions of these causes, but environmentalists and even Al Gore have called Ethanol subsidies a mistake.
Dollar for dollar subsidizing corn does more damage to the environment and contributes more to obesity in this country than anything else we spend, the science backs this up. Liberals are in theory the party of environmentalists, so it's inconsistent that they would keep championing Ethanol even after it's been largely refuted as a cleaner or cheaper fuel.
Eh, this thread doesn't read much different from a bunch of conservatives giving their position -- except for Mary S. Note that it's 55-64 year olds that have the most money -- they're being squeezed by the young and the old both, by progressive taxation and medicare.ReplyDelete
Single member districts for city council elections.ReplyDelete
The standard liberal take seems to be that establishing single member districts is good because it allows for minority districts to have minority representatives. As far as I can see the analysis stops there. There are also vague mutterings about constituent service that never amount to more than speculation spackled on to the primary argument.
I think this is upside down both philosophically and tactically. Philosophically I am in favor of districts that are as large as possible. The electoral college is a problem because rather than one large district comprising the entire nation, it is broken down into many small districts. I think that as districts shrink democratic results get warped as a matter of random population distributions. We end up sacrificing democratic ideals just in order to make sure that we can mandate the racial composition of the council.
Tactically, single member districts are bad as well. In my city, Austin, Texas, we have city wide election of our city council members. There have been repeated liberal efforts to switch to single member districts. During this time there has also been a total domination of city council by liberal city council members.
If we were to switch over to single member districts, we inevitably would also have a more conservative and harder to govern council. Many liberals are aware of this, and want single member districts anyway. Republicans are much better at tactics. I don't see them proposing plans for philosophical reasons that also will dilute their voting power.
I think in general liberals need to move beyond enshrining race as a marker for whom to help and focus more on class. Race was once a marker for class, and that was unfair. That does persist to some extent and we need to proceed cautiously for that reason. However, if our goal is to move to a race neutral society, hardwiring race into our political districts is not going to help.
@ Chris. Ethanol is not a Liberal/Conservative split. It is a Rural/Urban split. Ethanol subsidies are a function of the Farm Bill and of the fact that the early presidential primary states are in places that produce Ethanol. The farm bill is a product of the fact that rural America is wildly over-represented in Congress.ReplyDelete
Ethanol subsidies will disappear like magic the second we fix the structural problems with representation in the U.S. Since that will never happen, we won't have to worry about magical disappearing Ethanol either.
Matt Jarvis - I'm Anonymous 5:18. I live in Maine and I attended the rally in support of the labor mural Gov LePage wants to remove from the Dept of Labor building recentlyReplyDelete
I support women's and workers rights, gay marriage, I believe in the decriminalization of many drugs, progression taxation, racism and bigotry makes me angry - I could continue down the check list. I rub elbows with and am peers with people here in Maine that are referred to on blogs as "teatards" I know why they are angry. Many liberals write them off as racist. (I have worked as a laborer on all black crews a number of times and treated and was treated as a peer.)
Like almost everyone else in rural Maine I own a few guns and I have a large woodlot which I commercial harvest in a sustainable manner.
Some liberals can't get past my working class accent, some Volvo drivers can't get past my rusty 98 Dodge minivan, some can't get past the guns, lots get hung up on the woodlot operation even though it is orders of magnitude more diverse then any organic garden. I could go on, but yes, I am a liberal (progressive)
@anonymous 5:18 (and 6:36), @Matt Jarvis: as someone who went to school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, then in various college towns in the NE and in England: totally agree that the cultural condescension of a lot of people who are pretty damned ignorant themselves is insufferable. So sick of "any right-thinking person must believe as I do" language -- if you believe it, fine (we all do about some things; it's hard to be deeply committed without it) -- but don't speak as though everyone who disagreed with you were a terrifying authoritarian, a wild-eyed Ayn Rand fanatic, or an utter rube.ReplyDelete
If we're including cultural things, as we seem to be, I'll put in that there's some messed-up thinking about money coming from people who are entirely ignorant that banks provide any sort of service whatsoever. Do I think more financial executives (like, any) should be considered criminally liable for fraud? Yes. Does that mean that someone who manages retirement funds, or provides loans for entrepreneurship, or smooths international transactions, or allows the non-super-rich to purchase houses and cars -- that that person is beneath your contempt? No. -- Also money in politics more generally. Liberals, stop acting as though it were lunacy to presume that something is terrible on the basis of the phrase "Soros-funded" but simple common sense to make the same judgment on the basis of the phrase "Koch-funded."
Also, stop treating all crazy Republican women as though they were ten times crazier than crazy Republican men with the possible exceptions of Ron and Rand Paul. And stop harping on Republican female politicians' looks and/or beauty pageant history. It's incredibly distasteful.
Single payer health care. My fellow liberals keep advocating a system like they have in the UK or Canada. But I know that the majority just doesn't want that.ReplyDelete
Failing to fight loud and clear for their principles - to defend the middle class.ReplyDelete
@Kylopod: points taken. I admit I'm relying a bit too much on HuffPost, which I'm not sure is liberal in the first place but which is often treated as such, and which is a repository for junk science. I'm also thinking of Pacifica, and again, personal experience of the "some of my best friends" variety.ReplyDelete
Also money in politics more generally. Liberals, stop acting as though it were lunacy to presume that something is terrible on the basis of the phrase "Soros-funded" but simple common sense to make the same judgment on the basis of the phrase "Koch-funded."ReplyDelete
This misstates the problem. It's not a matter of whether believing one is common sense while believing the other is lunacy. It's a matter of which combination of beliefs make sense.
It's reasonable to believe that both are shadowy sources of corruption. Or it's reasonable to believe that both are perfectly acceptable institutions of political action.
It's also reasonable to take a "don't hate the player, hate the game" approach--the political/economic system that allows George Soros and the Koch brothers to have such immense power is bad, but institutions with the system are to be judged by whether they're acting to roll it back or reinforce it. The Koch family is more unambiguously in favor of that system--of permitting more money to direct politics.
The combination that doesn't make sense is seeing Soros-funded orgs as a shadowy cabal while Koch-funded orgs are as American as apple pie. The Koch position on money in politics seems to be that there's nothing wrong with it. Therefore, under Koch logic, the only problem with Soros is that he sends his money to the wrong side. "Soros-funded" should be no more damnable than "liberal".
To put it more simply, if you think there's something shadowy or creepy about Soros-funded orgs--creepy in a way independent of ideology--then the response to that should be tighter government regulation of political dollars.
@Consumatopia -- Thanks for your thoughtful comment. You're probably right as to what a lot of liberals believe at the level of substance -- still e.g. Mother Jones or TPM will have a sidebar link to "Koch-Funded x Does y" instead of "Radical Right-Wing x Does y" or whatever ...ReplyDelete
I think I see the point, but honestly that seems kind of tame as far as MJ/TPM point-scoring and rabble-rousing goes.ReplyDelete
The shadyness/spookiness of both Soros and Koch serves as an argument for the lefty view of political money. So it makes sense for the liberals to point out both their disagreement with what Koch does and their discomfort with the way the system allows Koch to do what they do.
But there's less incentive for the liberal mouthpieces to point out that while they agree with what Soros does they don't like how the system allows Soros to do it. Thus, no "Soros-Funded x Does Good Thing y". So I suppose those orgs are guilty of making easy arguments while avoiding inconvenient ones.